Charlene Weisler, MediaPost Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 9:40 AM EST

Cross-Platform Addressability: Q&A With Benjamin Masse


Benjamin Masse’s background is in anthropology, which is not as far afield from media as one might think. His canny assessment of consumer behavior has helped him in the music recommendation system sector, then at Google, and now at Triton Digital, a leading technology provider for the audio industry. He says his master’s degree in anthropology “opens our minds up to track anything that interacts with the consumer, including software. When you build software, you should not think of only building it for a specific culture. You need to broaden your scope.”

Here’s an excerpt his interview with Media Daily News. The full (video) version can be viewed here.

MDN: Tell me about Triton Digital.

BM: Triton Digital was created eight years ago… [with] a few lines of business that include streaming, measurement, advertising, and audience management. When you listen to radio online via a web player or mobile device, the streaming of that FM station could very well be delivered by our streaming solution. To best measure listeners of digital audio from an online radio broadcast or music service like Pandora, our measurement solution analyzes each stream to make sure that each listener is an actual human, not a robot (as opposed to just measuring page views as a lot of measurement companies do today).  I oversee our advertising business, and how we inject targeted replacement ads into audio streams to make them more relevant to the listener. The fourth line of business is audience management and engagement programs such as email, website creation, and rewards programs.

MDN: Can this type of audio addressability be used to help target ads in local television? If so, how?

BM: We’re obsessively focused on all things audio. That said, similar technologies can be used for local targeting of streaming TV ads. The local market opportunity is huge, and there are a number of companies working to capitalize on it across all types of media.

MDN: Is there a cross-platform opportunity here for an advertiser who wants to buy both local radio and television?

BM: There is certainly an opportunity here for advertisers looking to augment the power of their existing media buys. A number of recent studies have shown that audio has the power to boost the effectiveness of advertising on other channels. In fact, many advertisers currently use streaming audio to complement online and offline buys across channels. Audio – and particularly local audio – has grown dramatically in the last couple of years and has become a very attractive platform….

MDN: We talk about programmatic in television but not so much in radio. What do you see as the benefit of programmatic in radio?

BM: Programmatic means a lot of things, one of the biggest being automation. We see that there are more and more requests for automation because it saves costs on both the agency and publisher side. By automation I mean that there is a brand that wants to advertise. They will hire an agency and they will ask that agency to figure out the best way to spend their advertising dollars to have brand exposure. In the old days of the “Mad Men” era, they were having lunch and talking to publishers, signing paper agreements, sending creative to the publisher and hoping that the publisher would traffic that ad the right way. We see that many things involved in automation are to simplify that process and save costs. You don’t need a lot of hires on either side to be sure that the buy is transacted and tracked correctly.

MDN: So it sounds to me you’re saying that media sales may not be the best career track for someone starting out today.

BM: Media sales has definitely changed over the years, but there will always be a need for sales teams.  It is similar to how investing in stocks used to require a trade executed by a trader. Today, you can log into your bank account and start trading stocks, but you still need to have advisers. With media sales becoming increasingly automated, those teams will no longer be exchanging paper or even electronic agreements. Instead, they will act as buying advisers to their clients.