Live From Advertising Week – Day 4


Cynopsis Presents:

Live From Advertising Week – Day 4

Advertising Week New York 2019 wrapped up the final day of the 16th year of the event with an ongoing slew of panels and special events around New York City. Attendance seemed a bit reduced, but anyone who failed to show up for the end missed out on some great conversations and insights – and puppies set up for adoption right outside the theater. Here’s a few insights from Thursday’s events, with a look at what’s on the docket for tomorrow:
If the audience and the panelists seemed a little more effusive than usual at the 5:30 Wednesday Calling All Cord Cutters panel, well, let’s just say there was a lively bar setup offering beer, wine and soft drinks in the main lobby area of the second floor. “Welcome to the happy hour section,” joked Brian Albert, Managing Director, Google/YouTube Media Partnerships & Creative Teams, Google, who joined Tal Chalozin, CTO & Co-Founder, Innovid  Nicole Sabatini, VP and Head of Integrated Marketing, Hulu; Jeremy Verba, GM & VP, Vudu and moderator Charisse Jones, Reporter, USA Today to discuss how TV viewing behaviors have evolved. “I think we’ve done a good job at confusing customers about where to go and how to find things [on platforms],” noted Verba. “It’s incumbent upon us to help customers find things and send them there, even if our platforms don’t have them, so they know where they can get it.” Added Sabatini, “It really is all about targeting audiences and reaching audiences; it’s not about the content specifically any more, which is how people watched for a long time. People are watching how they want, where they want, when they want. Prime time is any time, that’s how we think about it.”
Before the Cord Cutters panel, Sabatini spoke with Cynopsis and noted, “It’s an important conversation for marketers to have as viewing begins to shift to a more on-demand and streaming space. As the leader in that space we want to help lead the conversation. As viewers continue to cut the cord this gives us as streamers and over-the-top programmers the ability to be viewer first. We have that one-on-one direct relationship with our viewers; we know how they are behaving, and they’re in this new world looking for a different experience in how they consume content – and also in their advertising experience.”
A roomful of early birds gathered on Friday morning for the Leadership Breakfast: Sports 20/20 held in the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, a few blocks away from the AMC theater. On hand to discuss Sinclair Broadcast Group’s expansion, Gary Bettman, Commissioner, National Hockey League; Chris Ripley, President & CEO, Sinclair; David Stern, Commissioner Emeritus, NBA; David Levy, CEO & President, Brooklyn Nets and Barclay Center & Joe Tsai Sports; Jon Litner, CEO, YES Network and Sarah Kustok, Brooklyn Nets Game Analyst, YES Network all gathered for a quick meal of fruit, bagels and pastries. But before the group discussion, Ripley and Kustok discussed Sinclair’s latest moves in acquiring regional sports platforms (RSNs) to become the largest regional sports platform in the US. Here are a few things we learned:
* Sinclair is very high on keeping tabs on local news programming, touting the company’s “single topic journalism” units around the country, and noting they’ve been covering Baltimore, Maryland’s “broken” school system. “Our strategy is to make content that matters to people,” said Ripley.
* After seeing how “big media companies” were creating “record amounts of [entertainment] programming every year,” they turned to local news and sports. Newspapers, he said, “are going away.” So they began the process that led to the large purchase of 21 Fox regional sports networks.
* Now that they’ve closed on the RSN deal, “our focus is on integration,” and “we’re looking at political advertising closer.” Having eyed the money coming into local networks for political campaigns, Ripley is eager to start throwing political ads into sports programming. “RSNs have some of the best audiences on television, so we think political ad buyers should be looking at the RSNs,” he said.
A 1964 statement by Marshall McLuhan got a re-envisioning in Disrupters & Provocateurs: Redefining “The Medium is the Message” for the 21st Century, a panel featuring Paul Woolmington, CEO, Canvas Worldwide; Lindsey Slaby, Founder, Sunday Dinner; Baldwin Cunningham, VP, Brand Partnerships, CNN; Rachel Weiss, VP, Strategic Growth & Open Innovation, L’Oreal; and Bachir Zeroual, CMO, Wasserman Media Group. Woolmington asked a critical question early, wondering if we should be discussing about talking at consumers about brands – about the message – or should brands be more focused on improving customers’ lives and having the solutions tell the story? The panel swung around to looking at companies like Domino’s and Amazon who’ve worked their messages into the experience. “In the spirit of redefining McCluhan, empowered technology is something that can be part of the medium solution,” said Slaby. “But it’s in service of new experiences and surprising and delighting the customer experience.” Added Woolmington, “Those services and those ways of behaving as a brand is the message as well, so people feel good about that.” CTO Daniel Riddell (whose other job title is labeled as “Dad”) gave his audience at Safe Streaming: The Future Of First Party Data Child-Focused Digital Advertising a crash course on what his service offers kid viewers. It’s a tricky topic because in order to be a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant publisher, advertisers can’t try and really sell to kids – nor can they collect their third-party data. “This is a sticky point in the industry, what defines personal data vs. contextual data,” he said. “Nevertheless, has over 100M ad impressions per month and 2 million app and channel downloads – so clearly brands have found a way to make this work.” In addition, Kidoodle is specifically about connected TV, the kind that lives in the family living room. “We believe at a young age that’s important, that families engage content together,” he said. Streaming services and connected TV that deal with programmatic can often end up with advertising or content that’s inappropriate to kids. Observed Riddell, “It really is in the best interest of companies going forward to understand the children’s demographic.”
Score one for advertising and athletes, a pairing that is increasingly being a match in heaven, as the panel The Combination of Influence & Authenticity Makes a Winning Team revealed Thursday afternoon. Featuring Ryan Crosby, VP, Content & Brand Marketing, Hulu; Carli Lloyd, Two-Time World Cup Champion and Two-Time Olympian; Jennifer van Dijk, EVP of Marketing, Wasserman; and Jacob Feldman, staff writer, Sports Illustrated, subjects ranged from authenticity to the growing power of athletes as influencers who can build successful brands. As Crosby noted, choosing to pair up with an influencer requires a lot of research. “You’re better off finding the right partner, looking at the way they engage with their fans, and how they can speak to your audiences,” he said. “You want to partner with someone who is authentically interested I what you’re doing.” But as more and more brands continue to use athletes as brand influencers, standing out from the crowd will increasingly become a challenge. For that, said Ryan, it makes sense to work with the athlete to create a focus and angle. “Authenticity is the most important thing,” he said.

Daniella Harkins, Chief Evangelist, Agencies at LiveRamp, appeared on two panels during AWNY: The Next Generation of Data-Driven TV and The Role of Identity in an Evolving Data-Driven World. So we asked her to explain about her mission at the event: “My goal is to leave an impression on the value – and changing nature – of data,” she told Cynopsis. “As an industry, we need to accept the reality that data can no longer live in one place – regulation and business drivers are dictating that. Data should still be centralized, but also integrated through selective data partnerships…. Data partnerships are the future of data-driven marketing.” And how did the title of “Chief Evangelist” come about? ” I am very passionate about the industry, its evolution and how the intersection of data, technology and creative can deliver on the promise of great consumer experiences,” she said. “As chief evangelist, my passion has evolved into a role where I’ve focused on evangelizing the power of identity and data connectivity.”
IV.AI‘s mission is embedded in its name: it’s the market leader in automated language understanding, with a team that originated at Google, Amazon, Oracle, Spotify and Microsoft. But as CEO Vince Lynch told Cynopsis ahead of his two panels, Applied Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise… Really (on Monday) and How OG Brands Deliver DTC Results (Wednesday), it’s not just about data points – people are still the most valuable asset.
According to your first panel, you were discussing how data and machine learning add value to organizations. What does that actually mean?
Lynch: In a nutshell, data and machine learning are adding value to organizations by simplifying how you mine the data for analytics and automate insights. Having a lot of data isn’t usually a problem for businesses; the challenge is how do you store that data, clean it, manage infrastructure, and then run AI tools and machine learning models to drive understanding. 
Your company is devoted to the messages AI can discover inside data sets and numbers, but do people always want to ask about the human element? 
Lynch: There’s always a human element. The data the AI learns from is often human, the models are designed by people, and the outputs of AI requires people to craft the data and filter creatively. AI works best as an augmented helper to enable human curiosity and supercharge the work people are doing.
What’s your super power?
Lynch: Tricky. I can context switch quickly and filter a lot of data points. Which can also be my kryptonite. 
* OTT streaming video is set to increase 20% in 2019 to $2.6B
* US advertisers will spend $69.2B on linear TV
* 58% of US advertisers polled say that precise targeting is a leading benefit of OTT advertising
* 204.9M people in the US are expected to view OTT content in 2019, up from 199.9 in 2018
* US users are spending 92.43 minutes per day with digital video in 2019, up 7.3% in 2018
Sources: Winterberry Group, Advertiser Perceptions, eMarketer
Correction: In yesterday’s newsletter a quote from Jon Schulz, CMO of Viant, was misattributed. Here, we present the quote again, properly sourced:
Jon Schulz, CMO of Viant appeared on the AMA: Techlash is Here: What it Means for Marketers & Consumers in China & US panel on Tuesday, then sat down with Cynopsis to talk about how the conference was going – and what key trends he’s been spotting. “The out-of-home advertising industry is making a big push this year with their OOH is Real campaign,” he noted. “Practically anywhere you go you see digital billboards and signage. It’s a fantastic medium that is maturing with its ability to hyper-target and be measurable, and Advertising Week is the perfect place to display its potential.”
“If I never hear another ‘Despacito’ rip-off song in my whole life I’ll be fine.” – Random delegate, rolling her eyes at the endless club-style dance loop playing throughout the conference
The conference may end on Thursday, but stay tuned for a special newsletter from Cynopsis on Friday, including a Q&A with Hulu’s VP and Head of Integrated Marketing, Nicole Sabatini, who’ll address the importance of advertisers reaching targeted, opt-in viewers. “We know for those who have opted in, there’s still a responsibility to make that advertising experience a better experience for them,” she says, plus a whole lot more. See you Friday!
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