According to Travis Lusk, VP of Solutions at Sorenson, local TV broadcasters, particularly those in smaller markets, are at a big disadvantage to national broadcasters. Nielsen provides a rich set of data on the national channels. Many of the locals only see “diary data” days after the broadcast. That means the local channels can’t take advantage of newer technologies to improve experience and boost revenue.
Sorenson has created a new product, called Spark, aimed at fixing that problem. It uses automatic content recognition (ACR) to understand viewer behavior. The solution relies on two key pieces of technology. The first sits in the cloud and monitors and “fingerprints” all of the local channels in the US. The second piece of technology sits on a smart TV “listening” to what the viewer is watching. It communicates with the cloud to recognize what a viewer is watching in real-time. The smart TV and cloud work together to track viewer activity on the smart TV.
Spark aggregates all the viewer activity data from all the smart TVs into a single database. The analytics portion of the product can then give the local stations a real-time picture of how its current broadcast is performing.
Mr. Lusk says this allows the local broadcaster to react in real-time to how a show is performing. For example, you can see if a story is running too long, as people begin to tune away to another station. You can also see how promotions for other shows are performing. Spark tells a broadcaster how many people saw the promo, and how many of those subsequently tuned in.
The smart TV also allows the broadcaster to insert an ad in real-time. That means local broadcasters can take advantage of advanced targeting and programmatic techniques to optimize the value of the ads. This could also allow personalization of the content. For example, weather broadcasts can deliver microclimate information, rather than only catering to the broad channel transmission area.
Spark is deployed in a number of markets, with 1-5 channels in each of those using the product. Mr. Lusk expects Spark to be in 90 markets and on 30M smart TVs before the end of the year.
Video Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Why local broadcasters are data poor (0:50)
Chapter 2: How Spark provides better data (1:30)
Chapter 3: How the data is analyzed (3:00)
Chapter 4: Allows for real-time ad insertion (5:00)
Chapter 5: Where is it deployed, who is using it? (6:20)
Chapter 6: Larger data set than Nielsen (8:20)