Data is Our Weapon

By Jay Fulcher on May 09 2013 at 9:00 AM

An Open Letter to Digital Video Publishers and Advertisers Everywhere 


To: David Cohen/Universal McCann, Adam Shlachter and John McCarus/Digitas, Amanda Richman/Starcom, Walt Cheruk/Carat, Rob Norman/GroupM, John Nitti/Zenith, Ben Winkler/OMD 

From: Jay Fulcher, CEO of Ooyala
Thank you for your letter. I was inspired to write back to say simply: we’re in.
For the past six years, we’ve built our business around leading-edge video analytics. Our customers will tell you the advantages of having real-time insights into viewer behavior across all devices. Data delivers better programming, more engaged audiences, and better viewer experiences. At the end of the day, we believe in data because data helps our customers make more money. 
I want you to know that you have our support. We’re fighting on the front lines of the media revolution, and data is our weapon.
It’s been widely reported that ad dollars are following audiences online, and people are watching video across a multitude of devices at a rapidly increasing rate.
It’s time to stop thinking about new vs. old media, or traditional vs. online. The goal is engaging audiences wherever they are. Video is video. 
We need to be smarter. 
The days of focus groups determining programming and panels informing placements are over. 
Ooyala uses data to make smart media smarter. We collect 2 billion analytics events every day, and use this data to help viewers discover new content that they love to watch. Our dynamic recommendations have increased views up to 47%.
When we use data intelligently, the consumer experience only gets better. 
I’ll offer a simple example. Today, we’re helping video publishers and broadcasters map the relationship between a particular ad strategy -- ad load, ad position, targeting -- and overall viewer engagement. 
What’s the impact of adding a second pre-roll to a 17-minute VOD show? In one case, it was under a 2 percent decrease in viewership for a corresponding triple-digit percentage increase in revenue. That's an example of the bridge metrics every publisher and advertiser should have at their fingertips. 
We’re moving beyond metrics like CTR and ad completion rates to offer an empirical understanding of engagement across both content and advertising. 
Let’s build a new age of transparency. We have the tools to shape something that benefits all of us.
If we do it right, ads won’t be intrusive; they’ll be relevant. Even today we know that online video pre-rolls are regarded nearly twice as positively as those viewed on the living room TV set. Content and ads living in harmony will only make for better viewing experiences on all screens. 
Data is only valuable when you know what to do with it. 
Let’s turn data into insights. 
Knowing how people are watching, sharing, and discussing content is critical. But we should also be asking where they’re watching, for how long, and what programs they will want to watch next.  
Insights like these only make for better programming and more engaging media experiences. 
Once we leverage data to create these better experiences, the dollars will follow -- for publishers, advertisers and their partners.
Thank you for your letter. The time to take bold action and change television is now.
The world is watching...and we’re in.
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