Addressability Is About To Take A Huge Leap Forward

"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Anne Schelle, managing director of the Pearl TV business alliance.

As media systems continue to evolve, over-the-air TV broadcasters have been planning an enhancement to digital TV that will greatly improve visibility for advertisers. A TV transmission system dubbed NextGen TV will soon start rolling out across the country, giving local broadcasters new tools that will help them and their advertisers.

NextGen TV is based on a new suite of standards from the Advanced Television Systems Committee, and the new approach will be carried to viewers in the same language used by the internet. The over-the-air transmissions will reach viewers as internet protocol, providing greater interactivity and enhanced reporting.

NextGen TV has the potential to dramatically improve visibility and reach for broadcasters and advertisers that rely on local TV to reach their audiences. A platform that is more robust, transparent and rich with data and reporting capabilities can only deepen the great value of local advertising.

Network operators, such as cable companies and satellite video firms, have added analytic functions and addressability over the years, but such advanced functions have not been available to local stations. Local broadcasts with news, weather, sports and other essential programming remain among the most highly watched programming on TV today.

NextGen TV brings together the internet and broadcasting, using new smart TVs and eventually mobile devices to deliver live signals to viewers. Since tomorrow’s broadcasting will be interconnected with the internet, addressability will go from a dream to a reality. Different viewers can be served different advertising that is more relevant to their wants and needs.

From a reporting standpoint, TV stations will be able to precisely determine which advertisements are seen when, where and by whom. Even more detailed than today’s rating services, NextGen TV reporting will be a boon to advertising agencies, clients and broadcasters.

Right now, trials are underway with current TV technology to determine how silent audio watermarking can be used to track program viewing. Once TV stations and viewers have upgraded to the new standard, it will be far easier to determine what messages get the most attention and traction in a given market.

Currently, the final standards are being hammered out for NextGen TV. The Federal Communications Commission is considering how broadcasters might deploy these new services, and local stations are making upgrades to accommodate the transmission of internet protocol signals and more expansive shows in higher resolution 4K with immersive audio.

It is important to point out that this new standard is an enhancement to our current system, and broadcasters will roll out 3.0 infrastructure and devices that are not backward compatible with TV sets in use today. The new systems and services will take time to achieve meaningful scale. Broadcasters do have the opportunity to develop the market now by creating standards for broadcast addressable advertising and implementation.

While these new capabilities will gradually roll out, advertisers will be among the first to benefit from the enhancements made possible by NextGen TV. Shows will be more compelling with the pop of high dynamic range and 4K, and local broadcasters will have the ability to enhance shows and tailor advertising specifically for shows and viewers in different places.

The end result is a huge upgrade for local stations and the advertisers they serve.

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