By Steven Perlberg
Networks are hawking more than their fall seasons at their annual “upfront” presentations. TV companies want
marketers and ad buyers to know they have data chops, too.
To that end, Viacom is announcing a new data product in partnership with American Express that the cable giant says
will let advertisers better target consumers across their stable of networks like MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central. Viacom is
unveiling the product as broadcast network owners make their case to the advertising community during the upfronts this
Mr. Schireson offered a familiar example in the world of targeted advertising: pet food. Dog food marketers
understandably try to use available data sets to target consumers who actually own dogs. But Mr. Schireson says American
Express can help Viacom find viewers who are making purchases that foreshadow pet ownership, like supplies for a new
apartment, months before that viewer adopts Fido.
“We can link it to what they are actually viewing and give a solution that is quite unique,” said Manish Gupta,
executive vice president of global information management and data products at American Express. The data will be
anonymized and pooled together to protect privacy, he said, and Viacom doesn’t get its hands on anyone’s personal
Viacom is among a handful of TV companies boasting that they can offer marketers and advertisers targeting
capabilities that compete with the digital world. But most television ad inventory is still bought and sold the old-
fashioned way, based on traditional TV ratings that figure for only broad categories like age and gender.
Viacom, in particular, has promoted its data-targeting abilities amid those gloomier trends in the pay-TV business,
like falling ratings and cord-cutting. In March, Viacom signed a deal with measurement specialist comScore to help power
its targeted advertising products. Viacom’s advertising revenue in the U.S. fell 5% in the latest quarter.
The American Express deal “is more sophisticated and more advanced than anything we’ve done before,” Mr. Schireson
Write to Steven Perlberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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