"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Sandie Milberg, chief revenue officer at Varick Media Management.
This year, we decided as a family that it was time to do a major overhaul on our home. This entailed knocking walls down, building walls up and – of course, the ultimate goal –turning our new and improved home into a smart home.
This is where the really tough decisions came. Should we join the growing streamers of the world and cut our cable cord? If so, should we go with a Roku, AppleTV or FireStick? After talking it out with friends and colleagues, it became obvious that cord-cutting had officially gone beyond millennials and everyone was talking about it, regardless of whether they were actually doing it or not. So what does that mean for marketers?
Well, for starters, each year, it seems that we, as marketers, move ever closer to our goal of reaching the right person with the right message at the right moment, but we’re not there yet. Shifting TV consumption behavior is perhaps one of the largest catalysts behind our constantly evolving advertising ecosystem today. With the rise of OTT and streaming devices, news articles have dramatically proclaimed, “TV is dead!” and cast millennials as the ultimate cord-cutters.
A closer look shows that while alternative viewing options are definitely increasing – eMarketer found a mere 9% increase in 2016 of 44.6 million cord-cutters – TV certainly isn’t going anywhere. So what’s stopping marketers from flocking to this opportunity-rich channel?
Hesitation is due to a general lack of understanding around everything from the process and cost to the data opportunities to scale.
Unfortunately, logistics aren’t the only limitation experienced by confused marketers in the world of advanced TV. We must also address the data opportunities that advanced TV possesses. Sure, marketers may understand that advanced TV is a data-driven execution, but to what extent?
With the ability to use their own first-party data in tandem with third-party data, brands can find niche viewers on yet another screen – a shortcoming of traditional TV. During pre-launch, data is being used to determine networks, dayparts and audiences. There is also the ability to engage precise audience segments in real time, on a one-to-one basis, in true digital fashion; marketers can also retarget web visitors through FEP inventory. Again, at any step in the process, brands can feel confident that their TV buy is reaching the right people.
Costs associated with advanced TV can also be unclear to marketers, adding confusion as to where the channel fits within integrated media budgets. Initially, a brand might feel that it lacks the resources to consider allocating budget to advanced TV, especially if the benefits don’t seem clear.
However, advanced TV can be much more cost-efficient than traditional TV-buying, as it eliminates waste that so often comes with linear TV. While smaller brands might find CPMs to be more expensive, the true value is that you are reaching your exact target audience, at the perfect moment. When pricing its media, a brand should consider that the most expensive impressions are those that aren’t reaching their audience at all.
Despite numerous reports of growing audience pools within the world of advanced TV, advertisers are still wary of the limited scale available when compared to linear TV. Like all media, advanced TV should not be run in a silo. For example, larger brands could use advanced TV as a supplement to a greater linear campaign. In turn, they would hone in on their consumers at the user level and reach the smaller, targeted audiences for less cost. The sweet spot for each brand lies in finding the right mix based on marketing goals and will vary by campaign. Some consumer targets might be too narrow, resulting in missed opportunities to reach viewers. Alternately, smaller brands with limited budgets might find greater success experimenting with advanced TV before committing budgets on other channels that provide minimal results.
Ultimately, linear TV isn’t going anywhere, but as more consumers continue cord-cutting and consuming content differently, it is important for brands to understand the intricacies of advanced TV and how to build it into their current media mix. It’s not just about reaching millennials on one channel vs. Gen X on another.
At the end of the day, my family and I decided that we weren’t ready to cut the cord and decided to give cable another chance. But what if I had gone the way of streaming TV, and a misguided marketer was trying to reach someone like me via cable – assuming that’s where my demo was? I would have been a missed opportunity.