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This Week in TV News: Consumer Privacy and ‘Sex and the City’

This week, we’re talking about Apple’s streaming service announcement, consumer feelings about privacy and #MarchMadness.

Apple is set to stream. Launching in 100 countries in the fall, Apple TV Plus will feature a slate of original content. Stars who made the trip to Cupertino to speak at the event include Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Jason Momoa, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon. The service will be ad-free. (The Verge)

Three out of four people are “alarmed” about privacy. But most said they aren’t willing to pay to protect their personal information, according to Norton Lifelock’s Cyber Safety Insights Report. A third of respondents ages 18-38 deleted their social media accounts in the past year because of privacy concerns, compared to a fifth of those who are 54 and older. (MarketWatch)

March Madness viewing is up. Nielsen Media Research found TV ratings for the tournament’s first weekend were the second-highest since 1991. Additionally, Conviva data found that live streams and live hours of consumption for the first week of March Madness were up 25% over last year. (Forbes)

‘Sex and the City’ gets another spinoff. After two movies and a show about Carrie’s younger years, there’s another installment of the hit show, this one coming from Paramount Television. The show will focus on characters in their 50s and 60s and topics including marriage, divorce, grief and children, according to Deadline.

See last week’s TV trends.

TV’s Evolution to a Customer Journey Marketing Tool

The traditional TV advertising and digital advertising worlds are merging, and it’s a pivotal moment for the TV industry. For years TV equalled positive brand associations and mass awareness. A classic example is Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” spots that aired during the Olympics – the goal was to reach huge swathes of the population with a unifying, emotionally resonant message.

TV is still incredibly effective at achieving broad awareness, but the medium is evolving. Marketers are thinking differently about TV’s place in their customers’ path to purchase. The catalyst is Addressable TV, which is changing the landscape for marketers, consumers and media owners.

To put it simply, Addressable TV advertising uses the same datasets as digital media so marketers can reach audiences at scale. Being able to use TV in this way, particularly in an increasingly fragmented landscape, means marketers can engage their customers like never before.

It’s about making connections between the data that exists in digital and applying it to a traditional media channel. In a noisy media environment, addressable TV advertising is becoming a proven part of the media mix, connecting marketers to the households they want to reach. For instance, a marketer for a luxury brand can use traditional TV to create awareness through aspirational creative. But with advanced TV they can also reach those households who bought a competitor’s products or who lapsed in purchasing and could be influenced while they’re in the consideration phase of their journey.

Through TV, marketers will be able to engage customers throughout their entire journey to purchase and create more impactful, integrated campaigns. As technology has transformed the relationship a brand can have with its consumer on TV, it has also changed the way television can influence consumers. Today TV is data-driven and targeted, it can refresh and reinforce messages to specific segments, foster loyalty and advocacy, educate during the research phase and sell products.

Addressable TV enables advertisers to reach consumers on the screen in their home at the same moment they are researching and setting their buying criteria. This creates an opportunity for true cross-screen interaction and measurement. Marketers will only reach households that matter most, at the relevant moment.

The media provider and consumer relationship will change too. The introduction of addressable TV advertising provides both opportunities and challenges for the media side of the business, which has resulted in a thoughtfully considered process for TV’s evolution, not a revolution. It creates the ability for media companies to understand their customers in a way that wasn’t possible before and enables media owners to create more value for their advertiser clients and their end customers, driving revenue and ROI.

Consumers, who have an incredible array of choice in subscription models and content, will expect relevant ad experiences unified across all their interactions. And through relevant messaging, excellent creative that resonates with the audience and great brand experiences, that customer will be more likely to buy again.

Like any new medium, there will be a lag in adoption. EMarketer predicts $2.54 billion will be spent on US addressable TV ads this year, accounting for just 3.7 percent of total TV ad spend. Yet an ANA and Forrester survey found just 15 percent of respondents regularly include addressable TV in their media plans.

The transformation of traditional TV will fundamentally change the dynamics of the TV industry for advertisers, media owners and consumers. And the pace of change will only increase. How we navigate that change has to respect the success and values of the traditional TV landscape with the capabilities of the digital ecosystem. As TV simultaneously becomes more data-enabled and fragmented, aggregation, automation and attribution at scale are the ways to solve it. Old and new must work together.

At this juncture, TV is about bringing in both the old and the new together at scale. Linear, large-scale TV campaigns work and addressable campaigns work, but they work even better used together and improve the efficacy of both.

Read more from Chief Product Officer Eoin Townsend.

This Week in TV News: ‘Seinfeld’ Streaming and Brexit’s Marketing Impact

This week, we’re talking about “Schitt’s Creek,” global streaming growth and Brexit.

“Friends,” “Seinfeld,” etc. According to Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report, Americans spend more than 10 hours a day on their phones. Additionally, the report looked into factors that influence streaming choices, with the most influential one being “existing shows I used to watch on broadcast media being available for streaming.” Coming in a close second was recommendations from family and friends. (Hollywood Reporter)

“Schitt’s Creek” to end after 6 seasons. On the heels of CBS taking full ownership of the Pop TV, the creators of one of the network’s most successful shows announced its next season would be its last. “Schitt’s Creek” Co-creators Eugene Levy and his son Daniel Levy issued a joint statement saying they had envisioned how the story would conclude from the beginning. (CBC)

Streaming services add more than 100M subscribers globally. The new global subscriber total is 613 million, according to data from the MPAA. Cable subscriptions are down 2% for a total of 556 million. (Hollywood Reporter)

Execs talk about Brexit’s impact on marketing. The Drum collected perspectives from UK and Ireland ad industry execs about the potential impact of Brexit on advertising and marketing. Top brass from WPP, Sky, Ebiquity and more talk about access to talent, consumer confidence, taxation and more. Jellyfish CFO Chris Lee said of the uncertainty, “As a business, the only thing we can do is base our decisions on the information that we have available.” (The Drum)

See last week’s TV news.

DTC Brands Use TV to Fuel Growth

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) universe has all but exploded in recent years. From toothbrushes to mattresses and beyond, these brands are now enjoying a stronger connection with consumers, and in turn offering company values that people can identify with and a better overall customer experience.

This message was amplified at MediaPost’s D2C Brand Insider Summit that I recently attended in Austin, TX. The summit was filled with digitally native DTC brands, many of which have built incredible businesses from the ground up. These companies have something many legacy brands desperately covet (and that most are now trying to replicate): a direct relationship with their end customer.

On the flip side, legacy brands, too, have something to teach these up-and-coming companies. In a growing and crowded space, awareness becomes a huge challenge when they look to scale. One hallmark of DTC brands is that they are extremely performance-driven, especially with regard to media. The challenge, one brand attendee said, is low brand awareness, which requires an investment.

In order to balance this concept of media performance versus brand advertising, Trang Dao, VP of Performance Marketing at Hungryroot, noted that brand and performance “are two roles in two departments, but not two different things.”  

As old and new names co-mingled, it became clear that there was a lot to learn from one another.

Discovering Personas & the Customer Journey

First, let’s look at Quip, one of the summit attendees and a DTC brand built from the ground up. Quip started as a simple electric toothbrush on a subscription model. Now, the company has grown to support national distribution in Target stores. Quip even bought an insurance company to create full alignment between home dental care and the care received from a professional.

They began to scale by uncovering new audiences. Through user research, Quip found small segments that would become part of their loyal audience. For instance, locating the “Techie Dads” who geek out over new technologies. How can Quip zero-in on this persona that would buy tech-forward toothbrushes for the whole family? By taking a closer look at the customer journey. In this case, the consideration phase is pretty short. But other journeys may take different forms.

For example, a user who is watching a news show might see a one-minute ad which speaks to product capabilities and benefits. Someone else watching a crime show might see a 15-second ad which highlights lifestyle. Since the brand has data at the user level, they can create different customer journeys based on different user personas – and deliver each of these potential customers the optimal types and number of touchpoints to convert.

Refocusing on Customer Experience With Data

For Ancestry, a long-time TV advertiser, more recent growth has been focused on humanizing the customer experience. Kathryn Davidson, Director of Marketing Operations at Ancestry, said she no longer thinks of the funnel as a chance to acquire and retain customers, but rather a constant education process that unlocks more value with deeper engagement.

By creating a unified data strategy, she and her team are now able to personalize “hints” that help maximize the customer experience. Now, people become more interested and invested in discovering their family tree.

In creating a more engaging experience for the customer, enriched by data, Ancestry realized other marketing and monetization strategies needed to change. Where the company once used each interaction as a chance to ask for money, it now never forces payment and extends timely offers to convince folks to upgrade their experience. Their marketing plan spurred curiosity, making their paid services more enticing.

For DTC and legacy brands alike, it’s vital to focus on the customer experience and, in the end, provide a value exchange. If a brand can deliver that exceptional experience, it increases trust and brand perception in a customer’s mind.

The sight, sound and motion of television remains a critical platform for brands. It provides the opportunity to reach audiences at scale and educate them by telling your story. Plus, it lends the ability to close the loop and track all the way from first watch to final conversion.

Most importantly, perhaps, for these DTC companies, TV advertising legitimizes a brand. With the overwhelming onslaught of digital ads, a tried and true TV commercial is a way to stand out, connect with consumers, and ultimately fuel the next level of growth.

The bottom line: by understanding what resonates with each of your personas and the steps within their individual customer journeys, both DTC and legacy brands can drive continued success by delivering relevant messaging to the right audiences within the trusted TV medium.

Read more about TV’s role in the customer journey.

This Week in TV News: ‘One Day at a Time’ and U.S. Smartphone Use

This week, we’re talking about March Madness ad spend, Netflix’s cancellation of a small show with a devoted fanbase and Theranos.

Netflix cancels “One Day at a Time.” After three seasons, Netflix cancelled the comedy about a Latinx family with Justina Machado and Rita Moreno. Netflix said it was a “very difficult decision” and that it’s disappointing that more viewers didn’t discover the show. This week at INTV, Netflix head of original content Cindy Holland said the company is “about stretching investment dollars as far as we can; making good investments of our members’ money.” (Deadline)

March Madness TV ad spend. Last year, the men’s college basketball tournament generated about $1.3 billion in ad revenue. Kantar found that ad spend during the tournament has grown 3.4% annually since 2013. (MediaPost)

A deep dive into Theranos’ marketing. Health tech startup Theranos was once valued at $10 billion, and Founder Elizabeth Holmes was once hailed as the woman who “invented a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood,” Then it all came crashing down when it became public that the company was using traditional blood testing machines instead of its supposedly cutting-edge technology. Read Adweek’s take on the story, “Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes: the Marketing of Silicon Valley’s Favorite Villain.”

U.S. smartphone use will rise 3%. This year, 232.8 million people or 70% of the U.S. population will use smartphones, according to eMarketer research. By 2022, nearly half of U.S. media ad spending will be on mobile platforms. (Mobile Marketer)

See last week’s TV trends.

How Unexpected Events Impact On-Demand Viewing

There are many variables we’ve identified that have an impact — positive or negative — on the success of on-demand rentals. We can split these variables into two categories: events we know about and can plan for in advance, and ones that can’t be planned for but have an effect on performance.

More than 20 of the variables we found are plannable, including holidays like Christmas or events like the Oscars. The talent featured in a film also has a measurable effect on rental performance.

But many fall into the other category. Think snow days, for example: these surprise days off are a perfect opportunity to reach a household whose members didn’t plan on being home. Now, they have more time in the day, call them “on-demand viewing hours,” at their disposal. (On the other hand, of course, some weather events lead to outages which could prevent families from watching anything at all.)

Recently, we noticed this phenomenon in the Los Angeles market, which over-indexed consistently against other markets in January.

In 2018, LA had a 159 index for transactions against other top markets like Detroit, Denver, Philadelphia and New York. Looking at January 2019, their index increased 27% to 201. While not all revenue spikes can be planned for, they can be explained: this increase lined up with the Los Angeles United School District teachers’ strike. Schools were shut down from Jan. 14 to Jan 22, affecting around 600,000 students and their families. With their unexpected free hours, families turned to on-demand rentals.

When these unplanned events happen, it’s also important to look at the MVPDs who benefit. Each MVPD has a natural geographical alignment to certain genres, depending on the markets each is zoned for and the demographics of those markets.

For example: TWC organically performs best with family titles and the markets they are zoned for skew suburban. Altice organically performs best on drama titles, with their subscriber concentration mainly in the New York market. Cox does well with action movies and is mainly in military zones. When those areas have more viewable hours (whether planned or unplanned), the movies that organically do well will pop.

In LA, a top market for TWC, a wide range of PG-rated, family-oriented titles saw the biggest bump from the strike. “Goosebumps,” “Incredibles 2,” “Smallfoot” and “The House with a Clock In Its Walls” each saw transactional boosts during the week of the strike. And, once the strike ended, each of these titles resumed their expected weekly decay.

Not all films saw viewing increases during the unplanned strike. Horror movies like “Halloween,” which typically have an average performance in the LA market, saw a higher-than-average decline from week 1 (before the strike) to week 2 (during the strike).

Studios want to know why a movie performed a certain way at a certain time, but the variables that contribute to on-demand rentals are often unpredictable. At Cadent, we have the experience and historical data to dig in and understand what is contributing to increases and decreases in rental revenue. We can look at performance from different angles to find explanatory connections and correlations, then make strategic suggestions.

While things like the LA teachers’ strike may not have a next time, studios should be ready for similar unexpected moments when rich opportunities for on-demand titles hit. When they do, being able to move quickly and strategically is critical. For example, advertising a discounted bundle for movie rentals could make all the difference.

Learn more about Cadent in-home entertainment.

This Week in TV News: SXSW and Brands’ Audience Data Spend

This week, we’re talking about SXSW, a Netflix Thai cave rescue series and brands spending more on audience data this year.

Brands will spend more on audience data this year. In a survey from the IAB 69% of respondents said they increased the amount spent on audience data and related solutions last year versus 2017.  Seventy-eight percent say they’ll invest more in 2019, and 15% expect to invest the same amount. Half of respondents said data regulation is the “main potential threat” to getting value from data. (MediaPost)

Netflix will co-produce a Thai cave rescue series. The streamer is making a miniseries about the dramatic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a cave for 18 days last year. Production company SK Global Entertainment, which brought us “Crazy Rich Asians,” will partner with the streaming service on the project. A few weeks after the rescue last year, about five separate movie adaptations were discussed, prompting the Thai government to set up an entity to help the boys manage interest in their story. (Hollywood Reporter)

“Office” creator sticks with Universal Television. Michael Schur made a multi-year deal to stay with Universal Television, according to Deadline. Schur co-created/executive produced some of biggest comedies in the past decide, including “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “Brooklyn 99” and “The Good Place.”

Buzzworthy SXSW movies. Jordan Peele’s latest movie, “Us,” will show at the festival. It’s his first movie after Oscar-winning “Get Out.” Other talked about titles include Harmony Korine’s Matthew McConaughey vehicle “The Beach Bum” and “Long Shot,” in which Charlize Theron is playing a secretary of state running for president. See more on Variety.

See last week’s TV trends.

Meet Cadent’s Data Science Team

It’s not typical for partners in the advanced TV space to have a dedicated data science team that influences core products, but that’s exactly what we have at Cadent – a data science team with diverse backgrounds in computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, astronomy and more, focused on how we can infuse data driven decision-making in the advanced TV space.

TV advertising is rapidly transforming from fax and phone-based systems to digital, data-informed processes. Similarly, decisions about advanced TV campaigns can’t rely on intuition; we believe the medium should embrace the best of digital marketing tools and analytics to deliver valuable insights to clients.

That’s where the data science team comes in – we aren’t a research wing. What we do is an essential part of Cadent’s core product offering. From providing insights on business outcomes for our customers to bidding on inventory, we use data science to enable data-driven decisioning on premium addressable video content. Specifically, we forecast audience reach and size to maximize impressions, predict TV show ratings on the various networks, optimize ad placement, optimize national campaign plans for efficient delivery of impressions, and more. We do this by diving into a vast range of datasets, including internal, proprietary and external third party data, and we use machine learning and artificial intelligence processes.

As a team, we benefit from our wide range of past experience, including traditional statistical analysis and modern machine learning and deep learning techniques. Another important element to our work is embracing and leveraging the open source community of data science. We regularly share analyses, presenting our work at conferences and sharing what we learn in public forums to give back to the community. (See our work on GitHub here and here.)

We also have a lot of fun – the Cadent data science team are ardent Kagglers. (Kaggle is the most popular competition platform for predictive modeling and analytics.)

If you’re interested in being on the forefront of advanced TV advertising, check out our open positions.

LiveRamp RampUp Wrap-Up: Advanced TV Opportunities

Earlier this week, Cadent’s own Mike Bologna moderated a panel on advanced TV advertising at LiveRamp’s RampUp conference in San Francisco. He led a discussion with three industry leaders: Justin Evans, VP of Data Strategy at Comcast Spotlight; Bryson Gordon, EVP of Advanced Advertising at Viacom; and Andy Barnet, VP of West Coast Sales at Xandr.

As advanced TV grows and expands, there’s a lot of buzz around the medium. But, of course, there are some challenges to adoption with still-developing solutions. Below are a few highlights from the panel, “Beginner to Expert-Level Advanced TV.”

A holistic approach to addressable. Addressable advertising enables brands to reach customers at the household-level on a wide range of devices. Viacom’s Bryson Gordon said he looks at addressable not as a separate piece of the puzzle, but as a holistic piece of the puzzle. Marketers want to get their message in front of people through premium long for content delivered on TV glass in front of the real humans, Gordon said, adding that the point is “all about how you deliver that as a unified whole in a way that is simple.”

Addressable is still too complex for most buyers. Many companies making media buys are used to buying in silos. Digital is digital, and TV is TV. It’s hard for them to see that addressable works in combination with traditional TV advertising to push your message to the right people.

“We’re really trying to underline the idea that video and television are now a full-funnel solution,” Justin Evans noted during the panel. And addressable can be used at a basic or very advanced level, whether a company is looking for a more broad understanding of what their target audience is consuming or a hyper-targeted consumer acquisition.

The traditional-TV mindset still persists. Panelists noted that countering traditional ideas is a big hurdle for advanced TV. Many TV advertisers are accustomed to thinking in terms of audience counts and who tuned in. They’re focused on broad reach and live events.

The best way for marketers to see the value of addressable TV is by providing valuable viewership data, and then layering on proof points that make addressable sing. It may take some time, but Gordon says it’s worth it: “Don’t give up on trying to find the right person to get in the room. There’s myth busting that needs to occur, but so much of that is about getting the right people in the room who truly understand the impact it’s going to have on business.”

A changing OTT environment. OTT options, like Netflix, Hulu and channel-specific watch apps have given advertisers and companies a broader way to understand customers. Rather than talk about them as cable users or cord cutters, which the panel noted was limiting, it’s nice to see that they have essentially started to self-segment. (For example, understanding household data while also knowing that the household watches the HGTV app gives companies more precise targeting.)

“It doesn’t matter how they want to watch it. It’s about the consumer. We’re going to offer to them many different services and then we get the opportunity to target,” Andy Barnett shared.

Gordon added: “When we start to think about a more multi-dimensional approach to how customers segment themselves in the market, and you start to think about offerings that every one of those points, that is where I think the opportunity to unlock massive value from OTT exists.”

While it may take time for marketers to truly see the opportunity in advanced TV advertising, the move is on the horizon — and in the end, is a benefit to the consumer.

Read more the advanced TV landscape and Cadent Advanced TV Platform.

This Week in TV News: Oscars Ratings Improve and Nike Dreams Crazier

This week, we’re talking about Oscars viewership, Nike’s latest creative and addressable TV ad spend.

The Oscars gets more viewers. After a record low in viewership last year, the televised awards ceremony drew 29.6 million viewers, a 12% increase over 2018’s 26.5 million viewers. The show didn’t have a host, which probably accounted for a faster clip – this year’s ceremony ran about an hour shorter than last year. (Fortune)

Nike dreams crazier. During the Oscars, Nike premiered an ad narrated by Serena Williams, with video clips featuring Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim and more. Williams posted the ad on her Instagram account, captioning it, “If they think your dreams are crazy, show them what crazy dreams can do.” It’s a follow-up to “Dream Crazy,” the viral ad with Colin Kaepernick. (Washington Post)

Netflix promotes an inclusion message. The streaming service came out with an ad called “Make Room,” featuring actor Uzo Aduba, comedian Hannah Gadsby and Mexican actor Yalitza Aparicio. Mira Kaddoura, executive creative director of Red & Co, the agency behind the brand campaign and its strategy, said the aim was to make a case for and tell the story of “the opportunity that diversity offers all of us when we make creative and economic space for talented artists, actors, writers, comedians, producers, directors and composers who don’t have a guaranteed seat at the table.” See the ad on Adweek.

Addressable TV ramps up, eMarketer says. About $2.5 billion will be spent on addressable TV ads this year in the U.S., accounting for 3.7% of total TV ad spend, according to an eMarketer report. Total U.S. addressable TV spend is expected to grow to $3.37 billion and overall TV ad spend is expected to rise .5% in 2020. (eMarketer)

See last week’s TV trends.