The television advertising business is going through remarkable shifts as technology changes viewer behavior in ways that make it much easier for consumers to evade traditional commercials—the backbone of a $70 billion business.
That same digital technology is also creating advanced advertising opportunities that are steadily gaining footholds among networks, media buyers and marketers. But all that feverish innovation is also creating confusion, with buzzwords including programmatic, data management platforms and audience sales being tossed around regularly with limited meaning.
This week, top executives and experts in the advertising business will be discussing the issues surrounding advanced advertising as part of NYC TV & Video Week, presented by B&C parent NewBay Media.
The opening keynote speaker at the Advanced Advertising conference is Donna Speciale, president for ad sales at Turner. Turner has been a leader in applying data analysis to all aspects of its business, including advertising sales. The company has created a number of data-driven products designed to help marketers reach their target audiences across the portfolio of Turner networks and digital properties, which include TNT, CNN and Adult Swim. In some cases Turner is guaranteeing clients that these products, such as Targeting Now and Audience Now, will generate higher return on investment than traditional advertising.
During last spring’s upfront, Turner sold about 5% of its inventory as part of audience-based sales with about 25 clients.
During her presentation, Speciale is expected to discuss the results those types of buys have been generating for clients. Turner’s use of data allows the company to focus on consumers and consumer experience. That’s led to Turner being among the networks looking at cutting back on the ad loads in some of its programming. This season, some original programs on TNT will run with limited commercials, and Turner’s truTV is making a big cutback in commercial time. Speciale is expected to have some early information on how those programs and networks are performing and how much better the advertising that runs in them is performing for clients.
Turner is not the only programmer using data to make its advertising more desirable and effective. Viacom and NBC have also been in the front of the pack pushing data as a tonic for sluggish ad sales. Viacom has also been looking to cut back on the heavy ad loads in its programming. NBC ran 28% fewer spots in Oct. 1 season premiere of Saturday Night Live and saw the highest ratings for the series in eight years. (The ratings were also helped by election season and Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Donald Trump and Emmy winner Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton.)
NBCUniversal’s John Harrobin, chief marketing officer, and Alison Tarrant, executive VP, Client Partnerships Group, will make a keynote presentation on content marketing—an area that is becoming increasingly important to advertisers.
A number of networks, including NBC, are putting together creative services teams that develop content to air during programs that deliver value by engaging and entertaining viewers on behalf of a brand. Data and analytics are being employed to create messages that will resonate with consumers and to distribute the content where those customers are watching.
Agencies are also creating branded content and more clients are creating content in-house. Networks, however, often have access to talent that creates unique opportunities for marketers.
Another panel focusing on branded content will include executives from Discovery Communications, Vice Media, IBM, Hiro Media and MediaCom.
The closing keynote speaker is Dave Penski, who this year was named CEO of Publicis Exchange, one of the largest media buyers in the U.S. Penski will be asked about how Publicis Exchange clients are using data and analytics to inform their marketing plans and how technologies including programmatic buying are shaping the way the agency is organized. He will also recap the upfront and discuss trends so far in this television season.
A panel will examine audience measurement in what has become a multiplatform environment for both consumers and advertisers. Nielsen and comScore are racing to create metrics that can be used for media buying, possibly as soon as next year’s upfront.
Two Advanced Advertising sessions will look at programmatic advertising buying. Programmatic, which uses data to identify target audiences and automation to identify and purchase inventory, is a force in the digital world and is growing in TV. Other panels will look at addressable advertising and big data.