Meet the Teams Building Products that Shape the TV Advertising Ecosystem

Leaders on the product teams at Comcast Advertising are building innovative technology and unlocking the future of television advertising.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on Apr. 12, 2024
Meet the Teams Building Products that Shape the TV Advertising Ecosystem
Comcast Advertising
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The development process for Effectv's multiscreen attribution product may only mark a year and a half on the calendar, but for Sanjana Jain, senior product manager at Comcast Advertising’s Effectv, the experience has had both the challenges and the rewards of a much longer journey.

“I’ve seen the product grow from a baby to a toddler, and now it’s almost an adult,” said Jain.

Multiscreen attribution allows advertisers to see the comprehensive, multiscreen measurement of viewer response following their Effectv campaigns on both TV and streaming. This unified view empowers advertisers to better measure their return on ad spend and better understand how their campaigns are driving business results. 

As development of the product began, Jain’s team relied on two key milestones — early client validation and the tech and resources for operational support — as the proof points on the path to launching multiscreen attribution.

“The pilot was the pivotal turning point for us to prove to our leaders that this is a necessary solution that we can operationalize,” Jain said. “It’s been a phenomenal journey of taking an idea and executing it to build a solution.”

The innovation behind multiscreen attribution runs not only through Effectv, but throughout Comcast Advertising as a whole, including its FreeWheel business.

As the industry continues to evolve in how ads are marketed, sold, and delivered, these Comcast Advertising leaders are unifying data and insights, empowering publishers and advertisers alike to match audiences, scale campaigns and drive their businesses forward.

 

Candid of Comcast Advertising teammates in a conference room excitedly look at a laptop screen together.
Comcast Advertising

 

 

‘An All-In Team’

Jain relied on a supportive cross-functional team throughout the multiscreen attribution development process — a team built on a foundation of collaboration and a willingness to get things done. “My takeaways from this launch have been around organization and proactive communication,” she said. “To get the pilot going, there was a lot of rallying folks together and saying, ‘Hey, are you bought into this idea? Hop on, let’s get this done.’”

One person that helped rally the team together was Jared Solow, senior product manager for commercialization at Effectv.

“We all have our swim lanes and the jobs that we are ultimately responsible for, and we are all experts in our own right,” he said. “But this was an initiative where everyone stepped up to complete tasks outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. That’s the culture we have here — if something needs to be done, we’ll figure it out and find success together.”

Everyone stepped up to complete tasks outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. That’s the culture we have here — if something needs to be done, we’ll figure it out and find success together.”

 

When considering the internal stakeholders throughout the product development process, Jain knew each internal partner played a crucial role. “It takes a village,” she said.

The Effectv teams involved in the development process included engineering and development, design, legal, customer success, sales and sales operations, product marketing, analytics and measurement, and insights, among others — and Solow helped keep everyone moving ahead.

“Part of my role is understanding how we bring all of those people together to align on a common goal and make sure that everything we are doing has that goal in mind,” Solow said. “Everyone’s task is going to be different for the success of the project, but we all need to make sure we are focused on the same end and not in a silo trying to complete individual projects. If someone is making a client one-sheet, they’re actually interpreting what our data means and developing a narrative in alignment with another team.”

For Solow, that fast-paced, cross-functional teamwork is part of why he enjoys coming to work each day. “It’s hands-on from day one,” he said. “They encourage risk taking, which may result in mistakes and we learn from that. People want to see each other succeed.”

From a technical perspective, Jain added that the product and engineering partnerships continue to grow, establishing relationships that will power growth for both teams. “We have put a lot of energy into ensuring we have the best structure in place so that we can build and develop technology at a faster pace,” she said. 

 

Large group photo of Freewheel team members in an outdoor stage setup at Cannes, France.
Comcast Advertising

 

A ‘Reflective’ and Trusting Approach 

Finding balance is key to successful product development, said Julia Zangwill, senior director of product marketing at FreeWheel, a Comcast Advertising company. 

Zangwill’s team recently launched FreeWheel’s new Audience Manager solution and the “balance” she’s referring to is between moving fast and learning from the experience by reflecting.

“We need to show value and be as efficient with our resources as possible. As we scale, we are considering priorities across the organization — about sequencing our roll out, about regions and seasonality,” Zangwill said.

Similar to Effectv’s multiscreen attribution product, FreeWheel’s Audience Manager unifies data and simplifies insights, only this time focused on publishers. With Audience Manager, publishers can activate audiences for advertisers more quickly — and, so far, audience matching has improved on FreeWheel’s previous solution by a magnitude of three-to-four times. 

Andrew Ritenour, senior director of product management at FreeWheel, echoed Zangwill’s solutions-minded focus and trust in the expertise of cross-functional teammates, particularly as modeled by the leadership of Chief Product Officer David Dworin.

“David is always looking for the best idea in the room and to find a solution that solves real problems that clients are facing,” Ritenour said. “Our leaders give a lot of trust to the product team to do our homework and come back with the right solution. We had the opportunity to be thoughtful about how to approach Audience Manager for both customers and internal stakeholders.”

Luckily, those internal stakeholders served as thought partners and valuable resources for Ritenour throughout the development process, as well as his professional development, to keep him engaged on a daily basis.

“I enjoy working with people who have this depth of experience and knowledge in the media space and who are trying to solve the same problems that I am every day,” he said. “Beyond that, I feel like I’m at home at FreeWheel.”

On a professional level, Ritenour also highlighted the unique and interesting challenges and opportunities of working on the Comcast Advertising team. 

“We sit at the core of the industry,” he said. “We have exposure to and gain insight from the senior leaders who shape the media and advertising ecosystem on a day-to-day basis. You can go work at the big publishers — and I have — but you just won’t find this elsewhere.”

We have exposure to and gain insight from the senior leaders who shape the media ecosystem on a day-to-day basis. You can go work at the big publishers — and I have — but you just won’t find this elsewhere.”

 

After seven years at FreeWheel, Zangwill, too, has a long list of reasons she continues to grow with Comcast Advertising — great colleagues, interesting challenges to solve, benefits that support her family and, last but not least, the opportunity she sees to help transform the global television ecosystem. 

But one proof point stands out for why to join the team — boomerang employees.

“We’re seeing people come back to FreeWheel after experiencing how organizations work elsewhere,” Zangwill said. “It speaks so highly for the organization, and I have to say, I appreciate that.”

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Comcast Advertising.

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