The Future of TV Advertising Requires Open Ecosystems

Transparency and interoperability are the keys to making campaigns more effective

The TV advertising industry is constantly evolving. Every week, month and quarter there are announcements of new products, players and initiatives all meant to inspire more advanced solutions for clients. With these new additions come transaction and reporting processes that are unique to each platform or organization, creating the potential for rough terrain as marketers build their campaigns.

Still, media buyers are looking for unified ecosystems that allow them to purchase ad inventory and holistically measure performance across multiple publishers. The marketplace needs greater cooperation across all segments of the industry to eliminate roadblocks, minimize friction and maximize possibilities for marketers to buy efficiently.

Simply put, marketers must strive for a more open ecosystem that promotes transparency and interoperability to preserve the scale and effectiveness of TV advertising.

Transparency: More is more

Proving ROI is one of the most important requirements for an advertiser. Some platforms will hold back information or only show favorable metrics. But without the full picture, it’s almost impossible to know if the campaign had a true impact on its target consumers. There currently isn’t enough accountability in the marketplace to allow for the level of transparency needed to help advertisers understand where they succeed or how to improve.

At DISH Media, we encourage our clients and partners to hold us accountable. Rather than “grading our own homework,” our approach is to share appropriate ad exposure data in a privacy-safe manner. This data is measured holistically by third-party experts like Comscore, Nielsen, Experian and Data + Math (LiveRamp), and provides the most accurate campaign data based on a client’s goals, including full transparency into the reach and frequency of every campaign.

DISH Media also continually pursues innovations that give advertisers more control and clarity when building their media plans. For instance, programmatic and direct IO campaigns on SLING TV can utilize our enhanced context targeting and reporting tool, which provides increased transparency into genre, content duration and more, on top of the network and device information typically provided. This feature gets at the heart of brand safety issues for clients, allowing them to better secure the right environments for their messages.

Transparency is a key factor in making campaigns more effective, and the industry has been asking for more tools to address it. Giving buyers more data points to work with makes campaigns more sophisticated, more targeted and garner better results, proving just how hard their ad dollars are working.

Interoperability: Flexibility begets efficiency

It’s no secret that over time the TV landscape has become more fragmented. Consumers have more channel and device/platform options today than ever before; particularly as streaming TV has gained mainstream adoption. Although live linear television is currently a large piece of the pie, there are now 70 million CTV households in the U.S., per Comscore, and this number will continue to grow.

On top of that, the buy-side has become more dispersed. While we all benefit from advancing technology, platforms and delivery systems, the reality is that more options often make transacting more complex. As DSPs, data and measurement options evolve, buyers develop their own preferred—and sometimes niche—partners. Not all publishers or sell-side agents are able to meet these growing, disparate needs.

Along these lines, buyers have shown that they care less about the pipes used to get their message distributed and more about reaching the right consumers. They need the buying process to be seamless across consumer touch points and their partners to be flexible across every stage of the planning, buying and measurement process.

The ability to work in an omnichannel environment allows buyers to see the bigger picture and coordinate their strategies across multiple players rather than viewing each media plan separately. At DISH Media, we recognize the growing convergence in the TV/video landscape and continually seek new opportunities to bring the industry together. We integrated our DISH and SLING TV sales teams to make sure that our sellers were experts across our full footprint. We are bringing linear inventory into programmatic platforms to provide equal optionality for buyers to transact.

There needs to be sufficient connectivity between respective distributor data and technology to fully reach the ideal vision of addressable advertising, This connectivity will unlock significant additional value against local minute addressable, national minute (programmer) addressable, and deterministic reach and frequency.

To make that happen, DISH Media works with programmer partners, either directly or with partners like Adcuratio, to build a mechanism for national minute enablement where we license our addressable technology for programmer inventory. We also recently announced our partnership with Verizon Media to integrate our linear addressable inventory onto the Verizon Media DSP. This will allow buyers to simultaneously purchase across both the DISH Media and Verizon Fios footprints.

Plugging in with multiple partners and combining efforts with other distributors and programmers is vital to stitch together the TV universe. Building up relationships with DSPs and data partners, as we have, allows publishers to be flexible with clients and work with the partners they want for their campaigns. This flexibility also encourages collaboration across the industry and increases opportunities for scalability.

Looking forward: Building the new TV landscape

Television is changing, but it remains the most powerful way for brands to communicate to consumers. The industry needs to connect the old with the new, to take the unparalleled power of television to provide scale and engagement, and combine it with the advancements in data-led targeting across multiple screens.

To achieve this, players from across the industry need to work together to build data and technology-based partnerships that give advertisers more opportunities to efficiently target their audiences. By adopting the two principles of transparency and interoperability, thereby removing friction from the buying process, we can maintain the scale and power of TV.

Kevin Arrix is responsible for DISH TV’s and SLING TV’s advertising sales, analytics and operations. He leads the team spearheading the company’s advanced advertising initiatives, which include cross-platform addressable, programmatic sales and dynamic ad insertions.