Cadent's Road Map to a Unified TV Ad Future: A United Front

By Cadent InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Cadent's Road Map to a Unified TV Ad Future: A United Front

If the advertising industry is en route to an environment where the majority of billions spent on television reaches smart TV sets, devices and programming services, it must first work out a comprehensive, united strategy to work through a current and near-term normal. In that environment, advertisers and agencies continue to implement campaigns through a mix of linear broadcast, cable, multicast and smart TV-circulated services. That was the bottom line among executives participating in "Bridging the Digital and Terrestrial Divide," one of the virtual panels at last week's Interactive Advertising Bureau's technology lab conference. Mike Midden, Director of Product Management at IAB's tech lab, moderated the session.

For Jamie Power, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced TV Operations and Chief Data Officer at Cadent, a company offering advanced TV campaign resources, all sides of the marketplace, including clients, agencies and content services, must, as the late 1960s hit anthem from The Youngbloods preaches, get together.

"Technology will help us unify the audiences and the screens," she explained. "Tech will get us there, and not the full way. The sell side has to work together with us. We have to iron out the issues with smart TV. We have to do more advance planning (with campaigns) and eliminate the walled gardens."

At the moment overall, "there's nothing really unified," said Dentsu Amplifi Executive Vice President and Head of U.S. Media Investment Cara Lewis. "That's the biggest barrier and hurdle. There's all sorts of things to activate." A variety of TV platforms to deal with means a variety of approaches to craft and carry out campaigns from addressable to audience-based buying practices, she added.

Don't put all the focus on new tech developments to resolve this divide, advised Adam Gaynor, Vizio's Vice President of Network Partnerships. "The industry is moving so fast," he said. "This is not as much a tech issue. For the most part, it's business rules, moving billions out of a linear world into a digital ecosystem."

A few hours earlier, Vizio -- a leading smart TV maker -- announced the beginning of dynamic, addressable ad insertion among more than 11.2 million sets across the nation, using Project OAR (Open Addressable Ready), the format developed by a consortium of media organizations. Channels from AMC Networks, Fox, Warner Media and Discovery Inc. are now or soon will be running addressable ads through Vizio's sets, and Univision is prepping a beta trial for deployment later this year. More than a month ago, Vizio showcased its SmartCast content bundle at IAB's Digital Content NewFronts and introduced plans to co-create a group of new linear services, starting with an e-sports channel this summer.

With more than 82 percent of all U.S. households owning smart TV products and watching tens of billions of hours of programming and apps through them, about $13.5 billion is expected to be spent on smart TV inventory this year, compared with more than $70 billion for all TV inventory. Smart TV's portion of this overall ad pie is anticipated to more than double by mid-decade.

Power agreed that universal adoption of addressability will be a major tactic to bridge the current and long-term future TV ad environment. Another is to match campaigns, whether based on audience or impressions or reach, to an engaging viewer experience. "Audiences will not accept the frequency of (specific) ads all over these platforms," she said.

"The industry must deal with personalizing the ad experience without beating people over the head with the same ads," Lewis maintained. "Otherwise, there will be no inventory to sell."

Let a variety of organizations contribute solutions for workflow, data and creativity problems that arise, advocated DISH Media General Manager of Products and Programs Stephen Jutras. "It's also important to structure your stuff. Be transparent and have people converge sales tactics together."

"If you're clear on what you want to work, do the work and figure out what you want to learn," Power added. "Set up the design to prove what (results) you want to see. Make sure you don't outprice the deal. Do the math and don't be greedy."

In Gaynor's thinking, the sooner all sides of the advertising business bring their best new practices and solutions into everyone's radar screen, the sooner and smoother the transition from one environment to the next will happen. "Let's not push the goal posts down the road," he warned.

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