At a TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA) breakfast in NYC Tuesday morning industry execs discussed using big data for more efficient media buying, the challenges brought about by fragmentation of the marketplace and the next generation of media players. Here are their thoughts on a number of industry hot topics. 
 
Television as First Screen
 
Despite a world of fragmentation, television is still the medium to beat, according to Bruce Lefkowitz, evp, ad sales Fox Cable Networks. “It’s part of our culture… It is the first port of call,” and that puts you in the forefront of people’s consciousness, he said. David Poltrack, chief research officer, CBS corporation, pres, CBS Vision believes the second screen will “dramatically change and enhance” the television experience. “Now the message can take the consumer all the way through… to transactional capability,” and big data systems like TRA will help you optimize it, he said.
 
Addressable TV
 
Panelists were hesitant to say that addressable TV has arrived. Todd Dickson, chief revenue officer of Empire Today, one of TRA’s largest advertisers, noted that while a lot of good things are happening on that front, “I don’t think it’s quite ready yet… It’s something we pay attention to.” Brad Adgate, svp research, Horizon Media said “there’s been a lot of missteps along the way.” The technology is improving, but “I don’t think it’s scalable yet for a lot of advertisers,” he said. According to Amanda Richman, pres of investments and activation, Starcom, it’s “now poised at the right point where there’s an appetite there…The dollars can shift as we scale it further,” she said.
 
Generation Next
 
Richman believes that the media agency world today is “the most exciting time in our business.“ Data is the big organizer, she said, and will help agencies “reinvent consistent norms” and how they work. Adgate is equally optimistic. “People still want to work in the industry and that’s great,” he said. He predicts there will be more of an emphasis on analytics with future generations. “Communications majors should have some understanding of statistics,” he said. Lefkowitz added that it’s crucial for the industry to attract people “who have the passion to embrace these new data streams.” “The client relationships have changed,” he said, as technology now gives people the capability of doing better work. But the key challenge is “to bring people into this business who are information junkies.” In his view, “media is almost an unfound gem.” Going forward, attracting the next generation of talent is imperative.
 
On comparing today’s landscape with former years, Poltrack said he certainly doesn’t long for days past. “I hated those days,” he admitted. “Researchers weren’t really necessary.” Today is a different story. “We thrive on complexity,” he said. “We’re reaching our golden era.” From an advertiser’s perspective, said Dickson,
“we have a greater sense of control.” “We’re OK paying the fair value” for media buys, he said, but they’re not OK with overpaying for that value. “Data helps paying for it appropriately.”
 

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