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Advanced TV is Here. Now What? 

Industry professionals weigh in on 2019 priorities and the issues that are yet to be solved.

Like many of us, you might be so steeped in planning for an Advanced TV future, that you haven’t realized it’s already here. Today. Now.

So, how do you cope? At CES in January, RhythmOne held a private customer event that assembled some of the industry’s top thinkers to help clients understand the current state of Advanced TV and the recommended steps they should take to help maximize their campaigns in 2019.

Advanced TV has been on the way for a long time. Now all of a sudden, it’s here.

Advanced TV – defined by the IAB as an umbrella term that includes over-the-top (OTT)/connected TV (CTV), addressable TV, and addressable video on demand (VOD) – is estimated to be used by the majority of the US population.

Case in point: eMarketer projects thatthe number of connected TV users in 2019 will be at 190 million, or 57.2% of the US population– and by 2022, three out of five people (60.1%) in the US will use a connected TV (204.1 million), including 69.2% of those who are internet users.1

“It’s already prime time,” said LG Electronics’ Director of Smart TV Content Innovation, Matthew Durgin, at RhythmOne’s CES event. “In terms of consumer viewing behavior, the shift toward streaming has already happened. Half of the clicks on our platform go to streaming.” And according to KenRipley, Vice President of Ad Sales at Newsy and a CES event participant, these growth numbers go against the conventional wisdom: “On a macro level, if you read the headlines, you would think fewer people are watching TV, when in reality, people are watching as much if not more.” 

It’s not you. It’s all of us.

With all this talk of the arrival of Advanced TV, it would be easy to believe that you are behind the curve. However, while it’s true that Advanced TV is showing remarkable growth on the consumer side, advertisers across the board appear to still be struggling to keep up.

In 2019, US advertisers will spend $70.8 billion on TV, according to eMarketer forecasts2. But just $2.54 billion will be spent on targeted, addressable TV ads and $2.76 billion of TV ad spend will be transacted programmatically.3

What’s the problem? As was noted last month at the 2019 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, the opportunity for advertisers “is still bogged down by [TV’s] legacy infrastructure. While the consumer seamlessly transitions from screen to screen, advertisers cannot. This is holding back direct brands from investing in TV as they are used to the data-driven, platform-based opportunities that return them immediate feedback and give the opportunity for optimization in real-time.”

At RhythmOne’s CES event, LG’s Matt Durgin shared: “We need to keep working to provide tools and innovation that make advertisers successful. We’ve made progress in ACR and addressable audiences, but those tools have to continue to improve.”

The Holy Grail

One of the biggest takeaways from the conversation at CES was that linear and advanced TV are not an either/or consideration. Successful marketing campaigns should thread holistically across both. So, what can be done about the roadblocks that are currently holding back Advanced TV’s potential? 

“The Holy Grail is the TV,” said Newsy’s Ken Ripley at CES. “It’s the ad tech community’s job to come up with standards and definitions that make media easy to plan for and purchase. From a planning and buying perspective, transparency is critical in terms of defining who you’re reaching and what you’re buying ... OTT and CTV systems are the best of both worlds. People watching the screen have the same experience as linear. Let’s make sure we can measure it effectively. Let’s make it easier for media planners to plan for. If we come up with a whole new set of measurement rules we’re getting in our own way. Let’s be simple and straightforward about what we’re selling and make it simple for agencies and brand managers to understand what they’re getting.”

The Way Forward

While the industry still needs to determine how to make it easier for brands to advertise seamlessly across all screens, where can advertisers look now to take advantage of the opportunities offered by Advanced TV? To help address this, the technologies that will ultimately help deliver a unified cross-screen experience, programmatic inevitably took center stage during RhythmOne’s CES panel discussion.

Amy King, Pixalate’s Vice president of Product Marketing, shared at CES that “the great promise of programmatic is reaching individuals at scale, which is hard to do when cobbling together a series of direct buys. By adding OTT to the programmatic ecosystem, your ability to accurately reach your target audience increases ... we haven’t seen the best of what’s to come in programmatic — but the volumes are increasing and delivery on the promise is getting stronger.”

Samba TV’s Managing Director of Research, Ryan King, reiterated at CES the unique value of CTV inventory: “With platforms like RhythmOne, you can monetize content for its lifespan, as long as it exists on the internet.” Furthermore, at CES, Jeff Boehme, Comscore’s Senior Vice President of Television and Cross-platform Research, added that “we consistently hear from our customers the challenge and need to measure all consumer activity across devices, even as devices keep changing ... it’s a perfect storm because we, as marketers, need to capture the value from media companies to make sure we are all evaluated properly. The hard part is making sure you get the right value in the right way consistently.”

 

1eMarketer 2019 Forecasts, June and July 2018

2eMarketer 2019 Forecasts, February 2019

3eMarketer 2019 Forecasts, July 2018

 

Forward-Looking Statements

This article contains forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “objective,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “continue” and “ongoing,” or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements about the potential and effectiveness of advanced TV advertising. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from future results that are expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the dynamic and rapidly evolving sector, as well as the highly competitive industry that RhythmOne operates in, which make it difficult to evaluate prospects. These and other risk factors are discussed in RhythmOne’s Annual Report for the period ended March 31, 2018. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to RhythmOne as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.