PILOT Announces Launch of Broadcaster Direct-to-Consumer Audience Engagement Accelerator


PILOT, the innovation arm of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), today announced it is conducting a program with support of the Google News Initiative to improve direct-to-consumer audience engagement to better serve local audiences. The six-month program is designed to support broadcaster education as well as the implementation of first-party data and direct-to-consumer business models.

The program is in response to new challenges in digital advertising by seeking to guide broadcasters as they build out privacy-preserving business strategies, like those centered on the use of first-party data. The phase-out of third-party cookies have created a need for digital publishers, including broadcasters, to develop new solutions to facilitate digital advertising, while respecting their audiences’ evolving privacy expectations.

The initiative kicked off on July 19 with a meeting of 10 NAB member companies representing radio and television participating in the first phase of the program. The broadcasters met to hear from industry experts, share their own experiences and develop unique strategies to improve audience engagement.

“This is an important opportunity for broadcasters, and we are committed to supporting the development and expansion of sustainable strategies to engage with consumers directly,” said John Clark, senior vice president of Emerging Technology and executive director of PILOT. “I am excited about the diversity of the companies serving in the initial step of this program and building on their experiences to educate all NAB members and the broadcast industry.”

PILOT has commissioned Borrell Associates to publish a state-of-the-industry report that will examine the most promising strategies in use by or available to broadcasters. PILOT has commissioned Omdia to document current strategies based on European experiences. PILOT will produce industry case studies that document the various strategies of program participants, which will assist the industry in navigating changes in the digital ecosystem.

“Broadcasters have large, loyal audiences and therefore have great opportunities to capitalize on those first-party relationships,” said Jeremy Sinon, vice president of Digital Strategy at Hubbard Radio and vice-chair of the NAB Digital Officer Committee. “The time is now for all of us to start developing best practices towards engaging our consumers on a deeper level. We are hopeful this program will help raise the bar for the entire industry.”

“Implementing new strategies to enhance first party data and audience engagement, especially those to better serve local audiences, are vital across all broadcaster platforms,” said Beth Grossman, Head of Revenue Strategy, Local Broadcast News at Google. “The Google News Initiative works to help news organizations address complex industry challenges and we are encouraged that the learnings from this program will support the broader news ecosystem.”

Adam Wiener serves as an advisor on the project and leads the group of broadcasters in the first phase of the program. Wiener, formerly the executive vice president and general manager of CBS Local Digital Media, has extensive experience in all aspects of digital media operations and was the recipient of 2021 NAB Digital Leadership Award.