Advanced Advertising: Ready to Turn the Corner

Sales execs say key to making advanced TV's next success story is educating clients
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Addressable advertising is ready to become television's next big success story if the media sales and marketing industry can educate their clients on how it can work for them, said a panel of executives at the
B&C/Multichannel News event Adanced Advertising: The Future Is Now Feb. 22 in New York.

"I think [addressable advertising] is going to revitalize television," said WE.tv National Advertising Sales Executive VP Scott Collins, speaking on the panel "The View From Madison Avenue: Getting Market Buy-In" moderated by B&C Business Editor Claire Atkinson.

Leap Media Group Principal Courtenay Harry agreed, saying: "When I hear this is the year [addressable takes off], it feels so right."

Addressable advertising has picked up steam recently thanks to test results, like the recently concluding findings from a trial in Baltimore, that showed targeted ads improve viewer tune-in and buyer efficiency. But Harry said clients still express a lot of confusion about addressable advertising and need to be convinced of its efficacy before moving money from one part of their ad budget to the addressable space. "It's as if we're re-teaching them how to buy television," she said.

While some clients have been "pioneers" in the interactive ad space, Harry said others have been sitting on the sidelines and still need to be convinced of its value.

One challenge is that the success of addressable campaigns can be difficult to measure. "Scale is there as far as interactivity goes," said Rich Forester, VP of ad sales at DirecTV, citing the more than 29 million households that are now set up for interactive advertising. "The results are tricky. For some people 20,000 [targeted viewers] may be a home run. For others, 40,000 may not be enough."

But in general once advertisers get involved in interactive, they generally stay there, the panelists said. While the initial buy is a challenge, renewal rates for interactive campaigns are high.

Panelists expressed optimism over a recent ANA/Forrester Research survey which found that 78% of respondents said they would be interested in the ability to target consumers more precisely. Fifty-nine percent said they would be willing to pay a premium for it. "Three out of four do want to pay to target better. I think that's a good statement," said WE.tv's Collins.

To win over those advertisers who are queasy about paying a premium to target better, Visible World CEO Seth Haberman said sales execs should frame the argument with the question: "Is this more valuable to you?" That argument could get easier in the coming years, when Haberman envisions 60-70 million households will be completely interactive.

With those numbers on the horizon, the panelists said addressable advertising is poised to take off if Madison Avenue can keep the message simple and help clients reduce the noise and clutter surrounding the space.

"It's such a great time to be in this space right now," said Leap's Harry. "We're at mile 24 and we're about to turn the corner."

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