Targeted TV Ads May Reduce Channel Switching; Advertisers Increasingly Avoid Hard News

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UK broadcaster Sky TV released findings from a five-year study of 52,000 commercial breaks. The company found that when addressable ads were served for the first three ads in a commercial break, channel switching rates dropped by almost half compared to linear TV spots, The Drum reports. “TV is well-known for its impressive brand building abilities,” said Jamie West, Sky Media’s director of strategy and capability planning. “Now with clear evidence of the effective performance of highly targeted campaigns across TV, its full potential is being discovered.” More.

Hard News? Hard Pass. 

Because many advertisers won’t buy programmatic ads next to words like “shooter,” “immigration” or “Trump,” hard news and investigative pieces are less lucrative than feel-good or lifestyle news, The Wall Street Journal reports. But advertisers are unsympathetic to the fact that they could be hurting journalism – because being next to these headlines is bad business. Fidelity said it blocks keywords from headlines for better “relevance,” Subway wants to be near moments of “positivity” and Colgate wants to “advertise where people are most likely to be receptive to what we have to say.” Even programmatic king Google doesn’t advertise next to 500 terms, including hard news mainstays like “racism” and “FBI.” It also (perhaps for separate reasons) steers clear of the terms “antitrust” and “privacy.” More.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

In an interview with CNBC, former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes criticized the strategic rationale of “vertical integration” mergers between telco and media companies. Vertical integration was of course the rationale for Time Warner’s 2018 sale to AT&T, though Bewkes doesn’t reference that deal directly. “It’s not so much a question of whether a piece of content or content provider owns a distribution entity, because frankly there will always be multiple competing content developers and competing distribution outlets,” said Bewkes. “That means by definition that narrowing either the distribution for your content or narrowing the source of content for your distribution platform is a fairly suspect premise.” Full article and video. 

Got Your Digits

People often use their mobile number when signing up to use apps or sites. Or they punch it in at the cash register for discounts or email receipts. Brian Fung, a New York Times columnist, encourages a new exercise. “Before you hand over your number, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?” With so many people online now, a mobile phone number can be the strongest connection to an individual, who probably shares a name with someone else. And mobile numbers are the link between the one-to-one marketing world and offline data sources. Starting with only Fung’s number, attackers could pull data that would allow them to reset passwords and accounts for systems that use security questions like “mother’s maiden name” or “previous home addresses.” That said, there are lots of legitimate reasons to share a phone number. One idea is to create a second throwaway number for sign-ups, as many people do with emails. “Unfortunately, there is no neat solution.” More.

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