The Future of TV is Data-Driven


If you’ve been following the industry talks on the state of the TV landscape, then you’ve heard repeatedly that it’s the end of TV advertising. But, while countless experts stated the medium’s eventual death, something else happened: Traditional TV as we now know it evolved.
Television content is now being consumed in more places than ever before. Evolving video consumption habits have already revealed a new definition of television where the world of linear TV and digital are merging.
This will rule the new marketplace, defining how every player within the ecosystem conducts its business.
TV broadcasters recognised the need to disrupt the traditional advertising model to be able to provide advertisers the flexibility and control feasible online. They recognised that the future of TV is data-driven.

Connected TV is introducing new opportunities
At the centre of the TV-digital convergence is the ongoing growth in content consumption of live and on-demand TV shows through connected TVs. This is introducing new opportunities for TV and helping it maintain
its prominent position.
Addressable and connected TV made the TV industry enter the territory that digital marketers have long operated in: addressable audiences, targeting capabilities and viewership data. Advertisers can buy TV
inventory against advanced audience targets on programmatic platforms in addition to direct sales. Results no longer take months tobe delivered, and campaigns can be optimised in real-time. That’s the promise of data-driven TV targeting.
This sounds great. However, much of the talk around addressable TV is still hype as many technology and data access constraints are holding addressable TV back from becoming mainstream. So even though many of the sources of addressable TV data are promising, most are currently limited in scale, which is reflected in the tiny contribution of addressable TV to the larger TV advertising pie. eMarketer estimates just 3.7 per cent ($2.54bn) of all US TV ad spending will come from addressable TV in 2019.
While networks, MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors), vendors and investors are navigating their media businesses and creating roadmaps for five to 10-plus years, advertisers demand solutions today that can help them build their brands and businesses.

Data-driven TV Is more than addressable and connected
Here’s the thing: You don’t need addressable to do better targeting on TV. While waiting for addressability at scale to happen, advertisers can target better by indexing audiences against linear TV viewership, known as
data-driven linear.
This allows buyers to identify shows that index high against their target segments rather than buy against them. The result is enabling marketers to plan TV campaigns using specific audience segments instead ofbroad age and gender demographics. So that if, say, professionals who are frequent travelers indexed high against “The Voice”, advertisers would be able to buy ads on “The Voice” but the audience would not be segmented – the ad would reach everyone watching the show.
The scale and cost efficiencies of linear TV advertising continue to reign supreme. Audience-indexed linear TV is a great technique for advertisers to improve their TV investments and will continue to be in the coming years.

Audience-driven planning for linear TV advertising is taking hold globally
TV networks globally are building a suite of advanced data-driven ad products that enable marketers to improve their linear buys with data-driven linear targeting. Three or four years ago, NBCU, Viacom, Turner and others launched their data products and it took advertisers some time to adopt them as they
started to see results. The TV industry is slowly starting to offer secondary, audience-based guarantees in addition to demos guarantees. NBCU committed to $1bn in audience guarantees in the 2017-2018 upfront season.
The next development in this space was OpenAP, the TV industry’s first open platform for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent third-party measurement. OpenAP is a coalition of rival TV networks
coming together to offer advertisers access to advanced audiences at scale, with the highest quality TV content available across screen. The first goal is to create standardised definitions for target audiences that advertisers could use for planning with various networks. The second is to deliver third-party reports on the effectiveness of campaigns aimed at these target audiences. For now, the platform only allows buyers to find the shows that index best against their target segments rather than buy against them. The trading is still happening directly with the individual networks.

Outcome-based measurement advances
Measurement for TV advertising is becoming more accountable and moving beyond GRPs, CPMs and ratings. Attribution tools have emerged allowing advertisers to measure TV with performance-based metrics, gain insights on audience habits and target them in the time and place where they are more likely respond. By leveraging spot and response data, advertisers can now use those learnings to optimise their linear TV buys.
This is the first step towards accountable and measurable TV, which remains the most powerful medium to build a brand’s business. Greater focus on outcomes will yield even more credit for the TV industry.
And in a sign of the growing importance of attribution, we’re starting to see early adopters in the TV industry working with advertisers to guarantee that TV commercials will drive sales. The remaining question is:
Will we eventually see the advertising industry moving toward sales as the primary guarantee for advertising transactions?

Data and new technologies are shaping TV’s current evolution, and in the near future we can expect to see this resilient medium getting stronger. TV campaigns will be more targeted and effective. Advertisers will optimise performance by measuring short- and long-term impact. In the data economy, it’s time for us in MENA to come together as an industry to advance the mission of making audience buying more effective, consistent and
transparent. It’s time we collaborate to improve measurement and create smarter, data-driven TV solutions.

Are you on board?