Peering Into the Crystal Ball at the TV of Tomorrow Conference

By Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: Peering Into the Crystal Ball at the TV of Tomorrow Conference

Every December in New York we are given an opportunity to map out the future developments in media at the TV of Tomorrow conference.  This year the event focused on hot topics such as attribution, addressable advertising and data -- and how these three areas impact content creation and sales.  The major takeaways follow:

Addressable Advertising Advances

"Traditional TV was a one-to-many ad medium where all would see the same ad," explained Brett Hurwitz, Business Lead, Advanced TV, Oath. "Addressable is not the case.  It delivers a direct ad to the most relevant individuals.  It is individualized advertising."

According to Amy Leifer, Vice President Sales Planning and Operations, Xandr, there is huge potential in addressable.  "When you use data to attract audiences, it is more meaningful," she declared.  "omes are so much better than using blunt media.  The reality is that it works regardless of whatever vertical you use, and it continues to grow because it works."  Xandr, AT&T's new advertising division, launched its addressable product seven years ago.

Interestingly, companies such as AT&T and Dish are now partnering on certain addressable initiatives, such as the political advertising marketplace, where they need scale and reach.  "They are a competitor, but we are combining our audiences in certain markets," Leifer noted.  "We have an office in Washington, D.C., that is dedicated to that marketplace."

Desirable niche targets sometimes pose a risk in addressable.  There is a need to monitor "which households are seeing any given ad far too many times," advised Kevin Arrix, Senior Vice President of Dish Media.  "It is difficult to control because sequencing is sold by certain GRPs."

Understand How to Leverage Content

Karen Leever, President, U.S. Digital Products, Discovery, understands the importance of content format in attracting the right consumer on the right platform.  "Consumers deserve ubiquity of content and we need to give them reasons to come back," she explained.  Discovery offers full seasons on-demand and, with key tentpoles like Shark Week, the company strives to "go deeper on those for super fans" by offering short-form content (8-15 minutes in length) tied to the event that they especially enjoy.

Leever measures their success by the number of streams and minutes watched, which she examines every day for both long- and short-form programs.  In addition, Discovery has a social media initiative and has developed a robust social media community.  "We have 300 million social media fans," she noted.  Discovery partners with such companies as Group 9, Dodo and Seeker, which helps to age down their linear TV demographic.  But this effort is only used to build awareness.  "There is not a lot of access to programming over social media," she explained. "Viewers must go to the provider."

Google sources news rather than creates it, and there are no plans at this time to go beyond aggregating.  "It is not our core competency, not in our DNA," said Rebekah Dopp, Principal, News and Local Media Global Partnerships, Google.  "We are not content creators, but a platform.  We do all we can do to maintain the integrity of those who provide content."

Attribution Is Hitting Its Stride

Media companies and agencies are focusing more and more on attribution.  "Attribution is a super-hot topic," said Tracy Swedlow, Co-founder and CEO, TMRW Corp, the parent company of TV of Tomorrow.

For agencies, it is important to manage for frequency and understand targets that are applied to linear space, according to Helen Katz, Senior Vice President, Global Director of Data and Contract, Publicis Spine.  Creative has been a bigger challenge, she noted, because there aren't always multiple versions of creative that can be used for targeting.  "We are in a learning curve," she explained.  But it is possible to measure success:  Katz has seen sellers guarantee against the outcome in addition to the GRPs.  And yes, "they have to hit both guarantees," she added.

Media companies have to create their own benchmarks in this new and emerging space because there is little history to rely upon. "We update our guidelines every year," Katz said.

Data Continues to Rule

Donna Speciale, President of Turner Ad Sales, is a big proponent of data to help sales maximize the value of their inventory.  Their work with AT&T's Xandr has been formalized this past June and now they are working closely, collaborating and gathering data to enhance their current products. Xandr offers Turner access to AT&T first-party data for 25 million set-top boxes and 147 million mobile devices.

"Our goals are to enhance our audience products, making them faster, [and] to have real-time optimization, so we can post a lot quicker and cleaner," Speciale said.  She is hoping [Turner will] get to national addressable.  "We're not there yet," she admitted.  "To me, it would have to get to at least a 50% mark for it to be a viable option.  It's hard for us to do anything of that size, because we won't get credit for anything that deviates in a national footprint for C3.  Nielsen needs one marketer for a national unit."  If ads are split between two different advertisers, Turner would lose that national rating for that telecast.

In the meantime, Turner is doing beta testing to make the data actionable within audience segments.  Speciale expects to announce new products by 2Q 2019.  She also plans on being able to do her own attribution instead of going to third-party sources.  "We've got to get out of the demo and into audiences," she stated.

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