Late last year Seven Group Holdings (SGH) acquired a 28 per cent stake in an Australian advertising attribution and analytics start-up called Impulse Screen Media (ISM).

SGH has set aside capital to invest in new technology companies that it believes have the potential to disrupt the market in some of its traditional industries, like television broadcasting.

ISM’s technology recognises what is being broadcast on TV and triggers a digital ad campaign against pre-determined keywords or images. The platform also offers an analytics solution which keeps track of how many times a brand like Coca-Cola was mentioned on TV and in what context.

The technology allows broadcasters like Seven to increase their data and digital capabilities, pushing back against the growing dominance of Google and Facebook in the advertising market.


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The investment also addresses Accenture’s research on the “Halo effect” which found multiplatform TV advertising should get the credit for 18 per cent of the ROI attributed to search and social.

This means marketers need to consider halo effects across advertising channels — rather than siloed, channel-specific ROI — and balance their media planning and budgeting accordingly, Accenture argues.

Paul Garrity, CEO and Founder of ISM, says the data reinforces this thinking.

“Interestingly, having now run close to 1,000 campaigns and having two years of marketing performance data to analyse we think the pendulum has swung too far to ‘digital only’ campaigns,” Garrity told Which-50.

“Marketing budgets should always consider multi-channel activation and how to leverage the reach and access of traditional media to ensure better return on investment for CMOs across all their marketing channels.”

Potentially, every TVC campaign could be in sync with a digital campaign to capture the attention of consumers looking to their smartphones during the ad breaks.

“When running a TV campaign, at least 20 per cent of the digital budget should be allocated to strategies that optimise the addressable audience with cross screen activation and make it easy for new customers to find and reach your product as their interest is engaged,” Garrity said.

How It Works

In order to “listen” to what is being broadcast on free to air TV, ISM has data centres with a digital antenna that picks up the FTA broadcast signal exactly as consumers receive it in each metro broadcast area.

“This is processed on the ground by specialist hardware that splits up the video, audio and metadata in the transmission to make it suitable to be processed by our recognition engines,” Garrity said.

“A number of AI engines that are tuned for rapid video and audio analysis techniques work together to convert the pictures, sound and data into triggers that are sent into the cloud where our campaign management system utilises them by integrating in real time with leading digital advertising platforms to optimise campaign investment.”

ISM is integrated with all major Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) enabling television-synced ads across display, video, social and mobile. The goal is to increase advertising effectiveness by targeting digital ad buys more targeted to the minute.

But ISM clients can also exploit competitor TV buys by triggering their own digital ads against rival TVCs. For example, Kogan could choose to advertise during every Harvey Norman commercial to capture consumers Googling 4K TVs.

A New Way to Buy TV

For broadcasters the technology strengthens their pitch to advertisers both as a way to influence consumer behaviour, backed up by the analytics piece.

“Historically, commercial networks and traditional broadcasters have been data and insight poor,” said James Scott, group executive director of technology and innovation for Seven Group Holdings.

Discussing the ISM investment with Which-50, Scott said the technolgoy would change the way advertisers, brands and agencies buy television by using data to measure the impact of their advertising dollars.

“The key here is brands and advertisers want and need access to data,” Scott said.

“Attribution is key to knowing ‘should I spend an extra dollar on TV or should I spend that dollar on search and social?'”

Growth Potential

SGH outlined the growth oppurtunities for ISM in its annual report, stating it has the potential to scale quickly across geographies and unlock new revenue streams by monetising the data from its large attribution data set.

Building on its existing operations in Australia and New Zealand, ISM has begun its Asian expansion with hardware deployed in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

As well as international expansion, ISM is hoping to grow by capturing a greater slice of the cross-screen advertising market.

“According to analysts like Accenture at least 20 per cent of all digital activity is initiated after influence from television. That means that the revenue directly attributable to cross-screen activity is an addressable market of over $300 million per annum in Australia and a multi-billion-dollar global market,” Garrity said.

“We believe we can optimise that spend for advertisers and publishers by at least 30 per cent, improving the performance of digital and reducing the large amount of wastage seen across the industry.”

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