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This Week in TV News: Ryan Reynolds’ Ad Agency and the Cost of Streaming

This week we’re talking about more new Super Bowl ads, Ryan Reynolds and sports fans’ viewership habits.

More Super Bowl ad highlights. Super Bowl ads are already upon us, and this year’s spots are proving to funny, emotionally stirring, bizarre and more. A Mountain Dew spot features Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross recreating The Shining’s “Here’s Johnny” scene. Snickers’ spot is a parody of Coca-Cola’s 1971 Super Bowl ad, “Hilltop.” Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are starring in an Amazon Alexa ad, going back – far back – before the technology existed, making stops in Victorian England and the Old West. See a complete list of Super Bowl ads via Ad Age.

How much are you spending on streaming? MarketWatch has a calculator to help provide the costs of signing up for streaming services in the long run, plus how much you would spend on cable, should you cut the cord or decide to keep your subscription and get streaming services on top. You can select each of your streaming service subscriptions down to the tier, then see that total cost compared to if you, say, invested the money in the stock market. MarketWatch 

Ryan Reynolds has an ad agency. Reynolds and ex-McCann creative George Dewey founded Maximum Effort Productions, a “thoroughly modern creative partnership, where ideas are largely exchanged and developed over text message.” He owns the agency’s biggest clients, Mint Mobile and Aviation Gin. The latter scored a lot of positive attention for its quickly produced ad in response to Peleton’s recent controversial holiday ad. (The Drum)

Sports fans are homebodies. You might assume people want the live, in-the-stadium experience of a sporting event instead of watching a game at home. Nothing compares to the energy and buzz of a big venue on game day, right? Research from the VAB and research company Dynata says otherwise – in fact, nearly three quarters of sports fans prefer to watch sports at home, with 19% preferring a stadium or arena. The study also found sports fans are 24% more likely to visit a site for something they saw in a TV ad versus one seen at a stadium or an arena. (MediaPost)

Read the most recent TV news

How Does a Theatrical Run Impact a Movie’s VOD Debut?

Every studio head and film marketer wishes they had a crystal ball. Without one, who can predict why a low-budget action-adventure with a little-known cast performs like a blockbuster on VOD or how a star-studded rom-com that blew away the box-office competition on its opening weekend disappears with as little trace as a small bag of concession-stand popcorn.

While no one can rely on crystal balls (except maybe in the movies), there is a data-driven way to make informed decisions about an on-demand campaign: box office delta.

Simply put, box office delta is the difference, expressed as a percentage, between a film’s opening box office take versus its total box office. And no matter what the genre—costume drama, comedy, horror, or science fiction—having that figure can be revelatory. Films with higher box office deltas tend to exceed their video on demand (VOD) rental revenue goals, and the reverse is true as well: a lower box office delta often means a missed video on demand rental revenue goal that will need to be adjusted.

We analyzed more than 50 VOD rental campaigns from 2018 and found that the average box office delta was 363% (the result of an average domestic opening weekend being slightly over $19 million, while average domestic total box office worked out to slightly under $70 million).

There are, of course, outliers, and those prove especially instructive for Cadent’s purposes. For example, a dark superhero flick pulls in more than $80 million in its opening weekend and more than $200 million in its box office total, by no means a failure for a theatrical performance, but there’s a compelling story there for its VOD performance. The delta for this particular film was less than half the average, telling us that it might be lacking momentum entering the VOD landscape. Whereas an action-adventure remake with an opening weekend gross of a respectable $36.2 million racked up a jaw-dropping total box office of $404.5 million, meaning its box office delta was more than three times the average. It’s reasonable to conclude that there’s significant organic interest in the film as it leaves its theatrical run and enters into the VOD landscape.

Box office hits or failures don’t necessarily make hits or failures in the VOD space; what’s important is whether the title has audience interest and whether that interest is building as the film enters the VOD rental window.

Campaigns with high box office deltas exceeded their revenue goal by an average of 18%, while those with lower deltas missed their goals by an average of 11%. Of the 43 campaigns with under-average delta, almost half missed their revenue goal, while of the nine with over-average delta just a single film missed its goal.  With box office delta as a planning variable, this could be anticipated and planned for.

Box office delta can be an enormous help in setting realistic VOD revenue goals during the planning stages by serving as a benchmark. In other words, by adjusting opening box office numbers based on box office delta early on, we can much more accurately foresee VOD revenue.

Let’s take the example “Shape of Water.” It opened up with $3 million (and the chosen comparisons average just slightly over that). Later, however, thanks in large part to positive press and a good showing during awards season, the movie caught some buzz, and its box office delta ended up at 2028%. The takeaway is that the movie still had an active audience despite it no longer being in theaters, Potentially, it could punch above its weight because of overwhelming interest it had coming into the rental window.

Basing a campaign on that modest opening weekend would represent a missed opportunity. Mathematically, the huge box office delta suggests that the film has performed more like one with a $13 million opening (versus the $3 million it had), and that’s the figure that should be considered when setting VOD goals.

In an opposite scenario, a movie with a lot of advance buzz might have an epic opening weekend as fans flock to be in the vanguard; box office delta could then end up being low, because everyone who wanted to see it did so right at the start and the film didn’t build lifetime momentum. Thus, a low box office delta. That state of affairs will naturally affect the VOD outcome, and a marketer who has taken box office delta into consideration might just have averted an expensive debacle.

No two movies are exactly alike, and, admittedly, no one campaign strategy is going to fit every film, but box office delta provides a powerful tool that allows marketers to consider both short-term performance and the long tail while planning for on-demand.  When combined with 20+ other variables, we have a pretty solid expectation for how a film will perform in the VOD rental window.  It’s not quite a crystal ball, but almost.

Get in touch with us for more information.

This Week in TV News: Megxit and Mr. Peanut

This week we’re talking about Megan and Harry’s exit from the British royal family; Mr. Peanut unexpectedly passed away; and some Super Bowl ads embrace diversity.

Harry and Meghan’s brand. What will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex focus on post-Megxit? It’s all up in the air. Adweek focuses on the couple’s brand presence and potential for future deals. Read more in Adweek. In other news, HBO Max greenlit an animated satire on the British royal family, with Orlando Bloom among the voice actors involved in the project. 

RIP Mr. Peanut. The beloved snack mascot was killed with a car crash and an explosion, and his funeral will air in a spot during the Super Bowl. Brands mourned the Kraft-Heinz brand character on Twitter. Oreo tweeted, “Help us give a 21 dunk salute to our nutty and sweet friend #RIPeanut.” Mr. Clean tweeted, “Always classy, always crunchy, always cleaned up nicely. We’ll miss him! #RIPeanut.” See more brand engagement with the news via Ad Age.

Representation in the Super Bowl. Nearly half (39.5 million or 46%) of Super Bowl viewers last year were women. With that in mind, Ad Age writes that some brands are looking to represent more diversity in their Super Bowl ads. For example, Olay’s ad, “Make Space for Women,” will feature Lilly Singh, Busy Philipps, Taraji P. Henson, Katie Couric and retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott. In terms of LGBTQ representation, Lil Nas X will be featured in Doritos’ commercial, and “Queer Eye’s” Jonathan Van Ness will star in a Pop-Tarts spot.

Read the most recent TV news

This Week in TV News: Academy Awards and Presidential Campaign Ad Spend

Academy Award nominations are out. A slew of Super Bowl ads are getting buzz ahead of the Feb. 2 game. 

Oscar nominations are up. The nominees for this year’s Academy Awards show were published this week, with some saying the snubbery was off the charts. Adam Sandler’s performance in “Uncut Gems,” Jennifer Lopez’s performance in “Hustlers,” and Greta Gerwig’s direction of “Little Women” were all buzzed about prior to the nomination announcement, but they didn’t make the cut. Read Esquire’s wrap-up of who was overlooked

Super Bowl ad mania begins. A new Planters spot from VaynerMedia features “Veep” star Matt Walsh alongside with the brand’s character (spokesnut?) Mr. Peanut. Hyundai spots feature Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Rachel Dratch and David Ortiz. There’s a Bud Light Seltzer commercial, and Jonathan Van Ness is starring in Pop-Tarts’ first Super Bowl spot ever. Read The Drum’s roundup of returning Super Bowl advertisers and who’s new to the game this year. 

Marketing trends driving innovation this year. From voice technology and 5G to experiential marketing, find out what the brightest marketers think will be the most important trends in 2020. (Adweek)

Presidential campaign ad spend heats up. Led by Michael Bloomberg, who has spent $217 million or about 75% of what the other candidates have spent combined, ad spending is accelerating like never before. Bloomberg is No. 9 on Forbes’ list of the world’s top ten richest people. Other candidates’ spend totals $143 million for Steyer, $50 million for Trump, $26 million for Sanders, $24 million for Buttigieg, $20 million for Warren and $12 million for Biden. Other candidates spend totals $33 million. (WSJ)

Read the most recent TV news

Cadent Appoints TV Ad Tech Vet Les Carter as Chief Technology Officer

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2020 — Cadent, the advanced TV platform company, today named Les Carter as its new Chief Technology Officer. In his role as Chief Technology Officer, Carter will oversee all engineering and lead the development of Cadent’s data-driven advertising solutions across cable, broadcast, addressable set-top video, as well as the integration of the recently acquired 4INFO over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) video buying solutions into Cadent’s platform.

Les Carter, Chief Technology Officer, Cadent

An experienced executive in leading the development of carrier-grade applications and scalable high-frequency transaction architectures, Carter brings expertise in next-generation, cross-channel TV, and he holds four patents in advanced TV technology. 

Most recently, Carter was Vice President of Advertising Engineering at Hulu, where he led technology development for the over-the-top streaming company’s advertising solutions.  Before Hulu, Carter served as Chief Architect for Cadent, where he led technology strategy, design and implementation for advanced advertising solutions deployed across global MVPDs and their programming partners. Carter began his tenure at Cadent through BlackArrow, acquired by Cadent in 2015, where he built industry-first technologies leading to multiple patents, including Cadent’s addressable linear TV solution.

Prior to BlackArrow, Carter held software engineering and architecture roles at companies in the UK and U.S., including TNT UK, Chordiant, acquired by Pega; Siperian, acquired by Informatica; and On Command, acquired by Lodgenet. 

“Les has unmatched experience building traditional and next-generation TV ad technology, and he has the skills necessary to enable Cadent to continue to innovate in this dynamic, rapidly changing market,” said Nick Troiano, CEO of Cadent. “Under his leadership, Cadent will continue building the technology platform the TV ecosystem requires.” 

“After working with Cadent as a partner in the TV ecosystem, I saw firsthand the unique opportunity that a scaled independent like Cadent has to drive the adoption of advanced TV advertising,” Carter said. “I’m thrilled to rejoin Cadent at this exciting moment in its evolution, and I’m looking forward to building across our cable, broadcast, addressable and OTT properties to enable true cross-channel campaign orchestration for the TV ecosystem.”

See the press release.

This Week in TV News: Jeopardy! and CES Trends

This week we’re talking about what makes Jeopardy! a show you should tune into in 2020, the latest innovations in TV technology and the beginning of awards season.

Award season kicks off with The Golden Globes. The show drew a little over 18 million viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49, according to Live+same day data from Nielsen. Last year’s show, hosted by Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, had 2% more total viewers and a 5.2 rating among adults 18-49 in Live+Same Day. (Deadline)

Why Jeopardy! is great. E! writer Billy Nilles praises the show, now in its 36th season, for exhibiting its unique characters, serialized storylines and “revolutionary and flashy game play.” Most recently, host Alex Trebek decided to share his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, inspiring viewers with his dedication not to miss a show. Nilles writes, “The last year has taken a game that was once written off as robotic and boring and revealed it to be perhaps the most human thing unfolding on the small screen on any given night. And because of it, we simply can’t look away.” (E!)

CES trends. This year, CES is bringing us a mobile temporary tattoo printer, an emotional support robot that nods when you speak to it and Samsung’s Ballie, the closest thing you can buy to Star Wars’ beloved robot sidekick BB-8. There’s also some TV news. Available on select TVs from Vizio, Panasonic, Samsung and LG, there will be a “filmmaker mode” setting that disables post-processing like motion-smoothing or automatic color boosting so people see content as filmmakers intended them to. (Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan were among supporters.) Samsung premieried a TV called Sero that toggles between horizontal and vertical orientations, and LG is releasing 8K TVs this year. (Washington Post)

The Oscars this year won’t be hosted by anybody (again). Just like last year, this year’s Academy Awards won’t have a host. Last year, Kevin Hart was slated to take the role of central entertainer (who also is somewhat responsible for keeping the show on schedule), but after he dropped out in light of a controversy, the show had a rise in ratings, up 12% to nearly 30 million viewers. (CNN)

Read the most recent TV news

This Week in TV News: The Witcher and a New Spot from TurboTax

This week we’re talking about Netflix’s Witcher show, Instagram growth and rising NFL ratings.

TurboTax ad campaign. It’s a new year and that means it’s time to starting anticipating spring, warmer weather and… taxes. TurboTax is on it with a new campaign from Wieden + Kennedy. One spot, “All People Are Tax People,” demonstrates the crazy things people are capable of – including riding a mechanical bull, bodybuilding, splitting checks and removing tattoos – to prove successfully doing your taxes is achievable. A spot from the campaign will air during the Super Bowl. (Adweek)

NFL ratings on the rise. The NFL’s regular-season games averaged nearly 17 million viewers, up 5% from 2018. The highest viewer count for the past 10 years was the 2015 season, when the NFL regular season averaged almost 19 million viewers. (Hollywood Reporter)

The Witcher show gives The Witcher game a boost. Netflix shared a list of its most popular titles of 2019. The Witcher, a show based on a series of books by the same name, was No. 6 out of the top 10 shows and movies. “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” a video game also based on the book, has enjoyed a boost in popularity from the show, with 94,000 people playing the game on Steam, 93% more players than the previous month, according to Kotaku. The game came out four years ago. (The Verge)

Instagram will grow at 4.5% in 2020. Last year’s growth rate was 6.7%. According to eMarketer, the reason for the growth slow-down could be that older age groups aren’t joining as fast as expected. Younger demo growth for the visual-heavy app faces competition from TikTok and Snapchat. (eMarketer)

Read the most recent TV news.

Why 4INFO Is a Great Match for Cadent

Today Cadent announced our acquisition of 4INFO, an industry pioneer in cross-device audience data and media activation. 

This marks a significant leap forward for advertisers activating orchestrated cross-platform campaigns across premium long-form video – 4INFO’s technology combined with Cadent’s linear and addressable buy-side and sell-side technology will allow advertisers to match their data to actual U.S. TV viewing households, and find and reach audiences across channels faster and more accurately. 

Cadent began working with 4INFO in late 2018 when Cadent began building its proprietary TV graph to enable activation and measurement across, traditional cable, broadcast, linear addressable and OTT. 

Because Cadent sits at the nexus of traditional and advanced TV, we face unique challenges in terms of harmonizing data sets spanning fundamentally different levels of granularity, e.g. person and household viewership audiences and viewership, impressions and spots delivery, etc. As we began integrating our core data sources with the 4INFO graph, we began to see firsthand how well it performed as a general matching fabric across our core data assets.  

In addition to scale, the 4INFO technology blew us away in an area that was not originally at the top of our evaluation criteria: speed. The 4INFO team put in extra development cycles to build their platform to be self-service and scalable on day one. Audience segments are onboarded and matched to the TV universe in minutes, which allows Cadent’s technology to develop bespoke audience-based plans in a fraction of the time it took previously.

We’re also excited to leverage 4INFO’s real-time activation in our buy-side platform. Through a single console, buyers will be able to plan and execute traditional TV, addressable linear and OTT all through a single console, with direct pipes to inventory, including inventory enabled by Cadent’s sell-side technology. And most importantly, the platform will orchestrate activation across platforms rather than simply plan each individually, i.e real-time channel adjustments for maximizing reach, etc. This is only possible through Cadent’s execution technologies having the full context of executed and scheduled delivery across platforms. More announcements to come on Cadent’s media orchestration as that’s a lengthy topic in its own right.  

Traditional TV, addressable linear and OTT all have their unique purpose in media plans. Cross-platform orchestration remains the industry’s biggest pain point. Building tools to support orchestration is a massive challenge given the varying granularities of data available, and building around digital or TV-only data sets would put kids gloves on investments that require precision. The addition of 4INFO to Cadent’s graph technology provides the keystone to solving this problem, and we’re looking forward to helping our clients take big steps forward in orchestrating cross-platform video investments in 2020. 

Learn more about Cadent’s acquisition of 4INFO.

Cadent Acquires 4INFO, Expands Cross-Screen TV Capabilities for National Advertisers

Jan. 2, 2020 – NEW YORK – Cadent, the advanced TV platform company, today announced the acquisition of 4INFO to expand its cross-screen solutions for national advertisers with advanced audience targeting, and over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) video buying capabilities.

The ability to orchestrate traditional and next generation TV campaigns is core to any modern advertising campaign. However, advertisers are challenged with understanding which devices belong to the same household, because of the multiple set-tops, connected TVs, streaming boxes, full episode players, and mobile apps that provide access to premium content. Complexity in planning, activating and measuring national TV campaigns has increased as viewing platforms and viewing preferences continue to fragment.

4INFO’s data activation platform incorporates patented audience graph technology that resolves multiple TV devices back to a household. This highly accurate matching fabric enables national TV advertisers to de-duplicate and map audience segments into the full universe of television, providing a more precise measurement of targeted reach.

“Viewers are engaging with premium TV across more devices and services than ever before. In response, advertisers and agencies require a unified view of their TV campaigns to get the clearest picture of brand reach and engagement,” said Nick Troiano, CEO of Cadent. “The integration of the 4INFO household graph and its OTT capabilities with the Cadent Advanced TV Platform creates the industry’s only unified platform for all forms of data-driven television – cable, broadcast, addressable STB, OTT, and connected devices — at true national scale.”

Cadent and 4INFO have been technology partners since 2018, and over the past year have more tightly integrated 4INFOs data-activation capabilities into Cadent’s buy-side TV planning and activation platform. 4INFO technologies will help national advertisers build higher-performing data-driven television campaigns.

“As an existing 4INFO partner, TEGNA looks forward to continuing to work with Cadent as we drive innovation across our business, including our leading OTT advertising platform, Premion,” said Tom Cox, senior vice president, TEGNA Inc.

“Cadent’s scale across all forms of advanced TV will further 4INFO’s mission of enabling unified audiences at scale that are fully actionable across screens and properties,” said Tim Jenkins, CEO of 4INFO. “We are pleased to continue our journey helping advertisers evolve their television advertising as part of Cadent.”

The transaction was completed today, and terms were not disclosed.

About Cadent

Cadent powers the evolution of TV brand advertising. We provide marketers, agencies, operators, and media owners with data-driven solutions for buying and selling TV advertising. By connecting brands with opportunities across national inventory sources—cable, broadcast, and OTT—our technology improves efficiencies and boosts the results of linear, addressable, and cross-screen campaigns. For more information, visit cadent.tv or follow @CadentTV.

Cadent’s Next Step in Fulfilling the Cross-Channel Promise of TV

Todaywe announced that Cadent is acquiring 4INFO to expand our cross-screen solutions for national advertisersThis is an incredible step toward furthering our mission of bringing more data to television and fulfilling the cross-channel promise of TV as we bring in advanced audience and measurement, as well as OTT and CTV buying capabilities.   

Our journey to becoming a cross-channel TV platform began with the acquisition of BlackArrow, expanding our advanced TV technology capabilities for operators, and most recently, with the launch of Cadent addressable, we brought in an open, demand-side platform for advertisers and agencies looking to reach audiences at the household level.  

Today, we operate a platform for the future of television, and we believe our TV-first approach will help the industry evolve to a more data-driven, cross-channel future. Effective cross-channel advertising means advertisers can maintain quality and impact and reach their TV audiences in a brand safe manner, delivering messages in the moments people are most immersed in content, while inventory providers can realize the full potential of the audiences they attract, regardless of viewing channel.   

Our vision is to restore simplicity to the complex, evolving world of TV, and by bringing 4INFO into Cadent, we’re realizing that vision in several ways.  

We’re enhancing our ability to work with inventory partnersWe are dedicated to working with inventory owners and content distributors across the industry to build a vibrant, open TV ecosystem that drives forward the adoption of Advanced TV services.  The integration of the 4INFO toolsets into our platform will help our ability to automate connections to inventory and data partners and will enable us to better demonstrate the value of all forms of TV content (linear, addressable, OTT) to drive better yield. 

We’re giving advertisers better tools for data activation and OTT. Advertisers need a platform that brings TV audiences across linear, addressable and OTT. To get there, we must be able to connect devices to where viewers watch that content. 4INFO’s data activation platform incorporates patented graph technology that resolves multiple devices back to a TV household. This is a vital component of our cross-channel approach. 

We’re viewing cross-channel from a TV perspective. We believe success in finding audiences will not just be about reaching viewers across screens, devices, formats and services, but orchestrating the advertising between those layers. With this acquisition, we gain a programmatic, OTT-first bidder that will help us create more dynamic advertising campaigns that react to the ever-changing habits of TV viewers. 

We’re excited to welcome the 4INFO team into Cadent. Together, we are uniquely positioned to unify advertising across cable, broadcast, addressable, and OTT/CTV with a unique view of audiences. The technology 4INFO brings to our platform will immediately enhance our in-market offerings for advertisers, and it will support our long-term partnerships with our suppliers as we enhance and automate our connections as we jointly evolve to a data-driven future.