"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Tracey Scheppach, CEO at Matter More Media.
We are on a path to full addressable TV+, a world where every ad exposure can be delivered to a desired household or even individual, regardless of whether it is a linear ad or one delivered on-demand in the myriad ways possible today or in the future (hence the +). At this point there should be no debate. We are undergoing a technological change in the way content is distributed.
This week, many of us will head to CES to envision the consumer’s future in roughly three years. What will be showcased is the technology used to entertain and connect, but as always, what will be neglected is how the technology is siloed or how TV+ can be harmonized for the consumer’s universal nirvana.
In an earlier article I examined the bedrock of TV viewing – linear TV – and the opportunity to transform how 30 billion hours of viewing per month are consumed. Content can be better monetized through addressable approaches using set-top boxes, smart TVs or other methods that will be on display at CES. But likely the hardest part is how linear will be harmonized with the rapidly growing on-demand viewing space to provide a seamless consumer experience – especially as it relates to advertising.
The rapidly growing on-demand viewing category is pure opportunity. CES assembles the right kind of people to bring the potential to life, if they’re willing to have some different conversations.
I get that this cultural explosion scares many people in the TV industry, but there is a silver lining everyone needs to recognize. On-demand viewing, by its very nature, is addressable and built for higher advertising value and better content monetization. When content is not broadcast to masses but selected individually by the viewer, the ads can be tailored to the consumer, driving up the value to the advertiser.
But to harness this silver lining it must be coordinated with linear to harness the power of universal addressable TV+. This is the hard part, but it starts with understanding the technology, measurement and mindsets to overcome siloed technologies, inconsistent measurement and divergent agendas.
So what can we do and what questions can we ask at this year’s Vegas pilgrimage?
Technology will be on display, but take special note of any technology that allows for changes in the way content is delivered. Delivery should be faster, cheaper, more accurate and particularly designed for a one-to-one delivery. Look for 5G and beyond, and look for ATSC 3.0. Ask questions about who is in control of this technology, its privacy management and their plans to distribute content of all kinds. This is where transformation originates. From this inspiration, we need to assess consumer impact.
Measurement might not be sexy enough to be on display at CES, but it is the absolute underpinning of our ecosystem. And it is, currently, a damn mess. Without gold standard measurement the consumer experience will suck, and we could further perpetuate messes that will last decades.
Start asking the questions: Are frameworks transparent? Are audiences representative of our diverse demographics? Is our gold standard independent? How’s the quality of the data? Is the model privacy-compliant and adaptable to changes in consumer sentiment? Is a measurement approach transformational but not so disruptive that we leave behind the good parts of our past methods? Will the measurement account for the various ways addressable ads can be sold, replaced and delivered, including traditional C3/C7, set-top boxes or smart TVs?
And maybe most important, does the provided measurement account for real people (not devices) and total all of the impressions delivered across all potential platforms? Too much of our measurement is siloed by technology, content and platform fiefdoms, preventing marketers from storytelling in a way that builds brands, sells products and does not annoy the hell out of consumers. Get it together, literally.
With that, likely the most important thing on display at CES is our leaders’ mindsets. I have witnessed many leaders begin to shift their traditional ways of thinking, but is it enough? Is the shift genuine, and is it fast enough? Listen carefully during presentations and meetings. Read the marketing materials, read the press reports and listen to responses. Do you hear walls going up? Do you hear defenses of a particular technology or approach, or do you hear leaders discuss true collaboration and transformation of the role they play in a larger ecosystem?
If we want a different world, we need to connect with people at CES and beyond to spark different conversations to harness a fully coordinated viewing experience. More conversations for change will guarantee we’re on track for less waste and fewer lost opportunities. Future nirvana won’t happen by luck.