The Next Step In Asset Identification is Here

The quest for an open, industry standard method for content identification has moved one step closer with the recent announcement that the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) and the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE)® are joining efforts. 

CIMM and SMPTE formed a study group in August 2013 which was charged with formulating an understanding of technologies and future standards requirements that could be applied to content identification. The study group found that there are technologies that can survive compression and distribution through the media and entertainment (M&E) supply chain that bind media identifiers to content. The group also found that audio watermarking, rather than other techniques, is the most promising approach. This is an important step. 

Following this, a drafting group was formed that is charged with undertaking the actual standardization of technologies for the open binding of IDs to essence, using the findings from the study group as a guideline.
What does this mean for the industry and for cross platform measurement? I sat down with CIMM’s Jane Clarke and asked her the following questions:

CW: How important is this announcement?

JC: There is a plumbing level needed within the TV and video distribution ecosystem to enable accurate cross-platform measurement and more efficient and transparent media workflows. Moving to writing an open standard for binding identifiers to the essence of media content is a huge step forward for the industry and can enable industry participants to finally begin to communicate in the same language which will drive innovation not only for cross-platform measurement, but also for other automated innovation in digital TV such as dynamic ad insertion, programmatic TV ad buying and second screen synching experiences.   

CW: What makes this different from other approaches?

JC: The media industry currently has no open, uniform method of content or ad identification that survives compression and distribution through the supply chain. Putting such an identification method in place is a critical next step toward the establishment of an interoperable standard for all professional video content that can be used throughout the entire media ecosystem.

CW: How will this impact how media is bought and sold?

JC: Standardizing the identification of assets will bring greater speed, efficiency, transparency and accountability to the tracking and reporting of audience viewing data, and enable communication and comparisons across a wide range of technology and measurement vendors.  It could enable a wider range of metrics for buying and selling media, as well as the ability to introduce greater optimization in targeting audiences, creative and even pricing across an increasing range of video platforms

CW: Why is audio watermarking the most promising approach?
JC: Watermarking embeds a content or ad ID into audio or video content by altering the latter. It provides a positive and unambiguous identification of the content and allows two distinct programs with similar or identical audio or video content to be differentiated. Furthermore, extraction of a complete content ID is possible using a standalone detector without the need for an online lookup system.

CW: How has this announcement been received by the industry?

JC: Thus far, we have received a very positive response from the industry and have active participation from an excellent cross section of companies in the drafting group, which is responsible for writing the standard.

CW: Will this enable a proactive coding structure that codes future inventory before it airs?

JC: Both of the current managed identification standards (Ad-ID for ads and Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) for content) can be embedded into the asset at the discretion of the asset owner.  This could occur early in the life of the asset, so that the IDs can be used for content management and shared among all the technology and measurement vendors, from the creation of electronic program guides through to trafficking, distribution and audience measurement in consumer-facing devices. 

CW: Who else is doing work in this space and how does it differ from this approach?
JC: The only other solutions that exist currently are proprietary. In this initiative, CIMM is collaborating not only with SMPTE, but also with the Entertainment ID Registry and Ad-ID, which is a venture of the 4A’s and the ANA.  The new SMPTE Drafting Group also has an official liaison with ATSC, which is an industry group developing the next generation of broadcast TV, and who have expressed interest in standardizing asset identification in that new standard.  There are also plans to liaise with other relevant industry groups, such as and SCTE and CEA, and other media industry trade groups such as the IAB and the ARF. 

Interview by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog or at Twitter:


The Next Big Step Towards Local TV Programmatic

There is a lot of talk about programmatic moving into television but there are few experts in the industry when it comes to programmatic specifically in local TV. Magna’s Janice Finkel-Greene is one of those experts. She knows local broadcast and her collaboration with Wide Orbit in the area of local broadcast programmatic has led to a transformative new initiative called “Wide Orbit Central” which has been announced this week. 

I sat down with Finkel-Greene who filled me in on the details in this video.

She explains, “What we are trying to address with this new application is to improve the local buying process as we introduce elements of programmatic buying to it… It puts the buying process into an automated framework.”

Currently, buying local broadcast is time consuming. It is bought by individual market and tends to concentrate in low value inventory. There is also the issue of local television measurement which is challenged by low sample, large relative error and therefore performance bounce. This new application, available to all agencies and broadcast stations and affiliates, is considered “programmatic in spirit” in that it is console to console with near real time buying and reporting. It is connected directly to a traffic system (Wide Orbit) as opposed to connected to a source of inventory like other local sellers in the space. Finkel-Greene describes the application as “local TV programmatic on a national scale offering the ability to buy all broadcast across the US.” While it does not include cable at this time, there are plans to expand into cable as a next step. 

The stations decide which inventory they want to sell by DMA. Finkel-Greene says that the system is transparent in that it surfaces “markets, stations, times and dayparts. Currently, programmatic TV is a dark pool arena for local TV – there is not a lot of disclosure.” What Wide Orbit Central offers is a data driven solution, according to Finkel-Greene who notes, “We overlay qualitative data and if a station offer meets our criteria, we can buy it. It is data driven, not whimsical.”

Finkel-Greene concludes, “The transparency and speed of the Wide Orbit Central platform creates the feedback loop we need for continuous optimization.  It makes insights actionable by providing the opportunity to place buys nationally while targeting to the local market specifics.  It’s the best of both worlds.”


The Fine, Frenetic Advertising Week That Was

Advertising Week was a fine, frenetic mixture of industry announcements, brilliant initiatives, measurement advancements and sales directions this year. There was talk of Big Data, Programmatic, Content Identification, Cross Platform and even NeuroScience. The industry is changing so quickly that even those of us with years in the industry can still come away with some “aha” moments. Here are three of them for me: 

Fraud Negatively Impacts Programmatic
Programmatic was one of the hot industry topics in and beyond Advertising Week. But there is an aspect of Programmatic that I was unaware of and appears to be of serious concern - Fraud. We talk about fraudulent clicks but there is so much more to the fraud problem in digital, especially as it impacts Big Data. 

Data is collected and rarely revised for errors. This is especially true for shopper data where purchasing from stolen credit cards is included, creating erroneous patterns that can impact the efficacy of Programmatic. Michael Tiffany of White Ops explained, “Segmentation targeting is based on the trust of cookie data. You can't unwind the attribution model for stolen credit card purchases.”
There is also the issue of bots that troll sites. Tiffany said, “There is fraud in private marketplaces. Right now publishers are losing big because of bots.” “That is why we are moving away from an open exchange” said Joe Kowan of GroupM, “We apply programmatic to trusted publishers with whom we have a relationship.” 

Can this situation impact the growth and expansion of Programmatic?

Time to Debunk the Digital Myths
As television will inevitably evolve into the digital sphere because of connected TVs, we need to separate myths from realities. Neustar’s Lisa Joy Rosner debunked the 5 myths of digital marketing in her presentation from privacy concerns to the death of brick and morter. Here they are:

Myth 1- Big Brother is watching. But Rosner suggested that with the right approach, it is possible to “create delightful experiences that don't have to be creepy.” She explained that “It is all about trust, relevance and personalization.”

Myth 2- Offline is dead. Rosner said that this just is not true – the numbers bear it out. “currently, 96% people watch TV. 91% read magazines. 82% listen to radio. 52% have smartphones. 76% use the internet. Integration across platforms is the key.”

Myth 3- Location matters. Well that Myth is true according to Rosner who explained, “Forty-one percent do local search to do comparison shopping before they go into a store to buy. Four out of 5 local searches end in a purchase and 73% of purchases are in brick and mortar stores.”

Myth 4- Size matters in Big Data. But Rosner said, “Accuracy matters more. It's more important to go for accuracy and quality than go for big. Smart data not big data equals accurate, agile and actionable. It must be embedded in driving the organization forward, not a back room function.”

Myth 5- Mobile is the new black. Not so fast, Rosner cautioned, “Eighty three percent of consumers expect you to know them across channels and devices and 46% purchase more when they receive personalized offers across channels.”

Neuroscience Adds Impact to Content Measurement
Neuroscience research, as advanced by the ARF, is beginning to show important results. According to the ARF’s Gayle Fuguitt, “The opportunity is immense to measure the unmeasured and unlock techniques. We are going from the leading edge to the bleeding edge.” Horst Stipp added, “Our members asked questions about neuro and we are translating neuroscience into best practices.”
There are several methods including physical response, eye tracking, skin conductor response, EKG, EEG, Fmri and facial coding.  There were two major studies presented with the later study confirming the theoretical results from the first one. “The data pointed to using methods as a way to help you improve ad performance and sell more”, Stipp explained.  Creative testing and the revisions that were recommended based on the neuroscience results improved audience response in the final version. Mike Donahue from the 4As agreed that the ARF was “On to something very, very big.”

The industry itself is expanding and enriching the way it is doing business. Advertising Week offered a way to see some of these newest and greatest.