System Update – 5/23/19

Airings have been delayed today due to a bad query which has slowed down the ETL.  It’s an unfortunate case of human error and we apologize for it.  We’re looking into a solution that may help to prevent future similar occurrences.  The ETL should be caught up in the next few hours and then all airings for 5/22 & 5/23 will be up to date in the system.

CW Network came back online on 5/20.  Now we’re having an issue with Comet and Charge.  Monitoring the broadcast diginets over the air comes with its fair share of complications.  In this case, a broadcast tower was damaged due to weather which took one of our two dual broadcast feeds offline.

We will update when Comet and Charge are back online and apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Advanced TV Leftovers = New Opportunity for DRTV Industry

A new trend has emerged where cable networks are collaborating with MVPD and vMVPD partners to turn their national ad inventory into something far more appealing to brand advertisers.  Armed with new capabilities, cable networks are already starting to offer brand advertisers the ability to target their television commercial to their ideal audience.  This creates an opportunity for direct response advertisers to have their commercials delivered, during the same ad breaks, to all the leftover households.

Before we get into how these new “advanced advertising” break types work, let’s look at how national cable break types have worked historically.

On the left side of the diagram below, a cable network sends its signal via satellite to two different MVPDs.  If you aren’t familiar with the term, and haven’t clicked one of the links above, MVPD is short for Multiple Video Program Distributor.  MVPD is a catch-all phrase to describe all of the television distribution companies that sell access to network cable programming via cable, satellite, fiber, or via internet (the latter referred to as an vMVPD where “v” is short for “virtual”).   In the past, we’ve only had to understand and deal with two break types.  We had the national ad break, in which commercials were seen by viewers nationwide, and we had the local ad break.  Most cable networks cut to a local ad break 2 minutes out of every hour.  As shown below, a cable network has sold a commercial to Expedia to run during a local ad break.  Buying this type of ad break is how direct response advertisers have purchased leftovers at a discount for many years.

To help explain, local ad breaks are preceded by a Digital Program Insertion (DPI) signal. Most MVPDs have ad-insertion equipment that listens for the DPI signal. As soon as the DPI signal is detected, the ad insertion equipment begins inserting commercials sold by the MVPD to local advertisers. In the diagram below, one of the two MVPDs is shown inserting a Flex Tape commercial covering up the Expedia commercial. In most markets, including urban markets, the MVPDs aggressively sell local advertising covering up most, if not all, of the ads like Expedia running on the network at the same time.  However, in smaller rural markets, the MVPD may not sell local advertising as demonstrated by the second MVPD below which doesn’t insert an ad allowing the Expedia ad to be seen by viewers in their market.  These are the leftovers that direct response advertisers expect to receive when buying local break inventory from the cable networks today.

With new advanced television advertising models, the networks use a different type of DPI signal to let certain MVPDs, who have a contract with the network,  know that it’s time for them to deliver the advanced advertising commercial to its intended audience.  At the same time, the network may run a direct response commercial on its network feed to be viewed by any households not otherwise targeted by the advanced advertising campaign.  One of the network groups stated that a smaller universe of MVPDs are currently involved in their advanced advertising programs.  To other MVPDs, this new type of ad break looks just like any other national ad break which they are not allowed to cover up.  Accordingly, the audience composition for this new type of ad break is likely quite different in comparison to the traditional local break.

DRMetrix is the first television research company to monitor national cable DPI signals in order to recognize and segment between the two traditional ad break types.  Our company is currently collaborating with cable networks in an attempt to detect the alternative DPI signals that are starting to be used in the marketplace to signal these new advanced advertising breaks.  For now, DRMetrix flags all commercials running outside of normal local breaks as “national”.

Some networks have taken to inserting direct response ads in local breaks and their new advanced advertising breaks billing both types under the traditional “local” billing code.  Some agencies have started to notice the discrepancy as DRMetrix continues to report the advanced advertising breaks as “national”.  DRMetrix has had to explain to various agencies what is happening and quite often the agencies are unaware of the new break type.  So, we thought this article would help to set the record straight!

Please provide us with your feedback and questions on our blog!  We’d love to hear from you.

System Update – 5/16/19

Our ETL (Extract, transform, Load) routine got stuck yesterday at some odd hour and wasn’t discovered until this morning.  We’re researching why the system didn’t send a warning earlier but one of our nice clients pointed out that no airings for 5/16 were being shown in AdSphere.  Rest assured, no airings have been lost and the ETL is just catching up over the next few hours and everything should return to normal.

There was an issue with the Network Log View that has been fixed.

We’ve lost one of our two CW network broadcast feeds so this network is currently offline.  We’re working to acquire another feed so we can put the CW back online.

We apologize for these issues and are working to resolve.

New AdSphere Build – 10-13-2019

We’re happy to bring you a new build of AdSphere with several new features.

Share Reports & Filters

Now you can share AdSphere reports and filters with your business colleagues.  Click below image for video tutorial

Search by TFN/800 or URL

Have you ever wanted to search for creatives/brand by toll free number or URL?  Now you can!  Click below image for video tutorial

Download Thumbnail Views

Now when viewing a thumbnail image, you can download a .jpg file on the fly!

 

Global Search “View All” creative reports now include airing counts.

 

Configure Alerts page now shows full category / sub-category description for each alert.

Enhancement to Video and Thumbnail descriptions.

When you play a video from Network Log View, the date/time will be shown in broadcast time and we’ve added the brand and creative name to the text description.  Similarly, when you output an airing detail report in broadcast day, the video links will show broadcast date/time.  In all other instances, the video descriptions will indicate calendar date/time.  We hope these new descriptions will help to reduce confusion!

 

 

In addition to the above features, this new build addresses various bug fixes and areas of performance optimization.

Please do let us know if you discover any new bugs with this build so we can quickly squash them!!

System Update – 4/26/19

Some Fridays start out better than others….

Around 8:40AM PDT we experienced a power failure at our co-location facility that took DRMetrix offline.  A team of people have been working on this issue ever since.

10:00AM PDT – Power has been restored.   The underlying cause is still being researched.  We have redundancy on power so in theory this should not have happened.  We are waiting to understand if the power issue was internal or external to our systems.

10:50AM PDT – All of our servers are being brought back online one by one.   We put Adsphere into maintenance mode because the database servers are still in recovery mode.  As soon as the database servers are happy again, we’ll bring AdSphere out of maintenance mode.

11:23AM PDT – We are still struggling to get the database servers back to normal.  Queries are running way too slow for production forcing us to leave AdSphere in Maintenance mode for the time being.

12:10PM PDT – AdSphere has been taken out of maintenance mode and the database server is performing better.

We are still dealing with numerous issues.  Network capture servers are still having issues and it will take some time to get them all back online and working normally.  Unfortunately, this means we’ll be dealing with some data loss (inability to capture airings data while systems are down).  Even when our systems are fully restored, we will be unable to report airings data during the period of time when our systems were down.  Also, break type detection will be impacted.  Our hope is that we can get all of our system back online over the weekend, if not sooner.  Please know that we will be doing additional system maintenance over the weekend and Adsphere will be offline at times.

Since we began operation in 2014, DRMetrix has worked with an exceptional group of technical professionals as valued partners and vendors.  It’s heartbreaking for our team when something like this happens and we feel terrible for inconveniencing our valued clients.   DRMetrix and its technology partners will endeavor to determine the root cause of what occurred and what measures can be taken to prevent future occurrences.  We appreciate everyone’s patience and sincerely apologize for this situation.

Updates:

DRMetrix operations were largely back online by Friday afternoon.  We are still experiencing some issues with our registration system.  Registration of new ads since Friday AM will be delayed as our team catches up over the next few days.

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It’s been a little over two weeks.  Our co-location provider determined that there was a brief power fluctuation that took place across their electrical infrastructure on 4/26 that impacted multiple DRMetrix circuits.  The source of this was external to DRMetrix’s hardware and systems.  Much work has been done in an effort to trace down numerous issues caused by the power dip and to return all of our systems to normal operation.  Our equipment has been moved to a different set of electrical circuits and additional redundant power equipment has been installed.  Many hours have been spent troubleshooting and resolving issues caused by the power dip.  One remaining challenge which has dragged on for the past two weeks was a mysterious I/O issue that was causing random issues with video capture and playback quality for brief periods across random networks.   The issue would come and go at random times and affect different networks.  We estimate that airing detection accuracy levels have been reduced by a few percentage points during this period of  time.  We believe we recently identified the culprit and, since taking corrective action, no further I/O issues have been detected.  We hope that all of the issues resulting from the power failure of 4/26/19 have now been resolved.

Thank you to our customers for all of your support and understanding.

3rd Annual AdSphere™ Awards Recognize Top DRTV Advertisers in 2018

Progressive, Nutrisystem, E. Mishan & Sons, Guthy-Renker, Luminess Direct, Proactiv+, and the late George Smith among those being honored

DRMetrix, the leading research company for the DRTV industry announces its 3rd annual AdSphere™ Awards honoring the most effective direct response television advertisements airing on national television outlets in 2018.

DRMetrix created the AdSphere Awards to honor the top advertisers and brands in the industry. The awards will be presented to recipients attending PDMI EAST 2019, where leaders in Performance-Driven Marketing will come together in Miami, Florida from March 31st – April 2nd, 2019.  AdSphere Awards is the first awards program to be inclusive of the entire DRTV industry with advertisers such as Allergan, AT&T Services, AbbVie, Vista Print, Zillow, TripAdvisor, Lens Crafters, and many others being honored.

“The AdSphere awards recognize best-of-class advertisers across four industry classifications including short-form products, lead generation, brand/direct, and 28.5-minute infomercials,” said Joseph Gray, AdSphere Awards founder and CEO of DRMetrix. “Performance-based campaigns achieving this level of scale demonstrate consumer popularity and also best-in-class creative and media execution. The AdSphere Awards are the most inclusive ever for the DRTV industry recognizing nearly 70 honorees including all of our best-of-category award recipients.”

AdSphere monitors a universe of 125+ national networks on a 24/7/365 basis.  In just over four years, AdSphere has identified over 10,000 brand-direct and direct response brands. In addition to detecting over 384,000 infomercial (28.5 minute) airings, AdSphere has detected over 40 million spots of varying creative lengths up to five minutes in duration.  The awards recognize top brands across a wide range of industry categories representing all facets of the DRTV industry. AdSphere segments DRTV campaigns across 20 major categories and 145 sub-categories. The complete list of “Best of Category” AdSphere Award winners for 2018 is online at www.drmetrix.com/adsphere-awards.html.

In addition to the “Best of Category” awards, the following top six advertisers of 2018 will receive the coveted AdSphere Award:

Advertiser & Brand of the Year
Classification -Brand/Direct
Progressive

Advertiser & Brand of the Year
Classification – Lead Generation
Nutrisystem

Advertiser of the Year
Classification – Short-Form Products
E. Mishan & Sons

Advertiser & Brand of the Year
Classification – Long-Form
Guthy | Renker – Meaningful Beauty

Brand of the Year
Classification – Short-Form Retail Products
Luminess Silk Infinite Beauty Collection

2017 – Brand of the Year
Classification – Short-Form Products
Proactiv+

Industry Veteran, George Smith, who passed away on 2/14/19 will also be honored with an AdSphere Award for his lifetime of achievements on behalf of the direct response television industry.

 

Bringing English & Hispanic Together!

No political statements being made here. That said, this month we’ll be combining airings for both English and Hispanic networks in our default AdSphere rankings and on our weekly Retail Reporting to make sure advertisers are getting ranking credit for both English & Hispanic buys in one integrated view. You’ll still be able to change the default filters and choose English only rankings (classic view), Spanish or “both” which will be the new default. DRMetrix looks forward to monitoring more Hispanic networks in 2019.