FreeWheel's Cannes Lions 2023 Message: Refresh the Viewer Experience

By Comcast Advertising InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: FreeWheel's Cannes Lions 2023 Message: Refresh the Viewer Experience

As Cannes Lions unfolds June 19-23, FreeWheel, a Comcast-owned global technology platform for the TV advertising industry, will use the event to unify the advertisers and content makers in attendance by upgrading how people experience watching television.

"We're attending to connect with all of the other smart thinkers in our industry," explains David Dworin (pictured), FreeWheel's Chief Product Officer. "A big thing we'll be talking about is how we can optimize the viewer experience, focusing on the people watching the content … and make sure they have the best experience. That's the way we can make sure advertisers get the most value of their advertisements and their media dollars. Publishers (of content) can have the most trusted relationships with those viewers, keep them coming back, and keep making great content. We're really excited to put the focus there."

Dworin's back for his second Cannes Lions visit on FreeWheel's behalf. He feels that a search for common ground in giving consumers quality TV programming and commercials that respect their values is more imperative than ever. "From the technical execution down to the relevance of the ad you're looking at, the viewer is getting the best experience possible," he insists. "You should have the most seamless (delivery) with minimal interruptions. It should transition you from the story you've chosen to watch and the story the advertisers are showing you in the most seamless way possible."

That objective is a must for all parties to work out, Dworin believes, as more people turn from regularly watching linear broadcast and cable networks with as many as 20 minutes of messages per hour and three or four minutes or more inside each commercial break, to services distributed through smart TV products and multichannel bundles that run three to five minutes of commercials per hour with each break 90 seconds or less. Whatever solutions come about, they must deal with technical, scheduling and creative issues.

"There are a lot of things that take people out of their viewing experience," he adds. "One of them is seeing the same ad over and over again. It's (also) not great for the viewer or the advertiser to see too many ads or back-to-back ads. These problems detract from the experience, along with ads that are not relevant to you." On the other hand, when these problems can be solved, viewers "get presented with product information that keeps them engaged with these different platforms.

"Because viewers opt in to watch less ad-supported content, you need to make sure you are delivering the best message possible at the best time to the right people, because you get fewer shots at it," he continues. "It also means the inventory is way more valuable. You want to use this inventory as efficiently as possible and as effectively as possible."

FreeWheel is hosting meetings and technology demonstrations, some organized with support from individual clients, with a variety of advertising and programming officials throughout Cannes Lions. Expect several meetings to showcase tech in the areas of audience targeting, audience measurement and clean advertising environments. Dworin promises to save time for on-the-spot conversations with attendees that come with innovative practices worth considering. He advises other visitors to budget time for executive connections and checking out new ideas.

Dworin expects interactive advertising, video commerce, viewer reward campaigns and other developing trends to get major attention at Cannes Lions, resulting in a tryout of innovative approaches after the event. "We're supporting an ecosystem where people can experiment with all of these different innovations in the way that makes sense for their brand and their content," he says. "Where we're focused is making sure that the full experience from end to end is as flawless as possible.

"One of the things that happens with innovation is the level of complexity needs to rise," Dworin concludes. "You might have proprietary technology you need to deploy or insert. You might need user action to happen in a different way. They add complexity to the stable nature of TV advertising. One thing we want to do with technology is simplify all of that complexity, so that people can continue to innovate without disrupting the user interface or the user experience through technical or creative challenges."

From Monday, June 19 to Thursday June 22, you’re invited to attend the FreeWheel beach for a packed schedule of can’t-miss activities, plus one-on-one sessions all four days.

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