Disney gets serious about data: Horizon Media deal boosts ad measurement

The ‘House of Mouse’ is extending its data clean room, letting brands track their ads on the media giant’s platforms in a privacy-centric way.

This week, Disney Advertising Sales struck a deal with agency Horizon Media that will help brands measure their online ads. 

The move marks a major expansion into adtech for the media giant which owns Marvel, Pixar and the Star Wars franchises.

The company also said that it plans to invest more deeply in activation tools and is rolling out a proprietary, privacy-safe identity graph and is also looking to ramp up programmatic business with The Trade Desk.

Initially announced last October Disney’s Clean Room solution, will now use Horizon Media to tap into measurement capabilities. 

Lisa Valentino, Executive Vice President, Client Solutions & Addressable Enablement, Disney Advertising, says: “The expansion of Disney Advertising’s Clean Room allows marketers to transact on first-party data that delivers real results for businesses, and drives better ad experiences for consumers.

Strong feedback accelerates Disney’s data drive

The media giant is launching these updates to its clean room sooner than expected, following promising initial client feedback which included Omnicom and used car retailer DriveTime.  

There has also been a growing demand for improved cross-channel measurement – especially on connected television (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) media, which led to the deal with Horizon Media.

David Campanelli, EVP, Chief Investment Officer at Horizon Media, explains: “As the industry continues to move towards outcome-based buys, it’s paramount to have accurate measurement solutions built with integrity. We’re proud to pioneer these new pathways with Disney.”

A whole new data clean room 

Marketers will begin testing measurement capabilities and audience activation through Disney Advertising’s Clean Room. 

The platform is designed to be cloud agnostic, building on the foundational work between Disney and data technology providers Habu, InfoSum and Snowflake, 

Bill Stratton, Global Head of Media, Entertainment and Advertising Vertical, Snowflake, says:  “From a data platform perspective, Disney’s Clean Room has set the bar for what data collaboration will be in the coming decade and beyond. Snowflake and Disney continue to innovate and we look forward to announcing additional measurement pilots in the coming months.”

For advertisers who may not have access to critical scale of first-party data, clients can use Disney’s Clean Room integration to Habu and Snowflake to access a starter package of insights.

Matt Kilmartin, Co-founder & CEO of Habu, explains: “For those wanting to supplement their own data, they can utilise third-party segments through Habu for activation and analytics in Disney's advertising environments. To meet various industry-specific needs, we have pre-sourced data, queries and visualisations built within a safe, clean room environment.”

Building on its collaboration with InfoSum for over two years, Disney Advertising will also move from insights to activation with clients shortly.

Brian Lesser, Chairman and CEO of InfoSum, says: “Disney is the first major media company in the US to fully adopt methodology that unlocks the value of data, while prioritising consumer privacy in a way that simultaneously drives insights for buyers. We are honoured to continue to collaborate with Disney to set the stage to help advertisers expand from insights to activation through Disney’s Clean Room technology.”

Battle for attention across screens 

As consumer attention shifts across screens and increasingly to digital environments like streaming, marketers are moving from demographics and proxies for audience to true, first-party insights validated by data science.

Dana McGraw, VP, Audience Modeling & Data Science, Disney Advertising, says: “Advertisers can match their audience segments to Disney’s proprietary, first-party Audience Graph, powered by Disney Select, unearthing powerful insights to drive true results and outcomes. This capability translates insights to action as we innovate toward activating first-party data at scale out of a clean room environment, ensuring accuracy of targeting and measurement for clients buying Disney inventory.”

The next level

The next phase of Disney’s Clean Room will let advertisers use Disney Advertising’s proprietary audience graph for biddable opportunities, create audience insights and manage reach and frequency more effectively across platforms by creating interoperability with programmatic industry solutions.

In addition to improving insights and activation, advertisers are leveraging Disney’s Clean Room to gain an accurate lens into how their desired audiences are engaging with premium content.