Nielsen Creates Advanced Video Advertising Group to Expand Addressability Push

Company bought addressable TV technology provider Sorenson Media to help initiative

With more than 250 million Smart TVs expected in the market by 2023, Nielsen wants to help hasten linear's evolution into addressability. Getty Images
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Nielsen sees addressability as the future of TV advertising and is taking its biggest step ahead to help the industry prepare for the transition.

The company has created a technology, product and commercial initiative called Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising that will help it focus on expanding addressable advertising for smart TVs. The new group includes addressable TV technology provider Sorenson Media, which Nielsen acquired to help with its addressable push.

With more than 250 million smart TVs expected in the market by 2023, according to Statista, Nielsen wanted to create a platform to take advantage of addressability.

Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising combines Nielsen’s various acquisitions, including Sorenson Media’s addressable TV ad platform and Nielsen’s automatic content recognition, or ACR, technology, which it acquired after purchasing Gracenote in 2017. “It’s bringing together the best tech and talent and IP to solve some of the challenges of addressable TV” and help the industry “evolve linear into an addressable medium,” said Kelly Abcarian, the general manager of the new group.

“It’s clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future,” said Nielsen CEO David Kenny in a statement.  “With the Sorenson Media acquisition, we can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain—from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution—and make addressable TV more of a reality.”

Sorenson Media, which had sought bankruptcy protection last fall as the company tried to get itself out of a costly deal with Sinclair Broadcasting, had been an attractive asset for Nielsen. “They had built not just a set of unique integrations with Samsung, but they also had built a unique set of ad tech technology that started to bring about the linear evolution to addressable,” Abcarian said.

With the new group, Nielsen intends to work across the TV industry to hasten the addressable transition.

“We believe that television is going to evolve to an addressable medium and it’s going to live in this linear addressable model for many years to come,” Abcarian said. “And so we’ll work across buyers and sellers that are buying that premium video inventory and insure that they have the confidence and the data sets and the measurement that need to underpin all of that to enable this to truly take off.”

The group is the culmination of Nielsen’s recent work in the addressable space.

Last May, Nielsen teamed up with CBS on a dynamic ad insertion (DAI) test program for live, linear national TV shows. Six months later, it expanded the pilot by bringing A+E Networks on board as well for live trials that began in December in five U.S. markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Tampa. Those trials will continue through the spring, Abcarian said.

That made A+E Networks and CBS the first networks to dynamically replace traditional live linear TV ads and promos for shows and networks with targeted spots based on age, gender and advanced demos to help ensure that the right message reaches the right viewer.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.