...John Mandel, who spent his career as a media buyer before joining forces with Nielsen for a time, is now the CEO of PrecisionDemand, an analytics company that breaks down several different data sets into recommendations on which network to buy ad space, how much of it to buy and for which time slot—all with the goal of making, as Abraham put it, the cash registers ring.
The process, for those unfamiliar with the purchase of TV advertising, goes something like this: Advertisers buy airtime from networks in the form of gross ratings points (GRPs) measured by Nielsen, which break down viewership by age, sex and other broad segments. "Here's X-million dollars," you tell the network. "Run my ad on your new show every week at 7 p.m. until it’s been seen by at least 4 percent of women 18-49 watching TV at that hour, since that’s the consumer set market researchers tell me buys my product."
As with other companies (including TRA, Simulmedia and Invidi), PrecisionDemand gives advertisers a data set to use as an overlay, telling them which of those GRPs is more valuable to the client's specific needs—because there are enormous differences.
Women watching Bravo, for example, have far more money than women watching soap operas, though they fit into the same Nielsen demographic. If a retailer doesn't have stores on the West Coast but half of the network’s viewers are in Los Angeles, then clearly half the advertiser’s money is wasted. Without analysis to tell them which networks, programs and time slots are most likely to reach and appeal to a client, then marketers are simply buying points for "women 18-49," measured with a yardstick Mandel maintains is only "40 to 60 percent effective."Industry grousing about Nielsen ratings has gotten louder in recent years as TV viewership has become fragmented and smaller demographic measurements have become more valuable...