Ad Bureau to Give Broadcasters New Insights

By Guest Post 

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) is dead—long live the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB).

As of today, the CAB, founded in 1980, has dissolved and been replaced by a bigger, brawnier organization comprising 110 broadcast and cable networks and the 11 largest MVPDs to form a single voice to promote the power of video advertising.

The group has a new name, a new logo and new members (all the broadcast networks, for the first time), but the same goal as the CAB: providing advertisers with the most current insights about premium, multiscreen TV content. By working together, VAB members hope to provide advertisers a single source for the best research and insight on video advertising, including primary research on the impact of TV advertising.

“Our industry is changing rapidly; however, one constant is the unquestionable power of television to reach consumers with advertiser messaging,” said VAB co-chairman and Discovery advertising sales president Joe Abruzzese. “By broadcasters, cable networks and distributors coming together in this unprecedented way, VAB members will share expertise and insights, put forward original research and push toward a common goal of elevating television’s leadership in driving product sales and brand affinity for clients.”

The VAB companies include A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Cablevision, CBS Corporation, Comcast, Cox, Discovery Networks, Fox Networks, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks, Time Warner Cable, Turner Networks, Verizon FiOS, Viacom and Walt Disney Co. The VAB notes that its members produce and sell about 140 hours, or 80 percent, of the 175 hours of video content Americans consume each month.

With all these companies under one organization, “it accelerates our ability to view meaningful research and develop analytics about being able to do things on an industrywide basis,” said Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of VAB (the same title he held at CAB). “Whether the subject is our thoughts on viewability or measurement on multiscreen, these are big topics, and to be able to bring as many players around one table to talk about solutions, developing greater analytics and having the ability to, with one voice, gain commitment against specific priorities, specific initiatives, specific research, this is truly the bigger swath of the business, the better.”

The supergroup’s top priority is “the race to hard-proof data and analytics” that advertisers and agencies demand, said Cunningham. “We’ve got the best in class content, and we’ve got all this time and attention. And advertisers would like data of a quality collectively that’s equal to the class of content we have.”

While the CAB had been in existence for 35 years, “it only makes sense to expand this organization’s focus to reflect the rapidly changing premium video environment and strengthen the research it can provide to content creators and advertisers, regardless of platform,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships. “It doesn’t matter where the content is consumed, it only matters that it’s great.”

The CAB-to-VAB shift has been in the works since December; broadcasters were approached earlier this year to come on board. So why make the announcement now? They wanted to take advantage of the industrywide shift toward talking about ad-supported TV on all screens in the marketplace. “It really was the momentum of how well this collective story was working,” said Cunningham. “And I think we struck a chord, because the advertisers and buyers were thinking more holistically about premium, ad-supported multiscreen TV.”

Yet, the announcement’s timing is also interesting because it comes on the heels of an upfront week in which many of the companies separately pitched advertisers and buyers on the notion that they, and they alone, were the companies that had the best solutions to many of these same issues. But Cunningham notes that when the members come together, “they’ve always been able to focus on the greater good for the common industry.”

This story was written by Jason Lynch and first appeared in Adweek.