The presentations also coincided with the news that Nielsen had backed off big data as its primary offering in favor of its legacy panel measurement, although it will still offer a combination of panel and big data.
“There were quite a few conversations about [Nielsen],” said Halley. “It really did put some agencies in a kerfuffle because they’d spent the whole year planning on the panel plus big data.”
On its part, Paramount will allow Nielsen panel, Nielsen panel and big data, VideoAmp and Comscore as currencies in its upfront dealmaking. Halley noted that iSpot.tv is also in the process of being adopted by the company, and expects to make it available by the fall.
Another recurring topic was the fragmented state of media. Halley said advertisers are currently trying to solve how to access viewers across numerous platforms and screens, which is “becoming more complex and more chaotic and more crowded.”
In response, Paramount has launched new tools that allow advertisers to market across the company’s linear and digital assets, from CBS to Paramount+ and Pluto TV, with controlled frequency for the viewers consuming each. The “convergent optimization” offering is operated with Paramount’s advanced targeting platform, Vantage.
Halley noted that Paramount’s “streaming footprint is as big as cable ever was” as audiences transition from linear viewing, and that the company’s digital advertising makes up 40% of its business.
In Paramount’s first quarter earnings last week, the company reported an 11% year-over-year decline in cable advertising, but a 15% increase in streaming advertising. Halley said the decline in cable ad revenues is partially due to “inorganic items” such as fewer NFL games on CBS.
Overall, Halley said the multiple presentation strategy was a success for the company and that it has “no intention of going back to the old way of doing things.” A key takeaway of the experiment was that it gave Paramount an opportunity to be in conversation with clients and discuss their needs, which isn’t possible in the traditional upfront format, said Halley.
“It turns out if you query agency folks and clients, they don’t really like upfront week in the first place,” said Halley. “It’s so crowded, so dense, it’s hard to keep things straight, it’s loud, It’s one-way, it’s not conversational and doesn’t facilitate anything.”