New Tool Shows TV Advertisers What Their Competitors Are Paying

Originally posted on Advertising Age

CBS may be network of the sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” but it isn’t cheap.

At least it’s not for advertisers, according to a tranche of TV advertising data released this week by TV advertising startup Simulmedia. While CBS gives advertisers the greatest reach of any single network, it also frequently charges the most to reach 1,000 unduplicated viewers, according to the data, which is based in part on information from Kantar Media and network sales systems.

The company released data from 100 top TV advertisers today, and plans to expand that to two years of data from 300 TV advertisers, according to founder and web advertising pioneer Dave Morgan. Once available only to clients, Mr. Morgan made it free during the Association of National Advertisers financial conference in Arizona, and more auspiciously, ahead of the TV network upfronts next week.

Why do it? Partly to shake up the clubby TV business, where deals are still made on a handshake and real comparative data is expensive. “Those tools and systems are limited in very few hands,” Mr. Morgan said. “No one has ever put this stuff out in one place.”

Further, he’d like TV to become more data-driven and, of course, planners to avail themselves of Simulmedia’s services. “Audience fragmentation across channels, timeslots and devices has made TV advertising much less efficient than it used to be,” he said. “Two-thirds of TV spots today in the U.S. are wasted and don’t need to be. Our mission is to show exactly which ones they are and how brands and agencies can avoid that kind of waste.”

The point is, TV is very good at reaching a wide swath of heavy viewers. Where it gets expensive is the frequency required to reach light viewers. Advertisers end up hitting the same heavy viewers over and over as they try to reach those infrequent viewers, a growing problem as audiences disperse to niche networks. This is a going to be a familiar pitch to TV advertisers over the coming months. YouTube is sending out its salesforce with software meant to demonstrate that light TV viewers can be reached more efficiently through web video.

Unlike the web guys trying to smash-and-grab for TV dollars, Mr. Morgan thinks TV is actually undervalued and that data will help the medium capture value as viewers watch more TV in different places. “We think that the closed nature of information is one of the real impediments to TV advertising getting better and growing,” he said.

Simulmedia gets its data from partnerships with cable and satellite providers representing 50 million U.S. homes, as well as Nielsen’s measurement panel and anonymous purchase data from MRI.

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