With video and TV viewing fragmenting across numerous devices, services and apps, advertisers are more challenged than ever to efficiently build holistic, measurable TV ad campaigns. That has created a big opening for major platforms like Google/YouTube, Facebook and others to differentiate themselves with single source, in-depth user data that can be mined for targeted campaigns across their massive audiences.
Concerned by these dynamics and the precedent of how platforms seized ad dollars from print publishers, NAB Show is seeking to play a leadership role, forming a new digital committee including executives from TV networks, pay-TV operators and TV station owners. The committee, headed by Lorne Brown, Founder and CEO of Operative, a leading video ad tech provider, held its first invite-only meeting a few weeks ago at the NAB Show.
Lorne briefed me on the committee’s goals and work process. Explaining the committee’s purpose and the industry’s changing situation, Lorne cited advertisers’ “frustration” in targeting across different TV networks, increasing levels of time-shifting and ad-skipping and a “measurement mess” that doesn’t have a near-term resolution despite progress from Nielsen and the Rentrak-comScore merger.
More recently, TV networks have been investing heavily in their own data platforms to enhance targeting in linear and on-demand. Improved targeting is essential to driving higher CPMs necessary to offset reduced ad loads, which are rolling out across a number of TV networks.
But because these data platforms are all custom developed and the data sources vary, unifying a buy across them, with a consistent understanding of what audiences are being bought is impossible. Ultimately, this is a main focus of the committee’s work, according to Lorne: “to create standards for measurement vs. pushing a million different things.” These standards would be used in linear and digital, to innovate and grow revenues. Lorne said that no other group is focusing this way or has the range of industry executives involved.
The committee currently includes 22 ad executives from ABC, AT&T Ad Works, Cablevision, CBS, Charter Media, Comcast Spotlight, Cox, Discovery, ESPN, Hulu, NBC, Sinclair Digital Group, Turner, Univision, Verizon/AOL, Viacom and Vice.
For its part, NAB Show shared a statement saying that “The committee grew from an effort that started with a really simple mission: to ensure that NAB Show continued serving the interests of the TV advertising ecosystem. Through that effort, and with Lorne’s help, we came to understand there’s real industry enthusiasm for a TV-first discussion on how the TV ad product can evolve across linear and digital platforms. We’re excited by the early response and as the world’s largest media technology event, NAB Show is a natural platform for this group.”
Note, Lorne will be moderating a session at the June 14th VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on the topic of “Reaching Audiences at Scale: Will TV Succeed in the Digital Age,” which will drill down on many of the above issues and what TV networks are doing to compete with big platforms. The session is a key part of the conference’s overall theme of how TV and video advertising are converging.