4 Questions with… Tatia O’Connor



Tatio O'Connor

This week in Rhiza’s new interview series, 4 Questions, we speak with media industry expert, Tatia O’Connor. A 25-year veteran of broadcast media, Tatia currently serves as the President of Pittsburgh’s Media Association and WTAE-TV’s Director of Research and Client Services. Keen to deliver informed media insights to clients and coworkers, Tatia draws on her industry experience, consumer research and multitudes of data to tackle new trends and engage her audiences.

To learn more about the Media Association of Pittsburgh or WTAE visit them online:

Media Association of Pittsburgh: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

WTAE-TV: Website | Twitter | Facebook



Data – what do you love about it and what do you hate about it?

Big frustration: data inconsistencies. For instance, take web analytics. There are so many different sources: Google Analytics, Omniture, comScore—each with its own methodology. Because I’m comparing similar stats, like page views, I’m seeing inconsistency across these sources in how these measurements are calculated. It’s confusing to reconcile and confusing for clients, too.

Big pleasure: visualization and storytelling. When I interpret numbers with graphics and storytelling, I’m able to take my audience on a journey about consumer behavior. No one wants to sit through slide after slide of a data dump. In fact, Ipsos Marketing is offering a webinar on storytelling in the context of market research. Juice Analytics and Tableau are companies dedicated to data visualization.


How do you engage your co-workers, clients and/or customers with data?

Internally, I provide a daily five-minute roundup of audience usage highlights to our department heads, including things like daily Nielsen overnight ratings and Google Analytics. This audience is familiar with these data points, but they don’t have the time to analyze them. I socialize the data by providing context to the numbers: broadcast viewership may be lower because the Penguins were on cable or maybe ratings were higher due to a big winter storm causing viewers to watch the weather. In those meetings I report on mobile, digital online (desktop, mobile and app) and TV activity, both broadcast and cable ratings, in 5-10 minutes.

With our sales staff I’ll provide a summary of the past week’s viewing, or an overview of how we ranked at the end of sweeps. I also make one-sheets on a daily basis to emphasize an important piece of data. It’ll be a quick hit like, X show ranked #1 on broadcast TV in this demo in this time period. The consistent presence of those daily reports not only increases our staff’s ability to process and share that kind of information, but also emphasizes its importance. The thing is, we have a flood of information to push out quickly, so I need to create one sheets without taking up hours of my time. I have to be quick and correct. To accomplish that I’ve worked with our creative department to develop templates, which include a branded background and sharp pictures. Efforts are streamlined and information gets out faster.


Which current industry trends should we keep an eye on?

For those buying and selling media, verifying and quantifying viewership is imperative. Again, so many data sources—which one do you believe? Figuring out how to get an ad in front of a person is important. How many are skipping commercials or utilize ad blockers online? Knowing if my ad was above the fold is great, but now I need to know if my audience actually saw my ad. Viewability is a metric that’s gaining importance.

For those looking at broader audience trends, better understanding of consumer behavior is critical. Between streaming services, like Netflix, and the multitude of mobile devices like smartphones, you have to know how people are consuming media. Nielsen’s Comparable Metrics Report measures how people consume media across channels to help planners decide on which media they are going to purchase. Overall, you have to analyze all of these channels together because there is no silver bullet–you need to consider your full media mix to create a holistic advertising campaign.


Which outlets or industry influencers do you follow to stay up to date with industry news?

Ipsos Research – this a good resource for marketing, advertising and consumer behavior research

National Association of Broadcasters – their SmartBrief Newsletter is great

Center for Media Research – this a MediaPost product with a regular industry brief

eMarketer – they provide good research on technology and industry trends

Ooyala – Ooyala offers a lot of research on video

Council for Research Excellence – the Council puts together a great weekly round up. Funded by Nielsen, a board of buyers, big media groups, and broadcasters curate highlights on big data, digital (websites, streaming, HD), mobile (banner ads, CES), network and local TV, social media from credible outlets like Broadcasting & Cable and WSJ.

Stylus – Stylus offers great global reports on consumer trends, like the shopping habits of millennials


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