How Transparency Enhances Media Strategy Effectiveness with IRIS.TV

Sightly & IRIS.TV partner to shape CTV advertising’s future with transparency.

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Welcome to Episode 10 of the Breaking Through the Mayhem podcast, where we explore marketing and advertising in a time of constantly shifting risk and opportunity.

Brought to you by Sightly, our goal is to share the insights of industry leaders from brands, agencies, publishers, and partners as they discuss the challenges and possibilities emerging from the ever-shifting media landscape, such as real-time marketing, brand safety and purpose, influencers, cancel culture, data privacy, technology and more.

Today's guest is Nancy Neumann Grey.

Nancy, the Vice President of Data Partnerships at IRIS.TV, possesses a wealth of experience spanning two decades in the digital realm. With her roots tracing back to VISA, where she spearheaded the proliferation and adoption of diverse data-driven solutions, Nancy is well-versed in empowering advertisers to finely target, measure, and comprehend their customer base.

A veteran at IRIS.TV for over three years, Nancy’s journey began in June of 2021. IRIS.TV stands as the premier data platform meticulously crafted for the world of video. Their mission revolves around equipping publishers, brands, agencies, and technology providers with an all-encompassing comprehension of each video, and streaming video analytics. The ultimate goal: creating better consumer experiences while fostering unparalleled business outcomes.

In this episode, Nancy and Annalise dive deep into the recent integration of Sightly’s revolutionary, patented Brand Mentality® and IRIS.TV. The Sightly platform will categorize the IRIStv inventory based on content at the show level from over 60 publishers and counting. They also cover

Nancy Neumann Grey’s and IRIS.TV’s journey
The work of IRIS.TV in the market
In and outs of the Sightly’s Brand Mentality and IRIS.TV partnership

HostAnnalise Curvelo

GuestNancy Neumann Grey


The Breaking Through the Mayhem podcast - Episode 10

Host:  Annalise Curvelo, VP of Business Development & Partnerships

Guest:  Nancy Neumann Gray, VP of Data Partnerships at IRIS.TV

Recorded on August 23rd, 2023

Annalise Curvelo

Welcome to Sightly’s Breaking Through the Mayhem podcast. I'm your host, Annalise Curvelo and I'm excited to be back hosting the podcast today. As a reminder, Sightly’s patented and brand mentality technology allows brands to swiftly integrate their outcomes, opinions and values into an agile marketplace by aligning competently with granular and nuanced contextual targeting opportunities. 


Today, we're excited to be discussing our new partnership with IRIS.TV, the leading continent data platform that structures, connects and activates the world video level data to create better viewing experiences and advertising outcomes all built off of their content identifier, the IRIS ID. We're so excited to discuss the partnership today with Nancy Neumann Gray, VP of Data Partnerships at IRIS TV. Nancy, thanks so much for coming to the show.


Nancy Neumann

Thank you so much for having me. I'm looking forward to the conversation.


Annalise Curvelo

Awesome. So to start us off, can you let our listeners know a little bit just about yourself and walk us through your career and how you got to IRIS.TV?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, absolutely. So I've been in digital marketing for my entire career, all the way from, you know, the Internet being new and in 1999, not a whole lot happening. So it's always been super exciting to me. So many opportunities for innovation and I've been on multiple different types of teams, whether I was selling media, buying media at an ad network.


I would say my career really took a turn about 15 years ago where data has really become like the underlying theme. I never thought I would say the word taxonomy as many times as I do, but I started at a company called eXelate, where I was employee number six, and it was one of the first audience platforms.


So data has been a constant and it's so important to everything that we're doing today. Coming from identity data and purchase based information with Visa, coming to IRIS was really an exciting time for me because it was bringing together data which has been, as I said, the underlying theme of my career.


CTV, which has been such a growing medium in the last few years, and with everything happening with privacy and the cookies going away, to me it was kind of the trifecta of three things that were happening and where my experience fit in. So super excited to be here. I've been here for about two and a half years and still, you know, still working on data, but more on the contextual side and in CTV.


Annalise Curvelo

Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I know from working with you over the past few months, you are definitely a pro now at all things taxonomy. So we've been working to figure out what the Sightly and IRIS.TV taxonomy will look like and it’s been so awesome to have your expertise throughout that whole process. So now knowing a little bit more about your personal journey, thank you for sharing all of that.


I'm curious what IRIS.TV’s journey has been. How have they been breaking through the mayhem overall in the CTV space?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, absolutely. So IRIS.TV was founded in 2013 and we started as a video recommendation engine for publishers. The goal was to help them increase their video ad inventory in both their owned and operated and app. So in order to support that, we built this data platform that could really ingest and normalize publishers' video data no matter where it came from.


And then about four years ago, we were able to kind of expand our data infrastructure to support additional use cases, which has now turned into a huge focus for us, which is allowing for, you know, ad targeting and measurement and CTV which is one of the new things that's happening that we're really excited to talk about today.


Annalise Curvelo

What's the main mission or problem in the industry that IRIS.TV is solving?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, so Iris TV is really helping with transparency in Connected TV. There's been a lot happening, as I'm sure you're very well aware, viewers are really moving away from linear TV and there's this transparency problem that people can't really buy and sell the way that they were used to with linear. There was a study recently done by Nielsen in July that said that streaming has reached nearly 39% of total TV usage in the U.S. and linear TV viewership has actually declined to an all time low of under 50%.


So we're at this culmination of viewer behaviors are changing and as a, you know, industry, we have to adapt to this change and really kind of help marketers be able to reach their target consumers, their target, you know, KPIs in different ways, right? So there are a lot of different things that are going into play.


So there's business reasons, there's technological reasons, there's regulatory rules happening. And all of this is really preventing a lot of the data sharing, you know, that can happen in CTV, so things like BPA, there's a lack of standardization of information that's available in the bitstream today and the depth and breadth of the data. You know, there's information in the bitstream, but some of it is self-declared.


There's, you know, fat fingers. People can mistype things and there's not really a way to execute on some of that bitstream data. So we're really here to kind of help with that. When you think about, you know, buying linear TV, people would buy on GRP’s or they want to buy primetime shows and primetime is CTV. It's when the user wants to watch it, so, you know, those things aren't kind of carrying over. 


So through our platform and our content identifier, the IRIS ID, we're unlocking this wealth of data that's associated with video content and making it accessible to buyers and sellers in the supply chain, which is really helping advertisers to target in the right moments and mindset that matter most to those brands.


Annalise Curvelo

I love that. I absolutely love what you said. You know, primetime is CTV. I think that's so true and so important to kind of think about as the space grows, you know, how to explain that to clients and people who are still kind of new into the CTV industry in general.


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, totally different, totally different buying method. And, you know, like think about your own viewers, you know, your own viewership. Like you can watch something at midnight, you go watch something at six in the morning. You know, even if it's, you know, a drama or whatever it might be, so being aligned to that content, no matter what time it plays, is super important.


Annalise Curvelo

Definitely. I truly believe you guys are changing the game for the CTV advertising space and we're so happy to be a part of it. And as you mentioned, it's an exciting time for CTV in general. It's growing dramatically. Those stats that you shared were really interesting. Can you share a little bit more about how IRIS.TV is increasing transparency in the CTV space, specifically through the data partnerships that you guys have?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, absolutely. So we’re really trying to help our partners understand what we say, like what's inside the video, by providing secure access to like video metadata, which could include things like video transcripts, closed captioning and things of that nature. And we are able to give this data to our data partners such as yourselves to really be able to look at what the content, context moments of that video are most important, right?


So each of our data partners have their own technology, their own taxonomies, and kind of can output their, you know, opinion, if you will, of that video based on kind of what your core offerings are. So like I you know, in talking to agencies, like I've heard agencies say like, oh, you know, we buy all of our CT and we you know, we buy on LG and LG is great.


They're an amazing partner. LG is a screen, though. It's not any one specific type of content, right? So you can have kids movies or you could have rated R content all running on one screen. What we're really helping is to get to the actual video level information so you understand the actual content that your ad is running, running adjacent to.


So like as an example, you might get genre information that would say, you know, this show is a comedy, but that comedy could be the Elf, which is like a family friendly movie, or it could be The Hangover, which is more of an adult, you know, rated R movie. So comedy does not give enough information for brands to feel comfortable with, you know, where they're running.


Nancy Neumann

So there's a lot happening to kind of help get inside the video. You know, as I mentioned, to really get more aligned to the context of video, the moments that matter in that specific video that advertisers are looking for and that really resonate better with, you know, with the consumers who are ultimately, you know, all of our customers.


Annalise Curvelo

That's awesome. Thank you. And I think that's a great segway into kind of getting into the weeds a little bit about what our partnership looks like. And there's so many parallels of like some of the things you're trying to solve for and things that we're trying to solve our overall with our Brand Mentality platform of just like giving the power back to the brands to be able to make those tough decisions and get really nuanced about different types of content.


So I'll give a brief overview. So in essence, by combining IRIS.TV's innovative data granularity that you guys have with our AI-fueled brand mentality, platform brands can now buy CTV through the lens of their unique perspective. So giving them more control and audience alignment power than ever before. What would you add to it?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah no, absolutely. And I think like, you know, a video can have so many different moments, so many different kind of, you know, themes, genres, you know, special kind of parts of a video that are super important. And being able to look through all of that with the access to this data that was never available before is extremely important.


Right? So you can almost think of the IRIS ID as the equivalent to like a page URL for display or for video. Right? In CTV, there is no page URL. So it's almost like the decoder, if you will, of the content that's behind the screen. You know, we work directly with publishers or content owners. We integrate into their content management system.


So think of us, IRIS, being in the studio when a video is actually created before people are even watching it. Our data partners are able to kind of see those videos, read about them, read the transcripts, and really build out a product that is aligned closely to, you know, what everybody's focused on, right? There can be very different outputs from the same video depending on what you're looking at.


Right? So if you look at like moments that matter or you're looking for brand safety or brand suitability, all of those things can be gleaned from that information that we give to our data partners and then our data partners, you know, classify it. They tell us, you know, their opinion of it. And then IRIS is ultimately piping through that output into various media platforms, whether it be ad servers, SSPs or DSPs, to allow for targeting to those specific moments or, you know, genres or content that our data partners have identified by using the video level data that we have given to them.


So like for example, with Sightly in your Brand Mentality platform, brands can really identify their unique values and preferences that are like so important to them based on, you know, all the taxonomy work that we that we worked on together to enable Sightly to align, you know, with the moments that matter for each specific brand, right?


So together, this is enabling brands to exercise control over their content placement, ensuring alignment and brand safety across CTV buys. So we're looking at things like activism. So the business is promoting inclusivity, which is, you know, one of your segments or environmental concerns. It's all these individual kind of ingredients, if you will. To my baking metaphor, as we've talked about, you can make any cake you want and you have all of the different ingredients per advertiser based on what they want to align their messaging next to.


Annalise Curvelo

Awesome. And I think a couple other examples that might help this, you know, help our listeners get this to come to life thinking about what our brands and clients will be able to do on their CTV buys as a result of this partnership. So one way to think about that is opening up new targeting opportunities like you're describing the moments that matter.


So, for example, just to get like really tangible in here, a life insurance brand wanting to surround big moments like weddings will now be able to decide those types of things by filling out their brand mentality profile which maps back to the taxonomy that Nancy you're describing. And then an inclusion list will be created based on all of those preferences, and you will be able to actually target the specific shows that are including those types of moments at the episode level.


So this is really unlocking an opportunity that we've never really seen before and we're really excited about it. Another way to think about it and another way brands will be able to leverage this kind of partnership is through increasing their scale. 


So previously, you know, we've dealt with people who knew that a certain show was a part of the overall publisher and they didn't feel comfortable running on that show, so they had to exclude the entire publisher from the buy just because, you know, one show or even one episode had more violence or sex or whatever it was that the brand was uncomfortable with. So now they're going to be able to, you know, account for those nuanced situations and increase their scale by not having to exclude the whole publisher from the buy, but be able to decide whether they want to be around those specific types of content or not.


So I think that is a huge element of this.


Nancy Neumann

It absolutely is. And I couldn't agree with you more because you're looking at each video in its own, you know, isolation. You're exactly right. You're able to kind of not get rid of a full publisher and only, you know, not target the ads that, you know, weren't brand safe or didn't hit whatever, you know, type of content or moments that that your advertisers were looking to reach.


So it's you know, it's great for the publishers. They'll get higher, you know, yield they're able to fill in more inventory and then the brands are really, you know, aligning with the content that is most important to them. So, yeah, I couldn't agree more.


Annalise Curvelo

Awesome. Yeah. And I think a big part of it, too, is what's brand safe for one brand might not be, you know, brand safe for another brand and that's where the also suitability and mentality perspective comes into play here. But I think that's what one of the things we are so excited about is being able to take, you know, the way that a lot of our teams are used to targeting on things like YouTube, for example, take that same lens of Brand Mentality and apply it to CTV, which has historically been this kind of closed off black box, if you will, for targeting capabilities.


So you already spoke a little bit about how the integration works, the building, the cake example, which is my favorite way to think about how this all comes to life. Is there anything else that you want to add?


Nancy Neumann

Yeah, I think overall, you know, the transparency is huge, right? It's super important. And, you know, I think that history repeats itself, right? So, you know, when you started with audience data and talked about, you know, the Wild, Wild West of data and you know, people didn't know it was coming from, how can I use it?


I think that we're in a similar place now where there is more and more data that's being made available and it's more and more important to use as much information as possible to get where you're trying to go. Right. So, you know, even if you think about like kids content, you have to be really careful about, you know, where you're advertising and, you know, GumGum did a study last year that showed that like 20% of ads on kids content were inappropriate, meaning they were looking at, you know, whether it was gambling or alcohol or casino and like, that's not good for anyone, right?


There's compliance laws. There's even, you know, like brand affinities and like brands do not, you know, have to be really careful about where they're placing their ads. So, you know, what we're doing is really helping to solve with a lot of, you know, a lot of different struggles that I think advertisers and marketers are trying to solve for today.


So it's a really exciting time. There's lots of excitement around it, you know, And I think education and just getting people up to speed of what is actually available and how all these pieces work together is super important. So we're really looking forward to working with, you know, with you and the team on that. And, you know, I think the validation in some of this, like we recently signed a partnership with GroupM who has actually adopted the IRIS ID as their secure way to kind of access this video level data for contextual brand suitability.


They'd been looking for a solution, and I think that kind of showcases the need for like this new content signal and transparency in CTV. So we're really excited about the year ahead.


Annalise Curvelo

Yeah, that one is definitely huge and I'm excited to just watch the impact of that wave overall and hopefully, you know, see this grow and grow. And I wanted to mention that the kids' content piece is crucial right now. We've been seeing a lot of buzz around that right now. So we have our own unique kids content classifier that we've baked into the taxonomy that brands will be able to leverage through this and be even more comfortable with their CTV buys by making sure that they're not running on kids content or if they are, that is, to your point, appropriate a context contextual alignment through their advertising. Awesome.


So thank you so much. We're so excited to be working with you guys and I can't wait to see where this partnership takes us. Before we go, let us know where our listeners can learn a little bit more about you, about IRIS.TV and any other details surrounding our partnership here.


Nancy Neumann

Absolutely, so IRIS.TV is our website. We have our blog there, which has tons of videos, white papers and information about kind of what we're doing in the latest updates. So that's the best spot to go. And there's been lots of exciting news. There's videos and things like that. So yeah, please come and check us out and feel free to reach out with any question.


Annalise Curvelo

Amazing. Thank you so much, Nancy.


Nancy Neumann

My pleasure. Thank you.

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