New York — Following the consolidation of its broadcast, cable and kids units, The Walt Disney Co. is rolling out a suite of advanced advertising products under the name Luminate.
The moniker symbolizes how ABC, ESPN and the company’s other TV networks plan to aim a spotlight on advertisers’ brands, using data and technology to make them shine.
Disney is using some of its own first-party data and some internally generated technology. It is also working with a number of outside vendors for programmatic and attribution, including Videology, Data Plus Math, Accenture and Samba TV to power Luminate.
Most of the big television network programmers have been pushing their data-driven capabilities for several years, making data one of the industry’s key buzzwords. At this point, advanced advertising accounts for a fraction of national TV, but network execs are counting on it to help them compete with digital media.
ABC introduced programmatic and audience-buying services, but they were confined to broadcast primetime, which didn’t provide enough scale to optimize campaigns. After ABC was combined with Freeform and Disney Media under Rita Ferro, Ferro named Laura Nelson, senior vice president, audience solutions, to lead the new unit’s advanced ad solutions. Vikram Somaya, senior vice president, Global Data Officer at ESPN, is her counterpart at the sports network.
Luminate is looking to create products in many areas, including linear optimization, digital private marketplaces and programmatic guarantees, as well as attribution studies, Nelson said. “We’ve been spending a lot of the past year not only understanding what the marketplace is looking for, but also trying to have more conversations internally about our technology,” she said. “It’s hard to offer a lot of advanced advertising opportunities without having a technology roadmap.”
Disney/ABC worked closely with ESPN from a technology perspective “to make sure that we can look at all our audiences and sell them in many different ways,” she said. Nelson said she doesn’t expect advanced advertising to account for a significant amount of ABC’s ad volume during this year’s upfront. Not every client is ready to do advanced advertising, and ABC wants to be collaborative with advertisers who want to experiment and learn.
She said ABC’s sales teams were eager to be able to offer Luminate. “They’re excited that we’re moving forward,” Nelson said. “They’re really psyched to get going to test and start to transact in new ways.”
Nelson stressed that Luminate is not a one-size fits all proposition.
“We have to see what type of content they want. Do you want short form, do you want long form, do you want news, do you want entertainment,” she said.
Nelson said ABC had been hesitant about using first-party data from clients in the past but was open to it now.
Luminate will also be tailoring its attribution studies because different categories and different clients measure the effectiveness of their advertising differently