A generational change in television advertising is underway. The industry is, first at the national level but certainly moving into local television, moving beyond buying and selling based on gender/age demographics and into advanced audience targeting. USIM’s Mitch Oscar, a strategist with a leading independent agency named “programmatic TV agency of the year,” led a panel of industry experts in discussing key trends and where we’re seeing receptivity and resistance to change. Overall, impressive progress is finally evolving but at a much slower pace than industry leaders expected or wanted.
The industry experts joining the discussion were: Brett Hurwitz, AOL; Audrey Steele, FOX; Andrew Feigenson, Nielsen Catalina Solutions; Dave Morgan, SimulMedia; Lorne Brown, SintecMedia and David Tucker, SwellShark.
USIM’s Oscar started off by analyzing the evolutionary phases of linear television and advanced audience targeting for advertising. The movement toward data-driven audience buyings dates back to 2000 with what Oscar termed, “Contextual Assets Networks.” Examples in the national TV market included ABC Unlimited, ESPN Brand Partnerships, NBC Connect, News Corp One, Time Warner Global Solutions and Viacom Plus. Fast-forward to 2017 and we’ve now got the “Contextual Audience Networks” such as A&E Precision, Discovery Engage, Fox AIM, NBCU Audience Studio, Turner Ignite and Viacom Vantage. While these players all focus on the national TV market, advanced TV, programmatic and other solutions are breaking into local or spot TV. Oscar concluded by observing his count and categorization of the various players showing how fast the space has evolved and how complicated it has become.
The goal for these initiatives is to make linear television a more precision tool in for audience targetingakin to what buyers use and like with digital platforms.
FOX’s Audrey Steele said, “We’re now working on 200+ deals with clients using advanced TV audience targeting.” Overall, she finds there is, “enthusiastic receptivity to audience targeting and results based buying.” Even so, she cautions that when moving from informational to execution meetings, she’s “seeing more resistance than initially expected.” The issue really is how comfortable clients are with data. Steele noted that just last week, FOX along with partners Turner and Viacom launched the OpenAP ad sales targeting consortium to make data-driven audience buying easier for clients linear TV (i.e., broadcast and cable television).
Several of the speakers agreed that overlaying audience targeting and media mix goals can confound strategy and execution. When the mix side comes in, one of the issues is how to make that as predictable as mix models in linear TV. Getting out of using GRP and CPP metrics and into audience targets is the best path forward.
SintecMedia’s Lorne Brown spoke to the issue of cross-platform workflow and inventory management from the publisher’s perspective. “When I do the buy, ship to team, what happens?” He argued that what publishers need is, “a universal product catalog that ties together publisher inventory in both linear TV and digital platforms for efficient yield management and operations”. Brown visualized the basic problem as, “We can’t have a salesperson forced to log in to multiple systems to see the inventory that can be executed, and then map execution across systems to manage inventory. People inside the business know where/how it all works.”