Charter Communications has made an undisclosed investment in advanced data and analytics firm 605 as part of a broader partnership that will help the MSO offer more impression-based, targeted advertising opportunities in all its markets.
New York-based 605 launched late last year following the acquisition of Analytics Media Group (AMG) by Dolan Family Ventures, the newly formed investment fund run by former Cablevision Systems execs Kristin and James Dolan that provides census-based TV measurement.
Under the partnership, Charter will provide 605 with aggregated and anonymized set-top data from all of its U.S. cable systems. In turn, 605 will use its own proprietary data infrastructure and analytics systems to enhance advertising and campaign measurement solutions for Spectrum Reach, the ad sales division of Charter.
605 will be used to help power Spectrum Reach’s AudienceApp, a tool for linear media planning and optimization. Charter, which introduced AudienceApp in New York during a NewFront presentation in May, said Spectrum Reach plans to launch the product in Austin, Texas, on August 15, and complete the roll out across the MSO’s footprint by mid-2018.
“Everybody is using data now, but not a lot of people can make sense of it,” David Kline, EVP at Charter and president of Spectrum Reach, said. “We felt that 605 and their management team would be terrific partners because they understand data. We think it could be a great venture between the two of us."
He said 605 has been helping Charter build AudienceApp, a media planning tool that optimizes linear television buys. By way of example, Kline explained that the app could help a car dealership target specific territories and audiences and get more bang from their buck by employing an optimized schedule of available TV ad inventory.
The data used is aggregate and does not use any personally identifiable information (PII), but it can highly optimize the ad schedule to reach the homes desired, he said.
“We’re really going to use it as the backbone of all our local sales opportunities across 41 states, 100 DMAs and about 1,500 commissioned sales people,” said Kline, an industry vet who joined Charter in 2015 and is also late of Visible World (now part of Comcast), Ensequence, and was previously president and COO of Cablevision Media Sales (Cablevision Systems is now part of Altice USA).”This is a whole new way for us to sell.”
Kristin Dolan, CEO and founder of 605, said the Charter agreement represents a unique partnership opportunity for her company. At the same time, 605, she added, licenses data from other third parties and is moving ahead on goal to do what it’s doing for Charter on a national basis for programmers and brands in a PII-compliant way.
She said it also speaks to a broader trend in which data, targeting and impression-based campaigns become a critical part of the TV advertising world.
"I think it really is the culmination of a desire for people to continue to utilize television, but wanting this specialized targeting that they experience with digital," she said. "We're obviously strong believers in TV. We're big believers in an optimized media mix, but TV has to be a part of most advertisers' initiatives...but not just targeted advertising to drive impulse-buying and specific buying, but also for brand development and for brand loyalty."
605 also announced that Kline and James Blackley, EVP, engineering and information technology at Charter, are part of an initial board that also includes Kristin Dolan, who is also managing partner of Dolan Family Ventures, and James Dolan, now executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company.
Investment banking firm PJT Partners is providing consulting services to Dolan Family Ventures and provided advisory support for the Charter partnership.