Data & Analytics

HITS Spring: Spark Digital Touts Benefits of Geotargeting

Whether your organization is targeting content within the confines of a physical space or localizing content for global markets, using time and place data to deliver customers compelling, targeted content is more important now than ever, according to Spark Digital, a New York-based company that provides application development services for the media and entertainment industry.

Some of the benefits of geotargeting were highlighted by Chris Cali, the company’s co-founder and managing partner, May 23, during a breakout session called “Meet Them Where They Are: The Future of Geotargeting Around the Corner and Around the World” at the annual HITS Spring event.

During the panel session, which also included Hollywood studio and TV network representatives that are Spark Digital clients, Cali examined micro and macro case studies of geotargeting and explored the bright future of geotargeted content and promotions.

“The interesting thing about this group is” that their use cases are “super different,” he said, noting that “one is much more sort of a micro use case of geotargeting and geolocation, the other much more macro and high level.”

The TV network representative noted that his team builds all the back-end data guides and back-end systems for the video streaming platforms of his company. A lot of his company’s geotargeting is around making certain that a viewer is getting the correct programming based on what local market he or she is in and whatever viewership rights are mandated by content owners, he said.

For example, if you’re in Los Angeles, a viewer should be blacked out when he or she is supposed to be blacked out for a Major League Baseball (MLB) or another sports event that person is trying to view, he noted. Viewing rights vary based on the sports league, he said, pointing out that MLB, for example, limits what games a viewer can watch to games from the market he or she is billed in.

Therefore, if the viewer is trying to watch a baseball game on a mobile device from a different city that’s across the country from where the person is billed, that game will be restricted, he said. On the other hand, football game viewership rights are more temporary, based on where the viewer is physically located while trying to watch the game, he said, pointing out his company always makes certain it’s always following the rules required by each sports league.

Those rules sound kind of simple, but Cali pointed out how complex those kinds of rules can get — for example, if a viewer starts watching a game in one city while traveling but then eventually enters a different city.

The TV network representative pointed out that his company tries to stick as close as it can to what each league requires, but isn’t going to drain a viewer’s phone by checking where he or she is each and every minute. The company also now uses location information to figure out what ads a viewer should see and also to help steer appropriate recommendations to viewers, he said.

For the studio representative’s company, meanwhile, geolocation is done at the most micro level, where it’s looking to deliver content to a viewer when that person is just a foot or two away from the company, such as during a studio tour, he said. His company must now also be compliant with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), he pointed out, adding it’s going to be challenging to be compliant with the growing number of similar laws.

HITS Spring was presented by Entertainment Partners, with sponsorship by LiveTiles, 5th Kind, Amazon Web Services, Birlasoft, Exactuals, Expert System, MarkLogic, Microsoft Azure, Richey May Technology Solutions, SoftServe, Spark Digital, Avanade, CDSA, Cinelytic, EIDR, MicroStrategy, Signiant, the Trusted Partner Network, human-I-T, and Zaszou IT Consulting.

The event was produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), in association with Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH); the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA); and the Smart Content Council.

To download audio of the Spark Digital presentation, click here. To download the slide deck, click here.