Juenger: Watching What Viewers Actually Watch
TiVo audience research VP knows it's the measurement that counts
By David Goetzl -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/30/2008 7:00:00 PM
Surveying the career of Todd Juenger, a delicious irony emerges. The 41-year-old began by managing massive budgets for the country's largest advertiser. Now, he oversees research initiatives into just how much DVRs could render the $60 billion TV ad market futile.
Juenger, VP of audience research and measurement at TiVo, started in the peerless training ground for many media executives: brand management at Procter & Gamble. Just out of college in June 1991, he crunched the numbers on the enormous promotional spending for the flagship Tide brand.
“I had to basically force myself not to pay attention to the zeroes behind all the numbers in my spreadsheets, because it was hard to comprehend the magnitude of the dollars,” he says.
After Tide, he stayed in detergent and moved to Gain. And Juenger says he immersed himself in P&G's focus on metrics looking to track the results of its marketing outlays.
Now at TiVo, Juenger stands at the vortex of the industry's rush to gain insight into how consumers use their ad-skipping DVRs. TiVo, of course, is best known for its iconic devices. Now it's seeking new revenue streams, by selling the data those TiVos collect. Juenger has spearheaded the launch of two systems that measure ad effectiveness via set-top boxes.
“He's really able to focus on developing and driving a new business, particularly one which brings notions of data and marketing to the forefront for clients to figure out how to navigate a whole new world,” says TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.
Through its StopWatch service, TiVo is the only provider of second-by-second ratings for DVR viewing. Advertisers can use the service to evaluate ad-skipping behavior for specific shows and even particular ads themselves. For networks, the data offer the opportunity to help devise ways to retain ad-averse viewers. Earlier this month, Juenger upgraded the database to 100,000 homes, giving advertisers a larger sample from which to draw conclusions.
“It's a crucial component to understanding the future of television,” says Tracey Scheppach, senior VP at agency Starcom, who has served as an informal adviser to Juenger. “It's showing us a way other than the status quo with Nielsen.” The larger sample also allows TiVo to provide performance data for smaller networks that Nielsen doesn't measure.
Juenger's services excite researchers. He's assembled a group of clients that include charter participant Starcom; CBS and NBC; and holding companies Interpublic and Omnicom.
As Juenger looks to continue to develop his systems, his background as a P&G marketer is always with him. He says it makes him constantly aware that research is not an experiment but exists to move product. A principal aim is launching a service to track how individuals' viewership patterns lead to actual sales, long considered a marketer's Holy Grail. “It's about understanding DVR consumers in general and what that means for different brands,” he says.
Besides P&G, there have been other powerful influences in Juenger's career, but maybe none more so than TiVo's Rogers. “He is my mentor,” Juenger says.
They first crossed paths in 1999 at Primedia—the magazine company whose titles included New York and Seventeen. Juenger was running the strategy group when Rogers, the president of NBC Cable, joined as CEO. For Rogers and Juenger, the main goal was to try to accelerate the company's Internet expansion, and a key move they made was the acquisition of About.com.
In 2003, Rogers left Primedia and Juenger followed him early the next year to Cerberus Capital. Rogers advised the private-equity group on potential ventures in the media space, and Juenger helped analyze the would-be value.
In 2005, Rogers became CEO at TiVo and took Juenger with him as head of strategy. At first, Juenger took on a marketing focus, essentially conducting consumer research looking to simply sell more TiVo units.
Then in early 2006, Juenger and Rogers began looking at the potential value in monetizing the wealth of data TiVo had been collecting about its users' viewing habits. The opportunity was ripe, and the two discussed who should lead the initiative. “Tom pointed back at me and said, 'I think you're the guy,'” Juenger says.
Before Juenger linked with Rogers, he attended Harvard Business School after P&G and then joined McKinsey, where he spent two years advising a leading group of cable networks. A principal project was evaluating how much on-air inventory should be used to promote other programming and when to simply take the cash up-front.
The forthright Juenger is a product of the heartland, growing up in St. Louis and attending the University of Cincinnati. He studied industrial management, quantitative analysis and information systems as an undergrad—which provided both an engineering and business background.
“Some people's first impressions of him are that he's this sort of unassuming kind of folksy Midwestern, self-deprecating guy,” says Michael Harwayne, a former business school classmate and colleague and now an executive director in strategy at Time Inc. “After a few interactions, people realize he's super-smart.”
While at Cincinnati, Juenger played in the marching band (trombone) and was the founder of the Graceland Basement Band (bass guitar), a rock group (performances accessible on YouTube). After business school, he followed the Grateful Dead, catching 18 shows, including the last one Jerry Garcia performed.
His love of music led him to join McKinsey after Harvard with the promise that he'd get substantial experience in the media and entertainment practice. He says now, “You've got to pick a career in some field. Why not pick one in something you think is fun?”
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