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Dentsu’s Ray On The Future Of TV Buying, Brands ‘Owning’ Customer ID’s

As more Dentsu Aegis Network clients dedicate budgets to addressable or audience-targeted television, Doug Ray envisions a future in which only advertising avails on live TV will be negotiated the old fashioned way. “All other TV, particularly all the long tail of cable, will be bought through programmatic or audience targeted terms,” says Dentsu’s President of Product & Innovation.

“I think we’re going to ultimately end up negotiating live TV, because those are the moments that have the greatest attention. They’re wrapped around cultural moments that we want to associate brands with,” Ray explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

He bases his “hypothesis” on the nature of non-live programming “Most of that content is very low rated, it’s time shifted in terms of how people are viewing it, and therefore our ability to manage reach, frequency, audience delivery in a programmatic or audience targeted way is absolutely the future.”

Ray will be a featured speaker on June 6 at Beet Retreat in the City. Titled Television Advances as Consumers Choose: The Beet.TV Town Hall, the event will bring together leaders in the advertising and media industry for a full day of conversation and interaction.

Another trend he sees continuing unabated is the desire for marketers to “own the ID” of their customers using personally identifiable information, not data proxies. He cites Amazon as an example, noting that every single user has a registered ID, “you have your address that you’ve given, there’s a credit card number, there’s no way that you can transact without them having some level of personally identifiable information.

“And so I think every single client is trying to move towards owning and identifying to the best that they can their customers.”

Dentsu is one of the youngest of the major agency networks and its initial holding, media agency Carat, was known for its strength in consumer-related analytics when it came to the U.S. from Europe in the late 1990’s and began to acquire media-buying services. Dentsu’s 2016 acquisition of a majority stake in marketing agency Merkle had the effect of “transforming the organization around people,” says Ray. “What Merkle brings is 30 years of dealing with consumer and understanding consumers through that data.”

Combined with Dentsu’s existing data and analytics assets, Merkle has helped to create “an incredibly robust data cloud that allows us to truly understand people. And critically, doing that based on PII data, name address email address. Not a projection of someone or a proxy of someone based on a cookie ID or device ID or panel ID but actually an authenticated deterministic ID.”

A couple of years ago, Dentsu agencies recommended to clients that a small percentage of cable upfront dollars should be put aside for programmatic linear television. “For those clients that did that, they actually learned about what networks were working or weren’t working, and that was leveraged for the next TV Upfronts,” Ray recalls.

“For other clients, they saw such success with that they doubled their investment. Maybe ten percent to twenty percent programmatic. And this year, we’ve got a handful of clients that have almost a third of their cable dollars that are being spent in some form of addressable or audience targeted television. I think that’s going to continue.”

This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. FreeWheel is a Comcast company.