At either end of the multichannel bundle spectrum, DISH Media has a solution. The DISH Network division handles campaigns involving big multi-network lineups, distributed among more than 10.2 million satellite consumers. DISH Media also represents Sling TV, the multi-platform skinny bundle with more than 2.3 million subscribers. In both cases, DISH Media utilizes the two or three minutes per hour offered for affiliate sale by ad-supported networks for linear and addressable messages.
How is the proliferation of smart TV sets and TV-connected devices, now deployed by more than two-thirds of all U.S. TV households, impacting DISH Media's business? Quite positively, especially for Sling TV, said Kevin Arrix, Senior Vice President of the division. "It only adds continued exposure to consumers who are looking for skinny bundle options," he explained. "From our point of view, we're bringing advanced television advertising solutions to this marketplace. We can offer everything from linear, to data-driven linear, to addressable, to connected TV or over-the-top. We're enlivened by the distribution growth we see with these platforms because we think it only adds increasing scale to our full portfolio."
Arrix and Sean Robertson, General Manager of DISH's Programmatic and Addressable Advertising, participated in separate panels November 1 during NYC Television Week to deliver that message. The panels -- one during a full day of panels devoted to the advanced advertising marketplace, the other part of the annual Next TV Summit -- explored what future TV opportunities can come about via smart sets and devices.
Robertson believes TV is entering the long-touted era of convergence, where individual programs, content networks and applications are running simultaneously on TVs, smartphones, tablets and computers. With that, he also suggests that data will continue to advance and new robust forms of attribution will appear. "As new forms of measurement come about, we'll use them in (OTT and addressable buys)," says Robertson.
DISH prides itself as a technology company at heart, which is why the future of advertising is so frequently talked about at DISH Media. "One example of taking a step closer to [a future] opportunity is the voice-enabled technology we use on our remote controls," Arrix said during an exclusive post-panel interview. "That can be a catalyst for interactive opportunities moving forward."
Consumer demand and the growth of artificial intelligence-powered voice features inside smart TVs and devices such as Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri and Bixby will determine how soon an interactive ad and retail business happens, Arrix estimated. "The (consumer) behavior is there, but you need technology that brings value to the consumer. We're close. You'll start to see some meaningful experiments in the back half of 2019."
Those experiments could be quite meaningful, according to other participants on Arrix's panel. Jim Keller, Hulu's Vice President, Head of National Advertising Sales, already considers smart TVs "the prime entertainment hub" sponsors want to exploit in great fashion. "Nearly 80 percent of our content (is watched) through the living room," he noted. "That's up from 40 percent through TVs (last year)."
"Many ad agencies are putting a line item (for smart TVs) in their plans for 2019," added Brian Hunt, Head of CompulseOTT, Sinclair Broadcast Group's ad sales venture covering connected TV/device commercials.
For Arrix, the key takeaway from both NYC Television Week panels is that the sooner the audience measurement process transforms, the sooner every platform owner sees their sales picture brighten up for the long term. "We (first) need to close the gap on measurement to show marketers which consumers they are reaching, when they are reaching them and that there's no duplication between the two," he asserted. "Loud and clear, consumers are in control and are watching the content they want to watch, however and whenever they want. That [habit] will only continue to increase."
For more on addressable and OTT advertising, visit www.dishmediasales.com.
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