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Richard Brant 

Viewers don't care about 'platforms' when it comes to TV

Viewers don't care about 'platforms' when it comes to TV

Media LeadersThe viewer does not care what platform they use to get content on the screen. It is not until we understand this reality that we start to realise the potential of addressable TV.

The TV landscape has been undergoing change for a number of years and the pandemic, coupled with the increased connectivity of the consumer household, has only sped up the process.

Connected TV (CTV) has now infiltrated the home; 80% of households in the UK, for example, now have a TV connected to the internet either via smart TV, set top box, games console or streaming device. This allows the consumer enormous choice in quality content on the TV screen, but not necessarily from our traditional broadcaster sources.

BARB results (as well as Ofcom) over the last few years have documented the decline in time spent with BARB-measured channels through the TV and rise in “unmatched” (that is, viewing of content outside of BARB registered channels).

Clearly things have changed and there are naturally complications associated with the adjustment of the status quo.

From both an agency and publisher perspective, those that try to apply all things expected of digital to the CTV medium immediately, without appreciating the wider industry credibility and context, chase their tail, going nowhere fast.

It’s necessary to make informed decisions, incrementally improving understanding of this new landscape, and making the most of the opportunities that are now out there.

Even though there are challenges, the bottom line is there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful and excited about the prospects ahead.

Scale is not an issue

Okay, it's not quite as simple as that – but saying there is no scale in CTV does not take into account what CTV actually encompasses.

There is plenty of scale when you think of CTV as a whole: broadcasters, aggregating platforms (such as Samsung TVs or Roku), pure-play CTV apps, and technology companies such as premium YouTube channels and Amazon.

The job of marketers in this scenario is to define what content is worthy of being part of a “TV campaign”.

Simply put, does the content uphold the quality, safety, editorial oversight and production values expected of TV? Does the ad experience live up to the expected standards? That means curating direct relationships with quality publishers, especially on the likes of YouTube, where the CTV opportunity is vast, but the need to ensure ads are around “TV standard” content is paramount.

The viewer does not care what platform they use to get content on the screen. Instead, they care and invest their time in the content itself. It is not until we understand this reality, that we start to realise the potential of addressable TV – and the potential of being able to reach all viewers at their convenience, within the platform or screen they chose for accessing quality TV-standard content.

The data is out there

There’s no overarching measurement in CTV. For this reason, there is a huge opportunity for agencies, clients and publishers to trailblaze.

Data is everywhere, from sources such as Sky, Samba TV, Samsung and BARB’s new router measurement, as well as agency data sources, client sources, publishers, national statistical sources, and other panels. All this can all be utilised to start understanding the bigger picture, and not just CTV in isolation.

Couple these data sources with solutions such as Audience Project or BeatGrid that can look at 90–100% of the full picture and how reach curves interact with each other – and you’re getting well ahead of our current standards of understanding.

While there is no perfect solution yet, there are definitely opportunities to progress.

It’s cost efficient

The perceived expense of CTV is really in the eye of the beholder and the intention of use. The average eCPM can look astronomic to a digital buyer familiar with sub £10 CPMs.

But, to a TV buyer regularly buying at post £30 CPMs, the price seems rather reasonable. When you also apply any attention or viewability metrics, suddenly that sub £10 CPM jumps astronomically higher, whereas those full screen executions stay resilient, as indicated by Direct Line Group research at the Thinkbox presentation in 2021.

If you are using CTV for branding and reach building, the efficiencies of driving 1+ in the latter stages of a TV campaign are massively cost efficient, especially in certain hard to reach audiences. If you are approaching it from a race to the bottom CPA metric of course, it becomes trickier to stack up, but still not impossible, as can be seen from the work of Adalyser and TVSquared in this space.

It would be a struggle to tell the likes of Southampton FC that their local Sky AdSmart merchandise “gifting” campaign that achieved 674% ROI was not cost effective.

If we can apply this sort of thinking to all TV endpoints to work alongside mass reach campaigns, the proposition becomes very powerful.

Fragmentation is a headache, but it creates exciting opportunities

Fragmentation is a well known hurdle for TV advertising. Ofcom results this year, for example, have shown the further scattering of the percentage of individuals’ video days.

They also highlighted the striking chasm in the behaviour of younger age groups vs. older when it comes to media consumption and the source of their version of “TV” today.

Yet, this fragmentation challenge also offers entities within our industry – such as agencies, or new players – the opportunity to pull together solutions that can tap into the full potential of CTV or addressable TV.

They will be the pioneers in defining the appropriate strategies in this environment, arranging the inventory to suit said strategy, developing the targeting methodologies that pull fragmented buys together into one whole campaign. They’ll also be the ones that employ reporting solutions that aggregate inventory based on their common denominators.

Easier said than done, but the ingredients are all there and there are certain players making huge strides in this space already.

The route forward is undeniably complicated, but this industry is hugely innovative, and constantly supplying new solutions to tackle these challenges.

There are shoots of green in all of the above. Those that grasp the nettle and develop strategies in increments to progress the opportunity will always come out on top versus those that shoot straight for the moon without appreciating the journey ahead. It’s an exciting time to be working in this industry.

Richard Brant is Advanced TV director UK/International at Vevo and has previously worked at Publicis Groupe, Sky and Dentsu.

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