MCN and Quantium strike data deal

Paul McIntyre
By Paul McIntyre | 21 October 2014

Australia’s biggest data analytics firm, Quantium, has made its move on the media sector, striking a deal with Foxtel’s MCN to match actual consumer shopping behaviour with the viewing preferences of the 110,000 pay TV homes which make up the Multiview panel.

It’s a bold move by MCN for broadcast to reel in the lead that online has forged in audience targetting smarts.

The Quantium deal will let advertisers match their own customer data sets to Foxtel homes and their programming and content preferences – another important driver for the migration of advertisers to online.

“When you have to analyse data at significant scale it requires certain skill-sets we don’t have, to be frank,” MCN CEO Anthony Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t want to start an analytics company with hundreds of actuaries and data scientists to analyse our data so we partnered with Quantium.”

Part of the big attraction of Quantium is its Blueprint database, which tracks actual spending patterns for all retail and service sectors from millions of NAB credit and debit card customers, among other sources. The “de-identified” data can then be fused with MCN’s Multiview panel on household types and viewing patterns in Pay TV, to match advertising to TV programs those buyer segments are watching.

“This is a big shift,” Fitzgerald said. “Whether some media companies are fearful of this change or not, we chose to take a long-term view five years ago to embrace the notion of data and analytics, because the market would continue on its quest for greater accountability, measurability and targeting. OzTAM is a perfectly good system, but this allows us to target really effectively instead of using blunt demographics.”

The new deal will also allow ads to be served to Foxtel’s desktop, tablet and smartphone users.

Quantium director Tony Davis said it was the first major deal the firm had struck with a media company for audience measurement and analysis, but the difference with the new MCN tie-up was that it fused viewing habits with “observed” spending behaviour instead of “reported” behaviour. That is, actual consumer purchases rather than what people say they have bought, which is typically less robust. “This is a stepchange,” Davis said.

“We have been talking about fragmentation of audiences for an awfully long time, but there hasn’t been the capacity or the motivation to address that and sell ads on the basis of smaller, more qualified audiences. We’ve got the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project and yet we still say we can’t work out which advertising works. This approach with Multiview is certainly the way it is going in digital and, increasingly, that’s the way it will go in what we call broadcast.”

Fitzgerald said another “critical development” with Quantium’s expertise would allow advertisers to fuse their own customer databases with the Multiview panel.

“In Multiview they can identify high-value Foxtel homes with household income of $250K plus, those that currently drive a luxury car and are likely to be in the market to turn over or upgrade their car in the next 12 months,” Fitzgerald said. “We spend an inordinate amount

of time understanding consumer behaviour – how they consume media – and then we’ve had to target people in a 25-to-54-year-old buy. Today buying media in any media has to be about better business outcomes and, to do that, you have to target and engage with people, not just an audience.” 

This article first appeared in 16 October print edition.

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