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Samsung to Offer TV Advertising Insights To 3rd Parties Via ACR

Samsung announced it is getting in the TV advertising information game last night at its Advertising Week gala. Though we can’t find any official announcements or media coverage, TV[R]EV has learned from multiple sources who were at the event that the company plans to launch something in early 2018 that leverages the automatic content recognition (ACR) data it collects from smart TVs.

The smart TV manufacturer has the largest footprint of connected TVs in the U.S. and has, to date, only leveraged its automatic content recognition(ACR) capabilities to deliver advertising inside of its walled garden ecosystem. The company has not offered any sort of analytics package to outsiders and instead takes a Netflix-like approach to its data–using it to create a competitive advantage, particularly in regards to ad sales on the home screens of its smart TVs.

At present, that ad inventory is primarily sold to OTT platforms looking to drive discovery of their apps and to drive tune-in for their programming. But that could all be changing quickly as companies like Sorenson strike deals to gain first mover advantage and introduce ad overlays on smart TVs by using them for what they are: internet connected devices.

It remains to be seen if Samsung will sell analytics as a lure to hook more advertisers into its ecosystem, particularly those outside the Media Industrial Complex or if they have a pure play measurement product in mind.

Samsung and VIZIO make up roughly 70% of the smart TV market in the U.S., a fact our upcoming report on ACR and smart TVs notes, many marketers and ad agencies seem unaware of. Currently Inscape.tv, the ACR platform that manages all the data from VIZIO TVs has the largest single source, glass-level raw data set available.

While Nielsen looks to find a way to unlock its measurement potential using Gracenote, the ACR client used by Samsung, Roku and other OEMs, they are finding that assembling all the pieces to get accurate advertising measurement is a different animal than delivering program centric tune-in on a C3 basis. That can and will change but it will take time and a commitment by Nielsen to rework its offering, something that can be hard for a legacy company that isn’t exactly starving and customers like networks that know they need eventual change (but not so fast).  With Nielsen’s purchase this week of Visual IQ, it signaled a deeper commitment to multi-touch attribution capabilities.

On the ad measurement side of the smart TV business, there are a handful of players selling retargeting services using a patchwork of smaller TV makers. These ad tech platforms are offering measurement as a function of campaigns, mostly through agencies. By multiple accounts, iSpot.tv is the leading pure-play ad measurement company in the Smart TV business. The company sells attention and conversion analytics for TV advertising directly to hundreds of brands and most TV networks. It continues to build out its attribution capabilities, and can now give a deterministic view of audience behaviors using IP-matching from the Inscape footprint which it correlates to activity on other devices in the same home.

Finally, I would be remiss to leave out this ironic quote from Samsung VP Michelle Froah in WSJ’s CMO Today, (even if out of context since she is discussing consumers rather than TV data):

“Sometimes I think we wouldn’t know a true insight unless a herd of elephants probably stampeded us” said Samsung VP of Marketing Excellence Michelle Froah, speaking on a panel of marketers at Advertising Week on Wednesday, discussing the industry’s “elephant[s] in the room.”

The CMO Today excerpt continued:

Ms. Froah said the role the industry really needs to find true insights from is a “chief marketing scientist.” She added that Samsung itself rebranded its “data and analytics” department to “performance marketing” to reflect the way it wants to dig deeper to find insights. What kind of insights? After a tough year (remember those exploding phones?), Samsung put in a big effort to connect with consumers on a deeper level. The company found out that its biggest brand loyalists were actually willing to accept some of Samsung’s setbacks so long as their loyalty was recognized. That kicked off a series of engagement programs, inviting consumers to join live streams with its executives and to go to its Unpacked event