Entertainment Technology Summit
Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to traditional linear television these days, but that doesn’t mean that streamers don’t have to fight…
Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to traditional linear television these days, but that doesn’t mean that streamers don’t have to fight for viewers.
“They have this problem,” Wurl CEO Sean Doherty said at the Variety Entertainment and Technology Summit sponsored by Wurl. “How do [they] cost-effectively acquire and attain viewers?”
Wurl is a marketing and technology firm that works to help media companies make the most of the the money they spend on advertising. The company recently launched a service, dubbed Perform, that helps platforms place promotional spots for shows in front of viewers most likely to click “subscribe.”
“[Advertising] should all be measurable, and it should all be targetable,” he said. “When you have a lot of data about who your viewers are, it’s pretty easy with machine learning [and] artificial intelligence to figure out [which] people out there on the internet are likely to become viewers that would be passionate and loyal to the service. The product we’re announcing today, Perform, it’s all about two things. [First,] targeting promotional advertisements very specifically to the people that are likely be interested in that content and not just everyone. And second, to measure exactly the results of that.”
Doherty explained that even though this is new technology, Wurl developed it using classic methods.
“It’s pretty old-school, but we first listened to our customers,” he said. “As their streaming businesses matured, they uncovered these problems. Their marketing people realized, “How are we going to find and acquire new viewers? How are we going to retain them? How are we going to keep them from churning?” That was the beginnings of the idea. And we’re a very data centric company. We gather a lot of data, billions and billions of pieces of information on behalf of our customers. We’ve got a lot of data scientists and they started experimenting with the data that we were gathering.”
Beyond churn rate, Doherty also explained conversation rate, something that Wurl has focused on for a while. He said that often, advertising is measured with a “spray and pray technology” — companies spend money on advertising and notice how many customers they get, but have no idea how much of their business came as a direct result of their advertising. By contrast, Wurl is able to track when a person views and ad and whether they were “converted” into a viewer or subscriber of the advertised content.
“This is the internet, now. It’s streaming. It’s not broadcast TV; it’s a two-way network,” Doherty said. “There’s lots and lots of data that our company is responsible for providing to these customers about their streaming and their audience and their growth. So we figured we could use that same data to measure the results of promos that we put in front of people [and] very exactly measure the conversion. And then report that back to our customers to tell them how effective these promos are. [It’s] kind of remarkable on its own. You can really measure [the effectiveness of advertising] for the first time.”