TV Buying Is Primed for Innovation

A look at what comes next

The TV and entertainment businesses have always been deeply creative and collaborative. The pause on live sports and forced reimagination of this year’s broadcast upfronts have only reinforced that ethos.

This time has also served as a sober reminder that the industry not only needs to be able to adapt and innovate, but to also now do this amid mass change to day-to-day work and business practices.

It’s become clear over the past few years that the $70 billion linear TV business will be the next big beneficiary of advancements in data and advertising technology.

However, it has taken a long time for data and technology to meaningfully impact the way TV is bought and sold. The pace of this transformation toward audience-based buying in linear TV can be attributed to the inherent differences in the business, economics of supply scarcity and workflows of linear TV versus digital.

Today the industry is adapting swiftly as advertisers look to reach audiences wherever they are and maximize their media investments. To handle this evolution, buyers will need new toolsets.

The requirements of transformation

The TV industry is near the apex of a transformation as it sees a real shift to audience-based buying. This evolution has been spurred by shifts in viewership habits, ongoing fragmentation and new options for streaming premium video content. Covid-19 has only accelerated the impact of these factors on the marketplace.

I predict we will see faster adoption of the tools and technology that help advertisers improve how they connect with customers.

In the last few months, the need for greater flexibility—both in terms of booking dates and commitments, as well as baseline buying tactics—has been critical for TV buyers dealing with changing market conditions. Advertisers require greater agility to make the best economic decisions to advance their brand objectives.

Buyers are looking for simplicity and the ability to automate buys with consistent audience definitions across multiple sellers.

Accountability is also key. Buyers are looking to maximize their working media spend, and in periods of economic uncertainty, the need to demonstrate outcomes and business results is table stakes. Advertisers have been more frequently leveraging first-party data to plan, target and measure their investments—a game-changer for the full advertising lifecycle.

There’s also been a shift toward activating data insights that allow buyers to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns in near real-time. Advertisers who leverage audience-based insights around viewership, purchases and even geolocation to remain nimble and improve the relevancy of their advertising will be better positioned to meet the new demands of our current environment.

While TV is fundamentally a futures business where content is king, buyers will strive to improve the performance of their TV buys while gaining a single view of their audience across programmers to reduce waste and improve precision.

At Xandr, innovation in linear TV required close collaboration between multiple product and engineering teams following our acquisition of the data-driven linear platform clypd. Solving for the new needs of TV buyers also led us to enable advanced buying and unified audiences in linear TV through our platform Xandr Invest, with partners like Disney Advertising Sales, WarnerMedia, AMC Networks and AT&T.

As we reach a new mile marker of a TV advertising transformation marathon, new innovations continue to emerge that will help solve for the increased demand from buyers to transact on high-fidelity data for both branding and performance, while reaching audiences across screens.

Disruption ultimately leads to innovation, and I predict we will see a quicker pace of adoption of new buying models and techniques as we lay the foundation for convergence—the next big innovation area for advanced TV.

Christina Beaumier is SVP of product, TV platform for Xandr, where she is responsible for leading the development of Xandr’s TV technology platform. Previously, Christina had several roles in the advanced advertising and video space, including at Google and WPP’s Xaxis, where she was SVP of Xaxis Media.