Championing Television Targeting Through the ATSG

By Charlene Weisler

Sometimes the best way to advance initiatives is to band together a group of frenemies and form a consortium. In the case of ATSG, (Advanced Target Standards Group), Discovery, ESPN, Fox, Turner and Viacom shared their expertise to accelerate the use of advanced targets in the buying and selling of TV advertising.

The group was formed in 2016 when data -driven linear deals were fairly new. At the time, “all the participants recognized that there was a need for standard approaches and consistency in defining and measuring advanced audiences,” explained Pete Doe, Chief Research Officer, cylpd who also leads the ATSG. “Since then we’ve grown to include representation from more media owners, agencies and CIMM.”

Since their inception, the group has deliverables in the following areas –

  • Guidelines to help buyers and sellers manage advanced audience deals and first party data.
  • Calculation Principles ensuring consistent and transparent advanced audience definitions and calculations.
  • Pre-defined Advanced Audience Definitions.
  • Perspectives on data quality for advanced TV data sets and Attribution.


The need for such a group is evident when you compare linear TV to digital. “Linear inventory is finite while digital is effectively infinite, so that leads to very different demand and supply and monetization,” noted Doe. But another key difference is measurement where linear TV with its human-based panel is a counterpoint to digital which is device driven with inferences about humans being drawn from observed online activity and big data matching.

“Typically, the assumption is that a served digital ad is seen by one person, but with television, co-viewing is common. As OTT continues to grow, measurement needs to reflect that more than one person is watching the IP-delivered content on the big screen. The best of both worlds has to be a hybrid measurement of big data sources reflecting device activity, informed by representative panel measurements of people,” concluded Doe.

The next steps for ATSG are to expand their membership to include other parts of the media ecosystem while continuing to work on cross-platform target definition consistency and guidelines on the reliability of advanced audience campaign delivery.


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