TechBytes with John Whitmore, Head of Data Strategy, TiVo

John Whitmore

John Whitmore
Head of Data, TiVo

Appointment viewing has now caught the advertiser’s fancy. Addressing TV viewership with programmatic advertising is the new trend. We spoke to John Whitmore, Head of Data at TiVo, to understand the nuances of this trend.

Tell us about your role at TiVo and the team/technology you handle.

I manage the data strategy and products that TiVo builds from its anonymized raw, set-top box TV Viewership Data, as well as the team and partnerships that monetize these TV data products in the marketing and advertising ecosystem, namely the Segments business.

What were the main objectives of your recent report on data transforming TV viewership?

The goal behind our latest whitepaper on ACR and STB data was to illustrate that the TV marketplace is changing very fast, and deterministic TV viewership data is beginning to affect how TV advertising is being targeted and analyzed. We wanted to shed light on the factors that are driving the market toward new sources of TV viewing data like ACR and STB, and how these differ from the traditional, panel-based TV measurement. In this changing landscape, it is vital for marketers and content providers to understand the benefits and risks of utilizing these next-generation TV data sources.

Elaborate on your connection with the TV DMP and the evolution with adtech?  

TiVo partners with companies that have a TV DMP or other AdTech/MarTech platforms and provides anonymized TV viewership data (in raw form or via audience products) to help brands and agencies illustrate what users watch in relation to things they do (purchases, places they go, etc.). This strategy allows us to help our customers reach their target audience in a consistent manner across all the platforms on which they consume content, from cross-channel targeting to TV to mobile retargeting.

To what extent do you leverage AI/ machine learning within your data science projects?

TiVo has a large data science team working with our engineers to deliver cutting-edge AI & machine learning systems capable of solving the complex problems for which our clients come to us.

How did you measure Brand Lifts for the respective categories? What TV analytics do you focus on?

We focus specifically on analytics from linear television and how that data connects TV behavior to contextual behavior across the advertising ecosystem. We measure brand lift by connecting various KPIs to television ad exposure. We have found that this methodology is a unique and successful way to measure attribution if the connecting KPIs are strategically named. We also measure a myriad of metrics from television ad campaigns across networks and create reporting methodologies for those stakeholders.

What is the current state of “data science for Advertising” in 2018?  

Although it’s difficult to speak to the industry as a whole without being deeply embedded into each and every organization, I think it’s fair to say that the demand for sophistication in data science, and specifically for advertising, has grown in leaps and bounds. Marketers are understanding and using tools and best practices that far exceed where we thought the industry would be today, and, to some degree, marketers are having to be not only creative but also technically-savvy to be successful in this new ecosystem.

How are B2B purchases influenced by TV viewership?  

TV advertising has always been a great vehicle for B2B advertising campaigns. TV viewership data gives the B2B advertiser the ability to identify what content users are watching and to which B2B advertising they are exposed. This data helps B2B advertisers decide what ads to show to which users based on the shows they watch and the TV ads they consume.

How could publishers better leverage data science technology to ensure 100% audience targeting?

The missing piece seems to be successfully aligning different data sets at scale, in a speedy and efficient manner. Each publisher seems to have disparate methodologies when aggregating and presenting their data, so the difficulties arise when you must combine data sets in order to achieve one outcome. There’s usually a hefty amount of work behind the cleansing and amalgamation of these disparate data sets before any valuable audience targeting can happen.

How are you preparing for the post-GDPR era? How would the new regulations impact branded TV campaigns?

Since TiVo is an international company, we have worked to ensure that we are GDPR-compliant across the board. I think it’s going to be a real WIP across the whole industry. My prediction is that some sort anonymized data warehouse will start to become the norm, but it really remains to be seen.

What drives brand perceptions for millennial audiences? How do you segment branded content campaigns with relevant personalization?

Millennial audiences are hyper-fragmented, as they consume TV/Video content through a myriad of platforms (linear/OTT, digital / mobile video, etc). To properly illustrate the viewing patterns of millennial audiences and target them with the right advertising, you need to collect viewership data across as many of these devices as possible.

Thanks for chatting with us, John.
Stay tuned for more insights on marketing technologies. To participate in our Tech Bytes program, email us at

buy modafinil online where to buy modafinil