Powered by RTL Group | October 2018

The Future of TV is Now

A new generation of software platforms and data solutions that unify linear TV and digital media advertising is playing a crucial role in making the dream of Advanced TV a reality.

Despite the inflammatory headlines about declining ratings and measurable drops in adspend1, TV remains one of the most compelling media for consumers, and thus the advertisers that want to reach them. Nielsen found that adults in the US spend the majority of their time (roughly 4 hours and 46 mins2) watching linear and time-shifted TV vs. just 46 minutes watching on a “TV connected device,” and 10 minutes each on a desktop or mobile phone. But there’s a strong push for data-driven insights and TV audience targeting that goes beyond simple age and gender demographics, or even just time spent watching a show on a mobile device vs. a big screen TV. Marketers want to know more about their audiences. And given that linear TV buys can be some of the most expensive line items on a media plan, they’re increasingly focused on getting granular performance metrics on campaign effectiveness and ROI. Meanwhile, with increased competition from the likes of Netflix, Google, and Facebook, and an overall assault on people’s attention from all fronts, the pressure is on for broadcasters and MVPDs3 in particular, to change the narrative around the future of linear TV. That’s where data, and the technology platforms that can parse it, comes in. Data is key to making the dream of Advanced TV4 a reality for the entire video ecosystem – from the aforementioned broadcasters and MVPDs, to OTT providers, Smart TV manufacturers and advertisers. And that’s also why advertising technology platforms – or the “pipes” through which all this data flows and is activated – are a crucial new component of this overall ecosystem.

If data is the Advanced TV oil, technology platforms are the refineries

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich famously called data “the new oil5,” and while other industry6 thought-leaders quibble7 with the quote for a variety of reasons, at a high level, it’s applicable when it comes to thinking about the audience data that powers Advanced TV. Like oil, audience data is valuable. Like oil, audience data can be hard to extract, refine and otherwise make useable. But just like oil, once audience data is aggregated, cleansed and processed, it has the potential to power a variety of Advanced TV products and services – from programmatic algorithms that allow advertisers to bid on specifically-targeted inventory, to audience insight platforms that help broadcasters, OTT providers and MVPDs better segment, package and sell access to those audiences through specific shows. Clearly, the excitement around Advanced TV is warranted. But without technology platforms that can make sense of the audience data, the reality will never live up to the hype.

From crude data to refined content and audience insights

As previously noted, audience data is messy – just like oil. In terms of Advanced TV, it’s difficult to develop actionable insights from the deluge of linear TV and digital data sources currently available. Making linear TV data actionable, for example, requires a platform that can refine three specific types of data, each with their own benefits and pitfalls:

  • Panel-based (or logs of what a consumer household has viewed).

As the original source of audience data, panel-based insights are used and trusted by advertisers worldwide. Yet, because of the (relatively) small sample size, this audience data can be difficult to scale from a demo or household across an entire population (or nation). Never mind the difficulty of a consumer remembering what they’ve watched for panels based on hand-recorded logs.

  • Set-top box-based (or devices that record the content being transmitted)

Set-top box data delivers the largest footprint in terms of scale, and there’s no need to ask viewers to remember the content or advertising that they were exposed to. The caveat is that most people don’t turn off their set-top or cable box, so the device will continue to record and deliver “viewership” data, even if the TV is off and everyone has left the room. There are also no standard data collection standards so that each operator collects different consumer actions, records them differently, and interprets them differently.

  • Smart TV/ACR-based (or devices that report what content has been displayed on the screen)

ACR audience data is relatively new and exciting, since Smart TV providers have invested significantly in being able to determine (and communicate) the actual programming that viewers are seeing on the screen. But the current ACR footprint isn’t nearly as large as the set-top box or panel-based audience pools, and so the process of making broader predictions based on the data is precarious.

With IronGrid, Videoamp is poised to power the Advanced TV revolution And with all that, we still haven’t covered the task of marrying this cleaned, refined and aggregated linear TV data with digital audience data that typically comes in the form of cookies, Device IDs and even custom audience segments that vary according to provider and brand. Making this deluge of data useful is the hardest problem to solve in Advanced TV, but advertising technology companies have the “pipes” and analytics that can do it. That’s why we brought the IronGrid Data Services platform and team into the VideoAmp family.

Our mission is to power the convergence of the linear TV and digital video ecosystems with a complete measurement, planning and audience solution. The IronGrid team, with its best-in-class TV data processing platform, fit into our culture and overall vision and is enabling us to support the audience-based buying that will revolutionise TV advertising. The “future of TV” requires a combination of software and data solutions that will enable marketers and content owners to holistically plan, transact, and measure deduplicated audiences across digital video, OTT, connected and linear TV advertising, and we’re excited to be driving that future forward.

1https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/13/business/media/television- advertising.html; 2https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/linear-tv- dominates-time-spent-watching-video-nielsen; 3Multichannel video programming distributor; 4Essentially, advanced television is the ability to serve one ad to one household as opposed to broadcasting the same ad to all households : https://www.iab.com/news/advanced-tv-targeting-guide/; 5http://fortune. com/2018/06/07/intel-ceo-brian-krzanich-data/; 6https://hbr.org/2018/01/ is-your-companys-data-actually-valuable-in-the-ai-era; 7https://www.cio.com/ article/3250697/big-data/data-is-not-the-new-oil-and-it-s-not-the-infrastructure-of-the-digital-economy-either.html

 

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