Fragmentation has meant the whole world has changed for audiences, and advertisers. An ever-growing array of emerging streaming services—from Paramount+ to Peacock—has joined a constellation of longtime players, leading to a rich bounty of programming options for consumers and brands alike. Meanwhile, audiences are using more devices than ever to consume all of the programming available to them to watch.
The more TV viewership fragments, the more difficult innovation, evolution and growth will be without solutions that address this fragmentation for advertisers.
Why? Because while each of the players must serve their own audiences and their own advertisers, industry progress may also depend on a cohesive effort that involves all parties where necessary. Here are the four areas where TV advertising industry experts have their sights set in order to drive growth in the space.
Audience engagement has changed significantly—from the rise of digital devices to the explosion of streaming options—and yet the processes for measurement have not necessarily kept up with those changes, argued Monique Nelson, CEO of marketing agency UWG. “Measurement needs to be just as dynamic as our industry, just as dynamic as the brands that we serve,” she said. “It’s time to innovate, which means we need more people at the party to get a more elegant outcome.”
Shreya Kushari, chief client officer at communications agency OMD USA, also noted that traditional ways we’ve measured consumer experiences need to evolve. “It cannot just be panel-based, where it takes seven months to a year to find out the impact,” she said. “We’ve just got to move faster and more accurately.”
DirecTV is one company that’s coming up with solutions, including offering an addressable product and a guarantee on impressions for over a decade. “It’s really exciting right now because there’s so many different additional options, but we need partnership across the ecosystem, between the buy side and sell sides, to make this scalable,” Amy Leifer, chief ad sales officer at DirecTV, said.
Addressability is a developing solution that’s on its way to becoming available at scale for advertisers, according to Larry Allen, VP and general manager of addressable enablement at Comcast Advertising. “We all have to be able to work together [to] really enable value for our clients and create an opportunity that everyone can benefit from television.”
Finding industry solutions is important when working for any agency and with any brand, said Jason Kanefsky, management partner of market intelligence at Havas Media. “That’s important for P&G, and it’s important for the smallest accounts—if you’re spending $1 or spending $100 million or $4 billion,” he said. “So having the collective put the resources against it for all of us to succeed is in the best interest of the entire industry and for the consumers we’re trying to reach for TV.”
Gina Mingioni, senior VP of strategy and operations at Comcast Advertising, noted that with TV fragmentation, and the multitude of different processes and different technologies, the industry must work to reduce friction and bring scale to addressability. That comes in the form of having different technologies able to interoperate across one another and working to identify existing areas of commonality.
“You think about something like the programmers being addressably enabled across multiple distributors, but they have different processes, they may have different SLAs,” she explained. “So how can we find areas that remove that friction and make it simpler to transact? Because we need that in order to be able to drive scale.”
3. Data enablement
As Leifer put it, advertisers want to reach their targets—not a variety of consumers who are never going to buy their products. “At this moment, when we finally have the ability to aggregate data in a meaningful way, we can do that in partnership with any agency and any advertiser across all these platforms by using amazing technologies,” she said.
The industry has to move beyond the traditional ways of buying and targeting audiences, according to Kushari. As she explained, “We have to look at the behaviors and not just the demographics. And that can only happen if we look at addressable audiences and say, there’s a better way to measure, there’s a better way to target.”
It’s safe to say industry players on all sides are focused on innovation. As Mark McKee, executive VP and general manager of Freewheel, put it: “The antidote to fragmentation must be collaboration but, more specifically, unification,” added. “How do buyers and sellers speak, interact and work together?”
While every client and agency must think about innovation to drive their own business forward—whether it’s innovation in measurement, programming or another area—the industry can benefit from a vision for where it’s going, said Kanefsky. “Every client and agency needs to have their own view, but it does have to work within the collective,” he said, “because otherwise, none of us accomplishes anything at all.”