The Agency Review: Dave Campanelli, EVP and Chief Investment Officer, Horizon Media

The Agency Review: Dave Campanelli, EVP and Chief Investment Officer, Horizon Media



What are the biggest challenges facing agencies today? How is the media planning and buying process evolving, and how can sellers help that process along?


To answer these existential questions, we sat down for a series of interviews with agency changemakers. Up now: Dave Campanelli, EVP and Chief Investment Officer, Horizon Media.


“This is the year that is a tipping point for the streaming space,” Campanelli declares. “I think we're going to see a very meaningful shift from linear into digital and streaming, specifically.” CTV, in particular, is poised to make a play for linear TV dollars. “The CTV space is still a wide open space to explore and test in. It's maturing quite a bit,” he adds. But clients’ needs, when it comes to audiences, are many and varied. And Campanelli doesn’t want to just understand the audience—he sees the role of the agency as a single-source-of-truth when it comes to consumer data.


This is where direct-to-device advertising comes in handy. “The primary benefit of direct-to-device is the ability to take advantage of the data targeting and the understanding from the seller of who their audience is, where they have their devices, and characteristics of who those homes are, fusing that with our target data that we're bringing to the table,” Campanelli says. “That gives us a real clear specificity on who we're targeting and who we're actually reaching with our ads and our placement. That’s a huge advantage.” 


So, how is Horizon going to be handling this shift? Well, they’ve already started by decoupling their consumer research from the traditional rhythms of the video ad marketplace. “We need to understand our client’s target audience and the consumer throughout the entire year,” Campanelli says. “It’s not a formal, ‘Okay, February 1st, let’s start identifying the consumer’ thing.” 


Horizon has also launched BLU, an internal consumer ID framework, to turn all that consumer data into action—the culmination of years of work. “We never felt like we could wait for measurement to catch up before we expanded into the CTV space,” Campanelli says. “And it would have been a mistake to sit back and say, ‘Oh, well, it's not Nielsen rated,’ or, ‘I can't run a reach and frequency in my traditional tools, so I'm not going to buy it,’ or ‘I'm not going to buy it as much as I should.’"  


“The future really hinges on the agency's ability to bring the target data to the table, and be that one source of truth and say, ‘This is our target. This is our data source. We're going to feed that to a publisher in order for the publisher to serve ads based on that target information,’” Campanelli says. “And then because we've ID’d the consumer on the front end, and are identifying whether we're reaching them throughout the process, we can also measure on the backend whether it's turned into a successful impression or not.” 


If that sounds like “business outcomes”—a.k.a. the Holy Grail of video advertising—that’s because that is in fact what Campanelli is talking about. This approach works best with decentralized negotiations, working on a timeframe that works not just for the agency, but really for each individual client with the agency. 


“That will be a significant change in how we plan to proceed in the Upfront,” Campanelli says. 


Enjoy the full interview below:



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