Rovi is thinking outside the cable box.
Rovi Corp. , a set-top software specialist, today announced that it has signed A&E Networks as its first major media customer for the Rovi Ad Optimizer solution. Ad Optimizer is an audience-targeting application that runs on top of Rovi's analytics platform. A&E will use the technology to analyze multiple sources of demographic and behavioral data and facilitate targeted media buys for network advertisers.
According to Rovi, A&E will pilot Ad Optimizer with a handful of select customers in partnership with independent ad agency Horizon Media.
The A&E win is important for Rovi as it continues working to expand beyond its traditional cable operator customer base. In recent years, the company has had some success in the consumer electronics market with its user interface and metadata products. But branching out into the video programming industry with advertising analytics is a newer phenomenon. (See Rovi Roams to More Devices.)
Rovi VP Matthew Emans told Light Reading that several cable operators already use the company's analytics platform for local ad sales, but that A&E is the first national-level programmer it can confirm as a customer.
Emans also explained the types of data that Rovi is using as part of its Ad Optimizer product. In addition to data sets from The Nielsen Co. and Rentrak Corp. (Nasdaq: RENT), Rovi ingests viewing information for set-tops across more than 1 million homes. That set-top data is sourced from a combination of cable operators through a third-party resource.
Although Emans didn't name the third party, FourthWall Media Inc. is one possibility. FourthWall's MassiveData TV viewer index includes second-by-second set-top data from more than 4.5 million cable subscribers. (See FourthWall Plays Doctor With Set-Top Data and FourthWall Nips at Nielsen.)
Rovi also collects outside data sets that profile specific audience behaviors, such as car leasing and home buying.
"This platform really puts the set of tools in place for somebody like A&E to interact with a set of advertisers who are doing this in a digital environment," said Emans. "And while there's been a lot of effort on the side of the marketers to date, they've really been unable to execute those audience-driven, audience-targeted buys on television for a lack of the right technology … on the programmer side. So this really pushes that forward with these new data sets."
Emans noted that while A&E will use Ad Optimizer just for its linear television ad inventory in the short term, Rovi expects usage to expand in the future. Ad Optimizer is currently one of two applications offered on the Rovi analytics platform. The other is Promotion Optimizer, which supports audience targeting for on-air promotions of a television network's own content.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading