Key takeaways from Mediatel’s Future of TV Advertising Global event
According to leading broadcasters, agencies and tech companies at Mediatel’s Future of TV Advertising Global summit, the current media landscape is brimming with equal opportunities and challenges. While TV is more successful than ever; it’s also facing constantly rising viewer fragmentation.
With the growing success of connected TV (CTV), subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) and advertising-based video on demand (AVOD), advertisers have more opportunities than ever to reach consumers. But effective measurement is difficult across such a broad spectrum of platforms that cater to widely varied audiences.
To get the most out of TV, the industry needs to implement innovative new measurement tools that allow advertisers to effectively optimise campaigns and get in front of the right audiences at the right time. Data collaboration and first-party data sharing will also be key to targeting in the near future, especially with greater consumer privacy regulations.
Here’s what we learned from the in-depth discussions during the two-day event.
The TV landscape is changing
The pandemic accelerated the already palpable shift in viewing habits towards digital. Roku’s recent report ‘The Streaming Decade’ highlights the increased popularity of streaming services in the UK, with 66% of viewers choosing streaming when they want to watch something everyone is talking about. Almost nine in 10 consumers are now TV streamers compared with seven in 10 who watch pay TV.
FreeWheel’s SVP and Chief Revenue Officer, International, Thomas Bremond, highlighted the accelerating impact of CTV on TV’s evolution. In the US, ad spend for CTV increased from $9.03 billion in 2020 to $14.44 billion in 2021. However, Bremond cautioned that while there is big demand for CTV inventory, TV is a highly valuable, premium format that can’t be sold in exactly the same way as digital. He stressed that alongside meeting the need for privacy-compliant data connections, broadcasters must use linear targeting methods – such as addressable TV – to unlock their inventories, while keeping control of their assets.
Measurement is key and the consumer is king
The importance of advertisers and broadcasters working collaboratively to create a unified measurement approach was a persistent theme across discussions.
One major measurement challenge is being able to combine data about what is being watched and who is actually watching across all platforms and devices. The Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) established Project Dovetail in an effort to address this challenge, and has already provided greater insights from both audience panel data and device-based data from Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVOD), which identifies TV shows watched on tablets, smartphones, and PCs.
Justin Sampson, BARB’s CEO, spoke about expanding audience panels to 7,000 homes this year and awarding long-term research contracts that will begin in 2024. BARB is also now providing SVOD and video sharing data in its daily audience reporting. This all contributes to the idea of a ‘total identified viewer’ — filling the gap of ‘who’ to help advertisers optimise their budgets and plan effective campaigns across various platforms.
Similarly, the CFlight initiative has brought major broadcasters Sky, ITV and Channel 4 together in the name of better measurement, encompassing advertising reach and frequency across linear and BVOD. The need for a unified approach is echoed in ISBA’s Origin programme – an advertiser-backed initiative created to work on a blueprint for cross-media measurement.
Of course, the importance of identifying key consumer behaviours is at the heart of these strategies, which was best summed up by Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox. He underlined the importance of focusing on people, because this is what ultimately matters to advertisers.
This sentiment was reflected in the ‘Masters of the Total TV Universe’ panel discussion, where speakers spotlighted the value of looking at all aspects of TV collectively. ‘Total TV’ encompasses linear TV, streaming services and CTV, and considers these platforms in line with consumer behaviour. To decipher the value of total TV across the whole ecosystem, advertisers must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to viewer habits.
Panellists agreed that there needs to be a collective definition and agreement of what TV is, with independent mediators at the measurement stage to ensure reliability. Mike Shaw, Director, International Ad Sales, at Roku cited the problem of data collection and management in the TV space by companies who are heavily invested in the outcomes. Innovation in measurement from independent ad tech companies and collaboration between platform owners, media owners and agencies will help solve this issue.
Advertisers and broadcasters need to collaborate
As compliance with ever-tightening privacy regulations becomes paramount, increased data collaboration between publishers, advertisers and broadcasters will be crucial in creating a fuller picture of audiences.
One solution is where advertisers and broadcasters each submit their own first-party data through clean room technology, so that shared insights can be gleaned. This will allow agencies to better plan campaigns and understand the return on ad spend in a closed loop.
Lara Izlan, Director of Data Strategy at ITV, described the potential for data matching using information from ITV Hub’s 34 million users, which includes the TV shows they watch, the devices they view them on, and demographic sign-up data. This would allow ITV to identify high-interest consumers and match them with companies’ offline metrics to improve their targeting capabilities.
Addressable TV delivers the goods
Addressable TV was another major talking point, especially in terms of data optimisation.
The benefits of addressable TV are already gaining wider recognition; giving advertisers the ability to show different ads to different consumers watching the same TV shows, it can be deployed across on-demand, linear and streaming platforms. The capacity it brings to target specific audiences with relevant content based on insights gleaned from data matching, as well as previous viewing habits, is seeing adoption climb steadily. Since 2014, addressable TV has enjoyed a global year-on-year growth of 38% and this is set to continue in the coming years.
One example demonstrated was a test campaign conducted with Pedigree, one of Mars Petcare’s biggest brands, as outlined by Samira Ebrahim, European ICP Strategy Director at Mars Pet Nutrition. Using YouGov data, the brand targeted pet-owning households with ads promising to make donations to dog shelters for every item sold. The campaign was hugely successful and presents a strong case for addressable TV.
Richard Fuller, Senior Director of Engagement at Finecast, emphasised how addressable TV already allows marketers to engage audiences at the top of the funnel, but with increased measurement capabilities there’s an opportunity to trace anonymised cohorts of consumers across the entire funnel. For example, advertisers could measure online engagement and internet searches post-ad to determine consumer purchase intent and track sales to calculate ROI.
Overall, the event discussions illustrated that, despite ongoing and forthcoming challenges, viable solutions are emerging to take the TV space forward. Key takeaways were the need for companies to collaborate on data collection and the importance of greater interoperability between media companies, brands, and tech vendors to enhance measurement and optimise targeting; both of which will promote greater transparency and help to create a clearer picture of consumer habits across ever-evolving channels.