Viacom Is Using Data to Drive Growth

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom



Big Data took center stage at the Ad Age Data Conference in New York City. This meeting of the minds brought together leading data scientists and marketers from around the country to spotlight the powerful connection between analytics and marketing and how companies are using data in smarter ways to meet business needs. In a fireside chat with Ad Age Media Reporter Jeanine Poggi, Viacom’s Kern Schireson, executive vice president of Data Strategy and Consumer Intelligence, shared how the company leverages data to drive growth and how his team brings advanced data products to the marketplace.

Schireson, a 2015 Ad Age Media Maven, introduced the audience to Viacom Vantage, the industry-leading, data-driven ad product that enables advertisers to reach their custom targets. He explored its significance transforming the traditional media planning experience to offer advertisers more choice, flexibility, and the ability to predict what content will best reach their target customers across MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Spike, TV Land and Logo.

“Viacom’s been in the market a few years with data products,” Schireson said. “Our mission has been consistent to start to close the gap between how advertisers think about their targets and the way they can transact in television.  Historically, advertisers spent millions of dollars thinking about who their custom target really is. This wasn’t about age and gender but a range of behaviors, attitudes and aspirations that made up the target consumer for a product. They bring that to media agencies, publishers and we would say we can give you men ages 18-49. Viacom felt there was too much energy and traction lost in translation and wanted to move the buying capability to bring more nuance to the way we understand who our inventory is reaching and we continued to advance that over the last few years.”

Viacom Vantage is working with some of the biggest, most sophisticated advertisers to enable predictive targeting capabilities to fully monetize and optimize engagement around programming and brands. Schireson underscored the importance of understanding how audiences are tuning in and tuning out, because it’s about more than impressions, it’s about attention. “We see our business as driven by fans,” he said. “We’re really looking to engage our audience across all aspects of their lives, across all the screens on which they consume content.”

The data strategy group continues to build out a world-class team to support and further enhance our capabilities. “We’ve invested a lot in the team we put together and the technology platforms we rely on, to make sure we can meet our clients where they are. Working with advertisers and agency partners in a way that meets their needs requires the right kind of resourcing, the right kind of mindset, that we are building in and it is differentiating us.”



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