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Quantcast Tracks Online Audiences for Hulu, Broadband Enterprises

Measurement Offers Insight for Advertisers

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To better understand who is watching online video, Hulu and online video advertising network Broadband Enterprises inked separate deals with online audience measurement firm Quantcast to track demographics for their Web videos and ads.

The pair of deals follows news late last week that the Disney-ABC Television Group had begun rolling out Quantcast's tools to measure audiences on its Web properties including the full-episode player on ABC.com.

With the economy diving and ad budgets shrinking, advertisers are hungry for information that can prove the value and return on investment in an ad buy. Quantcast tools measure audience makeup such as age, gender, ethnicity, education level, kids and household geography for videos watched on sites such as Hulu.com and ABC.com, as well as embeds of those videos on other sites.

Given the economic uncertainty, advertisers want to know if the ad money in digital video is well spent, said Matt Wasserlauf, CEO of Broadband Enterprises, which counts 250 advertisers and 2,200 Web sites in its ad networks.

Quantcast currently offers this audience demographic information for free and expects to make money in the coming months from addressable advertising products, said Adam Gerber, chief marketing officer for the company.

Hulu has not committed to rolling out paid tools from Quantcast, but Mr. Wasserlauf said Broadband Enterprises will do so if the data is useful.

For now, the ability to measure audience composition gives publishers a vital piece of information on Web video—who's watching what.

"The opportunity in online video is to better understand the audiences that are consuming video and to enable publishers and marketers to deliver advertising in a more meaningful way to those audiences," Mr. Gerber said.

Because Quantcast tags its videos, it can report audience makeup for videos syndicated to other sites, like when Hulu clips play on TVGuide.com. Quantcast combines that information with data from Web publishers and other sources to provide a composite audience view, Mr. Gerber said.

"Quantcast is a compelling service that will help us advance our client solutions," said Jean-Paul Colaco, senior VP of advertising at Hulu. The premium video site streamed 235 million videos in October, according to comScore.

Quantcast introduced its Web-video measurement technology earlier this year. It was built on the company's existing business of measuring Web site demographics for clients including MTV Networks, NBC, Fox Entertainment, BusinessWeek and Time Inc. Existing video customers for Quantcast include Metacafe and Veoh.

The more targeting information available to advertisers the better, said Greg Sterling, principal with Sterling Market Intelligence.

"After a point, too much slicing and dicing of audiences, however, diminishes reach. But these analytics and, presumably, the corresponding targeting will be like—and I hate to use this phrase—cable TV on steroids," he said.

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