The problem with TV Everywhere from the advertiser's perspective is that it creates a hierarchy around content that didn’t used to exist.
For instance, the Tennis Channel has an array of programming arrangements with a number of carriers like DISH Network TV, DirecTV and Comcast. Tennis Channel also serves up a Tennis Channel Everywhere app and a new over-the-top subscription channel, Tennis Channel Plus, which is used as a cross-promotional opportunity for its standard digital and mobile properties.
Is inventory across all these channels worth the same? Networks aren't sure yet. Right now, advertising in a TV Everywhere environment is more about potential.
“We see TV Everywhere as a basis to deliver other products and ad opportunities,” said Adam Ware, the Tennis Channel’s SVP of digital media, at the TV Of Tomorrow Show's over-the-top TV production panel in New York this winter, but added that advertisers are rightfully confused about getting an accurate read on reach across multiple platforms.
“People talk impressions, completed views and time spent,” Ware said, but unified cross-platform measurement still lags.
Measurement technology is only partially a problem, and one that might be better addressed in a year, assuming comScore and Nielsen enhance cross-device measuring capabilities.
But beyond measurement, content providers are sometimes stymied by existing silos in the chain of command both at the network and agency level, which makes it hard to deliver on new creative or to gain access to vaunted audience data.
At this early stage, most ads shown on TV Everywhere products are direct sold and serve as way to test the waters with new content. After all, there needs to be an audience in order to attract new advertisers.
It remains to be seen, though, whether consumers want to see ads in these new unbundled environments in the first place.
“It goes back to the consumer,” Starcom MediaVest’s Scheppach said. “I don’t always want to pay X amount [for a subscription upsell]. In some cases I’d rather see five ads related to [tennis] near Chicago, where I live.”