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.
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
"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
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.