Cord-cutting forecasts present a cautionary tale for linear TV’s $70 billion ad market.
Interpublic Group’s media research and buying division, MAGNA Global, for instance, found live, DVR and video on-demand viewing decreased 14% year over year among the 18-24 demo set for the 2014-2015 season.
Conversely, eMarketer expects the viewership for connected devices like set-top boxes and game consoles to increase, estimating 35.5% of the US population will use a connected TV this year, a percentage that could double by 2017.
These trends account for what The Wall Street Journal described as “anemic” television upfront sales, which indicates advertisers and agencies historically active in traditional TV are beginning to plan and buy around audience and devices.
“The industry is absolutely coming to grips with the notion that TV advertising in the future will not be sold only on a content and time basis, which it largely is today,” said Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of television ad-targeting company Simulmedia.
AdExchanger checked in with Morgan, Disney ABC TV Group and others presenting during AdExchanger’s upcoming Industry Preview “TV Everywhere” panel about the convergence of digital video and TV in 2014 and beyond.
Audience Addressable, But Ads Inserted?
Programmatic came to the upfront in 2014 – at least as a private marketplace.
NBCUniversal rolled out private exchange offering NBCUx, ABC experimented with private marketplaces for video and ESPN got its feet wet when it announced a pilot test to run select SportsCenter inventory through a web-based auction.
NBCUniversal’s and ABC’s programmatic experimentation was primarily relegated to digital video and display inventory (with mobile soon to come) while ESPN flirted with automated TV ad spots.
“There’s no question we will see growth in private marketplaces for linear TV inventory operated by TV companies themselves or by third parties,” said Simulmedia’s Morgan. “And I call them marketplaces rather than exchanges because they’re more likely to be run like a Sotheby’s than like an eBay.”
In other words, TV inventory auctions will be highly curated.
On the surface, it looked like 2014 was the year digital video met linear TV in a programmatic setting. TubeMogul struck multiple TV supply-side deals and AOL combined TV ad targeting and digital to drive incremental reach.
While many of these companies have laid programmatic bricks, the word "programmatic" in TV is more about automated data application than real-time buying right now.
There’s virtually no linear TV inventory directly accessible (yet) through digital DSPs barring smaller-scale local buys, select primetime spots or, of course, digital video inventory from some of the networks.
“There will definitely be more automation and opportunity to take digital-like thinking about audience and optimization and apply that to TV,” Scheppach said. “The amount of data that’s coming to market is starting to open up, so agencies and (digital DSPs) of the world are trying to tell that data-optimization story, which is the right approach, but the reality is nothing’s connected.”
When these connections are made in the coming years, marketers will be able to buy across online video, video on demand and TV and “transact how it makes the most sense for them,” both on a commercial TV ratings and impressions basis, said ABC’s Midha.