'Anybody that says there’s programmatic TV is blowing smoke': Viacom's Julian Zilberbrand on programmatic content

TV Data Deep Dive with Alphonso event

Julian Zilberbrand, executive vice president of audience science from Viacom Media, dissected what programmatic content really means and how it is affecting the TV industry as a whole.

At a TV Data Deep Dive with Alphonso event, he explained that programmatic is a tool that allows you to operationalize certain functions of your trading, while allowing you to leverage data, but that it has not — and he believes — will not affect how TV operates.

“It’s a fake,” he said. “Anybody that says there’s programmatic TV is blowing smoke.”

As for programmatic, he does not think that the TV industry will move that way anytime soon because for broadcast networks, it’s not advantageous.

Zilberbrand also honed in on the history of the industry and how only a few years ago, marketers were just starting to call for audience measurements versus demographic buys.

“You are always looking for additional data sets and additional companies that will help give you some idea of what’s the best way to not only reach your audience but for our advertising side… how we do we reach our client’s audience most effectively?”

He added that now, advertisers are smarter about how they are identifying and quantifying an audience versus four to five years ago when it was a struggle convincing marketers how to identify what’s most important.

“Advertisers are much more interested these days in trying to find an audience versus a demo.”

Using his 11-year-old son as an example, he pointed out that he will probably never own cable in his lifetime, instead opting for streaming services or connected devices to consume content through. He noted that the change in consumption habits and the challenge of reaching him on the platforms and devices that he is already is on, is a challenge for the content companies themselves.

One of the challenges is creating content that resonates on multiple platforms instead of having to create individual campaigns.

“How do I take a segment and make that useful across multiple platforms so that I don’t have a different discussion with Turner than I have with Viacom, than I have with Fox.”

As a powerhouse in the industry, Google is working to get into the cable game and to open opportunities to deliver a skinny bundle of content offerings that consumers want.

“Google’s play is to get into the cable game and to open up opportunities to create their own skinny bundle,” he said. “It makes sense for Google, Hulu and Amazon to create skinny bundles to reach consumers.”

As far as the advancement of the industry as a whole, he said that audience and “having a conversation with your consumer” is critical to success in the marketplace.

“If you’re not innovating, then frankly to some degree, you’re moving backwards. And I don’t think anybody wants to move backwards. The opportunity to reach an audience and have a really great conversation with them isn’t relegated to just 30 seconds," he concluded.

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Haley Velasco

Haley Velasco is a writer based in Chicago, IL, who has a background in PR for a sports media company and has reported on a variety of topics, including sports, opinion, politics and celebrity news. Based in the Windy City, she covers industry happenings in the Midwest and throughout North America. She has been reporting for The Drum since May 2016.

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