MTVN, Quantcast to Laser-Target Web Video Ads

MTV Networks plans to offer advertisers the ability to purchase specific demographic and lifestyle target audiences within its online video inventory as part of an ongoing partnership with the Web analytics firm Quantcast.

According to MTVN officials, the new sales tactic will encompass video inventory on sites reaching 84 million unique users, including and, as well as sites within the company’s Tribes ad network.

It’s one of the first forays into the online video ad market by Quantcast, which emerged in 2008 as a competitor to comScore and Nielsen Online but more recently has targeted the digital sales community. The San Francisco-based company claims it can help publishers extract more accurate information on their audiences, allowing them to serve ads to select demographics on a real-time basis.

As Todd Teresi, chief revenue officer for Quantcast, explained, in the past companies like MTVN would typically encourage brands to advertise alongside specific content using “proxy” demographics gathered from panels. For example, a women’s brand might advertise in VH1’s video content because comScore reports it skews toward women 35-plus — but would still reach and pay for all the other demographics that consume that content. “The problem with that is there is a tremendous amount of waste,” Teresi said.

Quantcast’s tech — which combines data from panels, pixels placed on millions of sites, ISPs and other sources — employs a “mass scale inference model,” said Teresi. That model theoretically lets publishers automatically deduce which demographics are consuming a particular piece of content at a given moment and serve ads accordingly. That same female-targeted brand could serve ads to “this basket of people that matches their target, and exclude people that don’t,” he added.

Kevin Arrix, evp, digital ad sales, MTV Networks, said the offering would help the company better compete in an increasingly data-driven market. “In the past, audience targeting like this predominately sat with portals and ad networks,” he said. “This allows us to mine our audience across the entire portfolio. This continues to make us more multidimensional.”

Agencies like the Quantcast concept, particularly since it’s being applied to top-tier inventory. “Last year’s focus was so much on ad networks and exchanges and behavioral targeting…for tonnage inventory,” said Amanda Richman, evp, managing director of digital at MediaVest, which plans to test MTVN’s offering. “This signals a different dialogue. This is about bringing that balance back with premium content.”