&THEN Preview Creative v1-01Welcome to &THEN Preview, an inside look at LA and its booming adtech and martech scene that awaits you at &THEN in Los Angeles, October 16-18.


For too long, television advertising has been a spray-and-pray medium, but that’s no longer the case. One company is injecting analytics to determine how TV drives revenue through online, mobile and second screen. Its accurate, same-day TV attribution platform is helping advertisers understand the total impact of TV.

We touched base with Calum Smeaton, CEO and founder of TVSquared, about the benefits his company takes from its LA office, how the city’s unique creative energy is contributing to the martech and adtech industry and his perspective on the future of TV.

TVSquared is a global company. What does the company get from having a presence in the LA-area?

We originally set up an office in New York City, but quickly realized that we were missing a trick by not also having a base in LA. There is a stronghold of response-based marketers in LA, so we needed to be there to service existing clients and avoid missing out on its fast-growing marketing scene. It’s been great to be there and connect with agencies in LA and Silicon Beach.

Do you feel LA marketers are bringing a different perspective than others around the world?

With LA’s direct-response and movie/celebrity scene, you see a host of marketers with a grounding in response that, frankly, you don’t see in other areas of the U.S. There’s also a very strong view of what technology can bring to marketing – which is growing with the influence of Silicon Beach. By having a presence in LA, we see upfront the influence of the movie and entertainment tech scene on marketing in a very big way.

How does LA’s deep history in film and television influence martech and adtech firms based there?

The marketplace is experiencing nothing short of an evolution in terms of how entertainment is consumed. Being in LA, TVSquared has a front-row seat to the entertainment ecosystem and that means we see exactly where entertainment consumption is going.

In addition, Silicon Valley has tried to get into Hollywood and vice versa over the years. We’re seeing that integration happening now.

In the past, tech has been doing cool things for tech’s sake. Creativity in entertainment has been doing entertaining things for entertainment’s sake. The overlap of those skill sets is just now beginning to happen. There is a cohabitation that is happening between tech and entertainment exclusively or, at the very least, most uniquely in LA.

In what way is LA leading the marketing industry?

Snapchat drives a lot of new ways of thinking about how advertisers engage the next generation. I think that is a place where LA – and its most innovative companies – is leading the field of marketing.

Event TV, such as sporting events and award shows, has become a huge driver on social media. Is this activity just reputational for the brand or can it be used to drive sales?

The combination of TV and social is another trend we’ve been watching the last few years. It’s been more on the brand side and how marketers can use it to drive sales.

Right now, I think people are using the social response to event TV for brand engagement. There are still some ways to go to drive sales. It’s certainly an area we’re interested in for getting that signal for brand engagement. For the moment, it’s still a reputational play.

TVSquared has talked about the need for TV buyers to start thinking more like digital buyers. What will that shift in thinking look like?

TV is the last marketing channel to be optimized because, for years, marketers considered it to be an “un-measurable” medium. There were simply no accurate, timely ways to tell how TV spend impacted ROI. Naturally, marketers who are used to driving digital channels are now looking for the same level of tools, analytics and techniques that can be applied to traditional TV advertising. The good news is that they can achieve the same ROI. TV works just as digital does. Customers are using our tools and getting great results. They are applying more data-driven insights to find out what works and what doesn’t and, quite honestly, it’s leading to more spend in this space.

TVSquared is introducing analytics into TV advertising to drive insights. How exactly does that process work?

Our technology measures the impact of every spot in a TV campaign, including all response touch points like the web, call centers, mobile apps and SMS. The same-day results give advertisers the “who, what, when and where” of a TV campaign. Advertisers can now know the effectiveness of their campaigns and answer questions like which creative is working best, what day/time is the most effective, what audiences are engaged and where they are located.

In what ways has a presence in LA provided unique opportunities for TVSquared?

Working with sophisticated, forward-thinking LA brands has helped us sharpen our game and shape our product offerings. And to see these companies use our technology to make their TV spend and impact go so much further has been an amazing experience. The bottom line is that being in LA gives us access to the right partners and clients for our product.

More DMA Resources:

Calum Smeaton is the CEO and founder of TVSquared. After being entrenched in the world of data analytics for years – and seeing firsthand how data can transform an industry – Calum founded TVSquared to bring state-of-the-art analytical capabilities to the world of TV advertising. Before TVSquared, Calum was the CEO of Sumerian and the co-founder and CTO of Orbital Software.

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