VideoAmp Hires Former OMG Exec to Create New TV Trading Currency

Jonathan Steuer will help buyers and sellers embrace audienced-based targeting

Jonathan Steuer was chief research office of OMG from 2016 to 2020. VideoAmp
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TV measurement company VideoAmp has hired Jonathan Steuer, former chief research officer of Omnicom Media Group, to help bring audience-based buying to television.

TV has historically been traded on broad age and gender demographics. Steuer’s task is to build out a “transactional” currency that can be used for audience-based trading, and to get networks and agencies comfortable using a new, more granular approach to targeting.

“The idea is really to get us on a road to a data set that’s not just useful for planning and campaign measurement, but that is good enough that both buyers and sellers will use it in negotiations about how money gets allocated, spent and reckoned,” said Steuer, evp of TV strategy and currency at VideoAmp.

Now may be the right time for the buy-side to embrace a new approach, since the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted TV’s traditional upfront season and, more importantly, put pressure on agencies to prove their worth to cost-conscious brands.

“Covid-19 … has accelerated the forces on the agency-side, because it really put them under much more pressure to make their clients ad dollars go farther and to make them more accountable,” said Steuer.

Steuer spent four years at OMG, leaving the post in April to take on various consulting roles. He joins VideoAmp after the company laid off 10% of staff in early April due to the financial impact of the pandemic.

VideoAmp, which was founded in 2014, started out as a video demand-side platform that also offered optimization and measurement services. Steuer’s hire signals the company’s push away from media to focus primarily on measurement.

VideoAmp’s TV data sources include Inscape and Gracenote, which provide automatic content recognition data from smart TVs; and Frontier Communications, TiVo, Dish Media and FourthWall Media, which provide set-top box data.

Its dataset, which is pulled from first-and third-party sources, covers 28 million households and 40 million devices, according to a company spokesperson.

As part of the real-time bidding process, a DSP can access, gather and ultimately sell bidstream data. This data, which can include a user’s location or IP address, can be used to fortify first-party data. However, that data can be easily manipulated, plus lawmakers are looking into that data collection practice.

Steuer said the company wants to work more closely with publishers and rely less on using data that’s attached to media, especially given the tracking and privacy changes coming from Google Chrome and Apple.

“Concerns about privacy, as well as the death of cookies, are going to make it really difficult for that to be the mechanism of data collection in the medium-to-longer-term future,” he said.

Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.