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ABC Is Top Banana in 4A’s Homes

ZenithOptimedia, Collective study lights the path to optimized media buys

ABC's Grey's Anatomy

Although it’s destined to finish last again this season among broadcast’s Big Four, ABC boasts a much higher profile in the homes of ad agency types.

According to a new study from Collective, 4A’s members and their families watch ABC more than any other major TV network. In fact, the two most-watched shows among the 4A’s set are the long-running newsmagazine 20/20 and the freshman comedy Super Fun Night—both of which call ABC home.

If those results are rather surprising—20/20 airs on low HUT-level Friday nights, while Super Fun Night averaged only 5.1 million viewers over its brief run—there’s more where that came from. For instance, while it just cracks the top 20 in terms of overall prime-time deliveries, Bravo is the most-watched cable network in 4A’s circles, beating out the likes of ESPN, AMC and CNN.

4A’s members also preferred the now-defunct NBC comedy Sean Saves the World, and the offspring of these brand marketers and advertisers are more likely to watch the CW’s Arrow than any other program.

While Collective and agency partner ZenithOptimedia admittedly are working within the confines of a rather narrow constituency, the study was designed to illustrate some greater truths about optimizing media buys.

“Obviously, it’s great to make 4A’s Transformation attendees the center of attention,” said Collective CEO Joe Apprendi. “It’s a way to validate what they’re watching—you look out and see a lot of nodding heads in the audience—while presenting a much more clear picture of exactly how TV analytics works.”

In order to gather the data, Collective placed a pixel on the 4A’s homepage, which allowed it to track correlations between online behavior and TV viewing habits, as illuminated by Rentrak set-top box data. In a more generalized execution, engagement and attentiveness metrics would be brought to bear to create a highly detailed index of online activity as it relates to TV usage.

ZenithOptimedia president, activation John Nitti will present the findings of the optimization study today at 10:30 a.m. PDT, alongside his colleague, Zenith svp, director of research John Nuding.

At its core, the Zenith-Collective partnership allows for a more comprehensive alignment of TV preferences and online behaviors among those consumers who are in the market for a given product or service. This in turn can be used to make smarter, more effective media buys.

ZenithOptimedia began subscribing to the Collective data in July 2013.

“We wanted to achieve that same kind of optimization that has been happening for years in the digital space,” Nitti said. “It’s no longer sufficient to just hit ‘send’ and place $15 million with a cable network or holding company. … Now we can take that data from client websites and make it actionable.”

As Apprendi sees it, the synthesis of in-market behaviors and TV deliveries simply makes it easier for agencies to buy smarter GRPs: “Say Show A and Show B both do a 2.0 in the demo, but one show drives online activity at a 2:1 ratio—that’s worth two times the value of the other show that delivers the exact same rating.”

While Zenith won’t divulge the ingredients in its “special sauce,” today’s presentation concludes with a look at how a number of non-GRP variables contribute to making more efficient TV buys. For example, in the case of one client that was analyzed through the lens of the Zenith-Collective calculus, TLC ranks highest among all cable networks in terms of serving up engaged, attentive, in-market viewers. And because it’s not a top 10 network, opportunities to really take advantage of those efficiencies abound. 

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