Discovery Joins On Addressability, Widening Its Advanced TV Offerings

Scale is key for networks building out addressable advertising capabilities

Discovery Inc. on a TV
Discovery Inc. will now be selling addressable ads across the footprint of Comcast, Cox and Charter. Discovery Inc, Unsplash

Key insight:

Discovery Inc. has become the second media company to join On Addressability, the addressable advertising consortium founded last June by Comcast Advertising, Cox Media and Charter’s Spectrum Reach.

The network already participates in Project OAR and Nielsen’s addressable beta program, which both cover smart TVs. Joining On Addressability now lets Discovery sell addressable ads for its linear and on-demand inventory across the three distributors’ set-top box footprint of more than 30 million homes.

Keith Kazerman, evp of digital sales, advanced advertising and research at Discovery, said having multiple distribution partners is critical, since it offers advertisers more scale.

“They’re all distribution platforms and having the ability to work with as many as possible will benefit agencies and clients,” he said.

There is a chance for some overlap. For instance, someone could stream a show via their Vizio smart TV and then watch live sports through their Comcast cable box. Kazerman said that the addressable consortiums run technologies that should help manage the amount of times a viewer sees an ad, no matter how they’re watching content.

“There will be some overlap in some of the cable households, but that’s where we’re leaning on technology to be able to manage frequency and other campaign metrics,” said Kazerman.

AMC Networks was the first company to join On Addressability in June.

Addressable advertising has traditionally been limited to the two minutes of ad inventory pay-TV distributors hold every hour. On Addressability is extending that technology to networks, which control roughly 14 minutes of ad inventory.

Discovery is now in the process of piloting On Addressability campaigns, which are guaranteed on impressions, similar to digital advertising.

Earlier this month, Discovery introduced its OneGraph product that unifies audiences across its linear and digital environments, allowing marketers to reach and analyze viewers across all platforms.

Kazerman said there are two approaches to running addressable campaigns. One is to run “spot optimization” with a single advertiser, meaning one brand will buy an ad slot and deliver different creatives to different households. The other approach is to sell one ad slot to multiple advertisers and use dynamic ad insertion to deliver a targeted ad to a specific household.

Addressable advertising can also help networks compete in the streaming era, where TV viewers are enjoying streaming services that often run no ads or considerably fewer ads than on traditional linear TV.

Kazerman said the majority of viewership is still on linear, but because addressability “maximizes the impact and value of the medium,” it could mean Discovery will lighten its ad load.

“As we are creating more relevant ad experiences and able to create more precision and drive premium CPMs, [that] gives us the ability to perhaps have shorter ad breaks, similar to digital,” he said.

@andrewblustein Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.