At iSpot.tv, we call ourselves “professional TV watchers”, but what we actually do involves far more than just watching. At the core of what makes iSpot unique is our ad catalog, which is the most robust and accurate library of TV ad creatives in the industry. In fact, if you’ve ever googled a commercial, chances are you’ve found and watched it via iSpot’s catalog, which has been built off our proprietary ACR technology over the past 6 years.
I’m Jenny, an editor at iSpot.tv. Let me take you on a tour of how the industry’s only comprehensive TV ad catalog gets assembled and maintained.
My job entails reviewing content that our software detects as a potential candidate for a new commercial. One of my first responsibilities of the day is “chopping” (or editing the beginning and end timing of the ad video from the network feeds). As a new spot is detected, I must carefully trim the footage frame-by-frame to ensure we have a clean download of the ad creative. For the majority of the Editorial team, this is how we start our day. While our platform instantly recognizes all existing TV commercials, movie-trailers and TV show promos in real time, all unrecognized content is reviewed by me and my Editorial teammates. Over 20,000 raw video segments are manually analyzed by our team each week; and from that raw footage, over 5,000 new spots are ingested. Over 700,000 spots have been catalogued in our system to date.
So, how exactly do we get the new commercials? iSpot’s proprietary software extracts ad airings data from more than two-dozen data centers across the country and monitors where and when commercials appear on TV. The new commercials are sent to us for manual review, metadata input, and insertion into the catalog. Editors also spend time each day researching and confirming airings data across the 155+ networks that are monitored. iSpot’s Editorial team is comprised of 20 individuals working 365 days a year – TV is always on and so are we!
One important nuance we have to manually detect is distinguishing brand-new ads from new creative iterations. Not every ad that airs is completely new, as some are very slight edits from a previous version. Our software is impeccable at recognizing ads and the ability to manually review these subtle differences only adds to our data accuracy. For example, Toyota could air the same national creative, but with different pricing information every two weeks, and all versions would be accounted for in the iSpot catalog. In another instance, if JCPenney uses the same creative for a “25% off sale” or a “Buy One Get One sale”, we ingest and tag each version. As our clients depend on iSpot to accurately measure things like attention, attribution and creative wear to inform key marketing decisions, I must be extra vigilant about catching subtle distinctions and correctly categorizing all content.
Typically, I spend my afternoon editing new spots that have been ingested earlier in the day. Songs, actors, products, promotion codes, pricing; all of these details of a commercial are tagged in our system manually. On top of that, editors also write a creative description for each commercial. So, if you’ve ever Googled an ad that you just saw on TV and noticed that the first search result links to iSpot.tv, it’s because all of the metadata and keywords that our editorial team tagged brought you to the public, “browse tv ads” section of our site.
While the Editorial team shares many tasks, each editor is also a specialist. Across the team, you’ll find an editor that specializes in one or more of the following areas:
- Double-checking TV schedules with our Pod Viewer technology: This allows us to see every commercial, show promo and movie trailer that actually aired during a program and fill in any gaps that our automated system may have missed.
- Reviewing video quality and replacing any videos with glitches or tickers.
- Manually ingesting creatives from our clients and adding custom tracking information, such as ISCI codes.
- Reviewing and scrutinizing our ad catalog to make sure we ingest and tag any variation of a commercial (sales, promo codes, and pricing are just a few possible variations).
- Organizing a calendar of important events on TV: This includes premieres, finales, award shows and sporting events (iSpot editors specialize in spend research as well).
- Quality Assurance: Every single spot in our system goes through levels of data scrubbing to ensure that our catalog is the best in the industry.
Now, if you’re feeling overwhelmed about all of the different aspects of the iSpot ad catalog, we don’t blame you one bit. It’s a lot to take in, but the editorial processes outlined above are only a glimpse into how we’ve built and maintained the most comprehensive TV ad catalog in the world.
If you’d like to learn even more about iSpot.tv’s editorial process and dashboard, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(The Editorial Team in our Bellevue office)