Jun 25, 2019

By Nicole Bitette
How publishers and media buyers are adapting to consumer shifts.

Television will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50.

That was an oft-repeated sentiment during the Programmatic TV Summit in New York City on Monday, where a number of experts from big publishers like Viacom, Fox, NBC Universal, Hulu, WarnerMedia, A+E, and Discovery, joined members of tech companies and agencies to discuss how they’re reaching consumers across devices and what they’re doing to make the process more buyer-friendly.

“Viewers are changing how they consume and discover content, and with that, marketers are really having to be smarter with the data they have, with the agency partners that they have, and the reach and attribution companies they decide to partner with,” said Jim Keller, VP of advertising sales for Hulu. Marketers, he said, “really have to create custom opportunities—whether or not they’re data-led, solution-led, or marketing-led—around the content [that] viewers are enamored to have."

During the day’s panels, Viacom’s Amarachi Miller discussed how the company’s OpenAP consortium is creating more streamlined opportunities for buyers across some of the biggest publishers, while agencies like HudsonMX shared how they are getting new direct-to-consumer brands to better understand the TV advertising landscape as they make the transition from digital.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the summit:

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While all addressable TV advertising is programmatic, not all programmatic TV advertising is addressable. Programmatic TV enables advertisers and marketers to automate the buying process by platform, and if they choose, to select audiences by geography, behavior, and demographic. But every client’s needs—and every consumer’s wants—are different, which is why many of the panelists stressed that programmatic is not a “one size fits all” approach.

Oz Etzioni, CEO and co-founder of Clinch, a company that focuses on personalized creative for programmatic advertising: “Let’s take the automotive industry. Let’s say three people are looking at car [in three different categories] safety, fuel, performance. You have seven seconds of their attention, best case. You have to construct the ad and design it in the best way, for the features that are relevant to the person.”

Dan Callahan, who works on OpenAp as VP of audience and automated sales for Fox, said the consortium is a way to absolve the idea of the one-size-fits-all approach, whereas other networks are serving the same thing to every buyer.

“The first word is open,” he says, referring back to OpenAP. “It’s an open platform, meant to be inclusive of everyone and other networks if they want to come in.”

"If you think of OpenAP as the storefront of the future ... looking at 2.0 and all the ways to integrate within the broader ecosystem, it’s already going to be bigger."

Amarachi Miller

VP of Product Management and Data Science at Viacom

Advertising is Part of the Experience

Direct-to-consumer brands that found success in a digital-first world are now realizing television could provide them with a greater reach. However, those companies are used to a quick turnaround and instant reporting of how ads performed, so publishers and agencies are trying to accommodate their needs.

There are three categories that Brad Geving, of the data-first media buying company Tatari, says they focus on, especially with newer D2C brands: economics, measurability, and test/scalability.

“In terms of measurement, there’s lots of strides to make there,” Geving said. “There’s a quote, ‘The future if here, it’s just not evenly distributed.’ Testing and scaling is where we’re seeing some of the real challenges.”

He explained that there are “pockets of resistance” in the industry and the easier it is for D2C brands to see results, the more inclined they are to get in on programmatic advertising.

“Anywhere you see an ad, if it’s not relevant, we [as consumers] skip it,” Etzioni, CEO and co-founder of Clinch, a company that focuses on personalized creative for programmatic advertising, added.

Keller of Hulu said ad model is changing because of that. “The advertising experience needs to be consistent, integrated, relevant… making sure that we are creating an ad experience that fits me and fits you, [fits] where we live, what we like, etc,” he said.

When it boiled down to the number one factor in placing a buy, the consensus was content. Because, of course, quality content leads to engaged audiences.

Marybeth Strobel of WarnerMedia ad sales silenced the room when she flatly responded to the importance of content by saying: “There’s a reason AT&T acquired us. The quality of content speaks for itself: Game of Thrones.”

OpenAP as the Advertising Storefront of the Future

The OpenAP consortium between Viacom, Fox, and NBCUniversal is a cross-publisher targeting and posting advertising platform that launched in 2017. On Monday, Viacom’s Miller, Denise Colella from NBCUniversal and Dan Callahan of Fox discussed OpenAP 2.0—and how the platform is evolving to serve client needs—in a keynote address.

The latest version of the platform enables media buyers to create unified campaigns using Comscore and Nielsen data. Clients can submit to all three publishers on a digital platform and each publisher shoots back a plan in an automated negotiating process.

The three publishers are part of a unified front, but when it comes to competing against each other, they each have optimization systems and solutions that set them apart, or the “secret sauce” as Miller called it.

“If you think of OpenAP being the storefront of the future, with the line-up of customers that we have, looking at 2.0 and all the ways to integrate within the broader ecosystem, it’s already going to be bigger than it’s been,” Miller said.

And in terms of what’s ahead for OpenAP, Colella said, “I don’t know if OpenAP will look the same, but the ability to get people access to close to 50% of inventory in the market is very powerful.”

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