Measuring the Bang for Branded Entertainment Bucks

iTVX, Rentrak offering marketers new insights into campaign effectiveness

Branded entertainment has
shifted from being a value-added
proposition—thrown in when marketers
buy commercials—to a key part of the
TV advertising business.

Now a research company is promising to
effectively calculate just how much value lies
in branded entertainment programming by
both measuring the size of its audience and
determining its impact on consumers.

Branded entertainment specialist iTVX has
added second-by-second viewership data
from Rentrak to its own metrics to create a
suite of measurement tools it is calling Return
on Branded Entertainment, or ROBE.

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The new data will give marketers a better
idea of how much bang for a buck they’re
getting from the packages of TV commercials,
billboards, vignettes, integrations and product
placements they’re buying from broadcast
and cable networks, according to Frank Zazza,
CEO of iTVX. And at a time when advertisers
are clamoring for exposure beyond traditional
30-second spots, the ROBE data should give
networks a new tool for selling branded entertainment

“As branded integration deals are increasingly
intertwined with traditional ad buys, advertisers
need clarity from broadcasters in terms of their
total media spend, and brands need to know
what the exact audience reach is with their TV
ads compared to the exact audience reach with
their branded content,” Zazza says.

Rentrak, which draws data from TV set-top
boxes in 9 million homes, has been making
inroads in the media measurement business
with its TV Essentials census-based TV ratings
measurement service.

“What iTVX is bringing to the party is a real
deep understanding of branded entertainment,”
says Bruce Goerlich, chief research officer at
Rentrak. “What we’re able to give them is the
understanding of who’s really seeing it because,
for the first time, we can lay second-by-second
information against those exposures for the various
forms of branded entertainment.

“You really can’t do that with a small sample,”
Goerlich adds. Because vignettes and other
forms of branded entertainment are handled in
different ways within the show, you need to look
at them second-by-second. And Rentrak covers
230 networks, from the biggest to the smallest.”

The new metric could become a basis for
buying and selling branded entertainment as
well as evaluating it. “We definitely think that
this can become a currency that’s used in the
marketplace,” Goerlich says. “Our goal is to allow
for the television marketplace to use multiple
currencies.” Auto companies, for example,
can use Rentrak data to target car buyers rather
than the entire demo of adults 18 to 49.

iTVX’s new ROBE suite comprises three components
that can be used to evaluate branded entertainment
campaigns in both the general market
and the Hispanic market: ROBE Analytics
delivers audience data and indexes that can be
used for planning and buying; ROBE Insights—
which leverages iTVX’s Q-Ratio to measure a
program’s influence on the viewer in terms of
recall, brand shift or purchase intent—guides
the placement of integrations and commercials
in programming and provides analysis of how
to improve branded entertainment campaigns;
and ROBE Research delivers forensic insights
concerning the effectiveness and engagement of
a branded entertainment campaign.

Zazza says branded engagement is the next
level beyond branded entertainment, showing
how it “affected the minds, hearts and behavior
of the viewer….The advertiser today
doesn’t just want to know what did I get for
my exposure. They want to see how it moved
the needle. And that’s branded engagement.”

Rentrak’s TV Essentials second-by-second audience
data is allowing iTVX to dissect branded
entertainment in ways it couldn’t before and attain
insights that had not been available. iTVX
is working with several major agencies to standardize
measurement of branded entertainment.
The company is also looking to create metrics to
measure the effectiveness of entire campaigns.

“We’re just at the tip of the iceberg on this,”
Zazza says.

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