Addressable TV Is at Its Tipping Point

Could the pandemic accelerate cooperation and adoption?

Before most people had even heard of Covid-19, forces were pushing the TV industry toward addressable. Now, with U.S. consumers spending an additional 229 minutes watching TV every day, per eMarketer, addressable TV is beginning to come into its own.

But to succeed, it will take more than just the right technology. It will take cooperation between the different layers of the TV advertising industry. Could the current pandemic accelerate this cooperation and push addressable television to the forefront? To answer this question and understand where the industry could be headed, it helps to take a look back.

Approaching the tipping point

Google, Facebook and Amazon were already putting pressure on TV advertising before Covid-19. To compete, the TV industry invested in new and more complete viewing sets, richer targeting data, and attribution platforms and metrics.

The rapid growth of streaming platforms, vMVPDs and connected TV applications also put enormous pressures on the MVPDs’ video subscription revenue. The continued shift toward cord-cutting only added to this stress.

Combined, these economic factors meant that the old ways of doing business weren’t future-proof. The MVPDs and cable networks needed to find ways to work together to drive revenue growth. So in 2019 Comcast, Charter and Cox launched the On Addressability initiative to drive addressable TV out of just local cable avails and into national media.

Smart TV manufacturers like Vizio also entered the addressable game, launching the Project OAR initiative to provide a fully open technical standard for implementing addressable video advertising.

For the market to fully embrace addressable TV, it has to be properly measured in the context of the marketer’s complete TV buy. New and richer data sets are vital to making this happen so that the reach and frequency of TV can be measured regardless of the delivery path to the consumer.

With the right data, buyers and sellers can measure how addressable TV complements non-addressable linear TV.

All of these initiatives and more show that the industry is ready to embrace cooperation. So, what will it look like when that happens?

Addressable in practice

In a recession, every marketing dollar gets heightened scrutiny and proving ROI is critical. Marketers would be smart to follow in the footsteps of forward-thinking companies like Burger King and reset with accountable measurement and targeting.

Through addressable, buyers can be selective and, more importantly, make a strong, data-based case for ROI. Sellers that embrace addressability will be providing buyers with the flexibility, targeting and measurement that will be table stakes in our new reality. Despite all the challenges TV faces, the fact remains that television advertising works.

As you prepare to ramp TV spend back up, here are three things to consider:

Prep for reentry with precision

Many brands paused advertising this spring while they reevaluated their strategy. Be prepared to return to the market with precision by onboarding first-party data and getting match counts from addressable TV platforms.

Use measurement to find audiences

As brand marketing spend returns, the economy is likely to still be in a slowdown. Addressable measurement will be the key to finding audiences as viewer habits change and budgets remain tight. 

Improve accountability for sellers

Addressable provides accountability by measuring how campaigns are driving business outcomes. By leveraging addressable’s ability to measure lift between exposed and unexposed households, the sell-side can boost advertiser’s confidence to return to the market and tout its capability to realize the buyer’s desired KPIs.

It’s critical that all TV constituents embrace the cooperative attitudes necessary to launch addressable TV at scale across streaming, VOD and linear TV. The industry needs to lock arms and finally figure this out—together.

Whether this moment in time truly enables addressable TV to cross the tipping point, the next generation of addressable TV advertising is happening now. What we do know is that when the industry works together toward universal addressable adoption, everyone wins.

John Hoctor is the GM of LiveRamp TV and the cofounder and CEO of Data Plus Math, recently acquired by LiveRamp. He oversees product, operations and support of measurement, addressable TV and advanced TV solutions. Previously, he cofounded IntegralReach, which developed the first data-driven linear platform for TV.