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This Week in TV News: Boomers’ Shopping Habits and ‘American Horror Story’

This week, we’re talking about baby boomers’ purchasing habits, the “American Horror Story” season 9 premiere, and growing use of AI in TV.

Boomers’ digital shopping lags behind other generations. eMarketer found nearly 60% of baby boomers will buy something digitally this year, via a browser, phone or tablet. For millennials, that number is about 85%, and 78% of Gen Xers have purchased something digitally. eMarketer principal analyst Mark Dolliver said that for boomers who are retirees, “the time-saving features of digital shopping are somewhat irrelevant” compared to young people who are in the middle of their careers or raising families. (eMarketer

“American Horror Story 1984” premieres this September. Set to haunt the houses of America Sept. 18th, this season will be a throwback to 80s thriller movies such as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Children of the Corn. The complete cast hasn’t been announced yet, but we do know that Emma Roberts will be returning and AHS star Evan Peters will take a break for this season. Fans are eagerly waiting to hear if Sarah Paulson will be returning. (Deadline)

AI use is growing in TV and movies. Fox Sports is incorporating IBM’s Watson technology into the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Commentators will host “Player Spotlight,” supported byWatson tech, which creates stat analyses in real time with goal, pass, and kick data from Opta. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Women’s U.S. soccer advances to quarterfinals. The U.S. beat Spain 2-1 on Monday; Megan Rapinoe scored the winning penalty kick with nine minutes left. More than 600,000 streamers watched the game, a 277% jump up from the 2015 World Cup. The U.S. will advance to the quarterfinals and play against France on Friday at 3pm. (Washington Post)

See last week’s TV trends.

2019 Cannes Lions Trends: Transparency and a Focus on Culture

Every year, the Cannes Lions brings the advertising industry together to celebrate the most innovative creative in the world, and we have great discussions that influence the way we think about the brand-customer relationship. This year’s festival was no exception.

At the festival this year, our leadership team took part in excellent conversations on advanced TV and building brands. Cadent President of addressable Michael Bologna hosted a panel on the future of addressable TV with Adam Gerber, President of Global Media, Essence; Laura Nelson, SVP, Advertising Solutions and Performance, Disney Ad Sales; and Bryson Gordon, EVP of Advanced Advertising, Viacom. Cadent COO of addressable Jamie Power spoke on Freewheel’s agency POV on addressable panel alongside Finecast’s Rich Astley and Cadreon’s Sean Muzzy. Cadent Sales President Jim Tricarico spoke to Burger King CMO Fernando Machado about the power of risk-taking creative and television.

Here are a few takeaways we heard:

The value of addressable TV must be made clear. At our panel on Tuesday, Adam Gerber, President of Global Media, Essence, said most buyers are frustrated by the complexity of addressable TV, adding, “They are used to the turnkey simplicity of linear, and it’s not there. TV needs a transparent marketplace that values the underlying audience.” Additionally, Cadent COO of addressable Jamie Power spoke about jargon at Freewheel’s agency POV on addressable panel, saying, “If we don’t speak in English and we make it too complicated, then we won’t move the industry forward.”

Measurement challenges persist. As Laura Nelson, SVP, Advertising Solutions and Performance, Disney Ad Sales, said at our panel on the future of addressable TV, the TV industry has to come together to solve measurement challenges. “Every TV conversation devolves into measurement and that needs to change,” Laura said, adding, “For us to get the full value of our video inventory, we need to fix the measurement collective – publishers, agencies and tech platforms.”

Culture and diversity are prevailing topics once again. John Legend, Marc Pritchard and Katie Couric talked about racial and gender inclusion efforts, with Pritchard saying his hope is P&G’s spots like “We Believe” and “The Look” are intended to “change perspective, to promote introspection, to think about things.” On the topic of diverse hiring and focusing on the pipeline of talent, Verizon CMO Diego Scotti said, “You might hire all the diverse people that you want, but if they come to an environment where they’re not going to feel included, then it’s just a waste of time.”

Influencer marketing gets both a hot and cold reception. Chrissy Teigen’s appearance at Twitter Beach was one of the buzziest events of the week – the Twitter icon and author spoke about the power of social media and how she connects with a diverse spectrum of people through her Twitter presence. Others were not as receptive to influencer marketing in general with a campaign of street signs posted around the city saying ““STOP Encouraging Influencers” and Samsung’s global CMO saying she’s pessimistic about the form of marketing.

This Week in TV News: Apple’s Award Ambitions and a Netflix Murder Mystery

This week, we’re talking about the “Games of Thrones” prequel, Netflix’s murder mystery starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, and Apple’s award season ambitions.

HBO hits big ratings. The network recently started airing “Euphoria,” a new series, and it premiered its second episode from season two of “Big Little Lies.” “Euphoria” captured around one million viewers from cable, HBO GO and HBO NOW. Episode two of “Big Little Lies” had a 7% rise in viewership from the first episode (1.5 million, up front 1.4 million viewers). (Variety)

Apple looks for awards season winners. This fall, Apple is launching Apple TV+, and the company wants the highest industry accolades to prove its quality and is looking to make six small-budget movies a year “with an eye toward stories that could win Academy Awards.” (IndieWire)

Netflix’s murder mystery is killing it. Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler star in Netflix’s newest original film, “Murder Mystery.” In its first three days, 30.87 million accounts watched it. This is the most successful opening weekend for a Netflix film. In the movie, a cop (Sandler) and his wife (Aniston) attempt to solve a perplexing murder aboard a yacht in Europe. (Variety)

Winter is coming, again. The as-of-now untitled “Game of Thrones” prequel began filming in Northern Ireland, a main production location for the original series. The prequel hasn’t officially gotten picked up as a series by HBO yet. HBO may be cautious considering the original series famously reshot its entire pilot after casting concerns. (TV Guide)

How Cadent Addressable and Data-Driven Linear Give TimberTech an Edge Over the Competition

As the benefits of addressable TV advertising become clearer to advertisers, more are using the medium to reach high-value households relevant to them.

Outdoor living products brand TimberTech, for instance, wanted to increase purchase volume by advertising their newest decking product to a highly targeted audience. Working with Cadent, the brand uses addressable TV to precisely target high-value households most likely to be interested in its new product.

TimberTech’s research shows that homeowners don’t just want to keep up with the latest trend when it comes to outdoor living spaces; they want to be ahead of it by a mile. And the brand has to meet those homeowners wherever they look for information, consume media or get inspired for their next project.

The combined power of addressable and linear TV

TimberTech takes a two-fold approach: First, the brand uses data-driven linear TV to build awareness and connect with its wider base efficiently. And then, using addressable TV, TimberTech zeros in on homeowners in a target age and income range, as well as those who have recently moved or are in the market for a remodeling project.

The addressable ads pulse during key strategic sales periods in order to reach homeowners and remodelers when they’re ready to make a purchase. Simultaneously, the linear TV campaign shares always-on messaging via cable to a broader base and builds large-scale awareness of the TimberTech brand. By pulsing its addressable TV campaign with its data-driven linear TV campaign, TimberTech efficiently increases frequency among hand-raisers to drive both brand awareness and purchase intent during key sales periods.

Throughout the campaigns, Cadent tracks the data-driven linear and addressable advertising flights side-by-side, offering a big-picture understanding of TV’s role in the customer journey.

Jeanine Gaffke, CMO of TimberTech’s parent company, said the brand has a digital mindset when it comes to TV – just as digital mediums like display, social and mobile can finely target audiences with relevant messages in order to move the needle, so should TV.

“Addressable TV will now become part of our arsenal, and we’ll keep refining as we go along.” Jeanine said, adding, “We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen thus far, and we’re just as excited about what can happen in the future.”

By working with integrated advertising agency Two by Four and using Cadent Advanced TV Platform, TimberTech is able to seamlessly execute a national addressable campaign. Because TimberTech sees its partners as an extension of its team, Jeanine said that TimberTech chose Cadent as a partner for its alignment with TimberTech’s value system and its expertise in the market.

“With Cadent, we’re able to reach our core audience without any wasted impressions. We can articulate the benefits of our brand and product line in an attention-grabbing way to a highly-qualified audience.” – Jeanine Gaffke, CMO of TimberTech’s parent company

Cadent makes it simple to reach targeted national audiences at scale. Learn more about Cadent Platform and how addressable TV advertising can move the needle for brands.

This Week in TV News: BET’s Streaming Service and the Blues Win the Stanley Cup

This week, we’re talking about connected TV inventory growth, the Stanley Cup and BET’s new streaming service.

Connected TV inventory is growing. Connected TV inventory is growing, according to eMarketer, which expects 57.2% of the US population will watch connected TV this year, up from 51.7% in 2017. As time spent watching increases, inventory will increase, too. (eMarketer)

The Blues win and the Stanley Cup scores big ratings. The St. Louis Blues scored a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. The game was watched by 8.2 million total viewers, up 24% on the rating for Game 6 and up 26% on the second-last game’s total viewership, with 6.1 million viewers. (Variety)

BET is the latest to launch a streaming service. The new streaming service from BET, launching later this year, will host content from the BET channel and other channels owned by parent company Viacom. Shows on the service include “First Wives Club,” a series based on the 1996 movie of the same name, as well as original content from Tyler Perry. (Engadget)

People prefer phones. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults say they rely on their smartphone the most for accessing the internet, an increase from 19% of respondents in 2013, according to Pew Research. What’s more, 17% of respondents said smartphones are the only device they use to get online. In part, this is probably due to better device quality, including larger, better screens, more memory and storage, faster processors. (MediaPost and Quartz)

The Future of TV Is Cross-Screen Reach, Not Walled Gardens

What used to be a one-dimensional process for a marketer 20 years ago, buying ads on a small number of major networks to reach a national audience, has turned into a multi-faceted challenge today. In this new era of television, finding relevant TV audiences comes down to how viewers behave, the content they’re watching, and the devices they’re watching it on.

The opportunity couldn’t be greater. There’s a chance to create deeper, more meaningful TV campaigns than ever before, but rapid changes in viewership, with consumers accessing content across platforms, devices and services, have pushed marketers to rethink how they’re reaching audiences. Silos around content and data create fragmentation challenges for the entire TV industry.

Gated content and data, more devices and fragmentation

We’ve seen an explosion of activity as old and new TV come together. Business models have emerged that gate content to ensure that consumers spend most of their time watching video within a provider’s platform, the content garden.

The fusing of digital and TV results in yet another business model—the data garden. In this model, a provider offers different services tied together through an anonymous ID, and that ID is activated to create more personalized recommendations and enable targeted advertising across such services. Amazon is a great example of a data garden—their Prime ID ties together Whole Food shopping data, Fire TV viewing, online shopping and voice services. With its recent acquisition of Sizmek’s ad serving and dynamic creative business, Amazon has the tools for advertisers and agencies to extend their data garden to the internet at large.

For consumers, the effect is the unbundling or disaggregation of content and services. These provide more options, but also more complexity for advertisers reaching consumers across experiences. Today a consumer might watch sports and news on live television, dramas on subscription VOD, and comedies through OTT. The implication of all this for marketers is that there are three key variables that must be accounted for when building a plan: content, data, and viewing platform.

Data-driven TV is supposed to address these challenges, but the reality is that today, there is a gap between what is needed versus what is available in the ecosystem.

Media companies have tried to address these issues by building higher content and data silos to control more variables and therefore present a more unified, standard way for advertisers to reach their audiences. The challenge is one TV partner might have strength in data and its platform but lacks content and means of distribution. Another might have a plethora of content but lacks a cohesive way for marketers to execute a campaign across the TV formats needed for national reach. With consumers viewing across multiple silos, this is not a viable long-term solution because no one garden will ever have critical mass.

The overall impact of this fragmentation is horizontal and spans the entire ecosystem, from reducing ad loads to setting standards for exchanging data.

The new TV environment

TV has evolved into a multifaceted tool that can be used to connect with consumers throughout their journey to purchase. New formats like OTT can add the dimension and depth needed to forge a strong brand-consumer relationship.

But if the TV industry, including service providers, content publishers and technology platforms, doesn’t work together to create simplicity around the variables of content, data and device, we will not realize the promise of data-driven advertising for marketers or seamless viewing experiences for consumers. Instead, we will force our constituents to cobble together an uneven experience created by disparate business rules.

The industry has taken first steps, including Xandr’s announcement of Community; Comcast, Charter and Cox’s support of NCC’s new model; and Project OAR. But we can’t let well-intentioned initiatives like these become new silos in their own right.

The new TV ecosystem will be about exchanging data and aligning with consumer choice. Success in finding audiences will have nothing to do with individual value propositions of walled gardens or working with one provider for everything—it’ll be about reaching audiences across screens, devices, formats and services.

Why Operators Must Guard Consumer Experiences as TV Becomes More Data-Driven

Google’s recent test of ads on the home screen of an Android-powered Sony TV should have been an eye-opening event for TV service providers intent on growing “time spent” on their video platforms: you are not in full control of your customers viewing experience.

As the TV ecosystem becomes more layered, there are many services that contribute to a customer’s experience. There are content publishers, device manufacturers, and Internet companies all trying to provide their own unique and member experience across program guides and app interfaces on TVs, tablets, and mobile phones. The foundation of all of this is the service provider who provides the linear or IPTV platform to the home.

Each of those constituents operates a different business model – networks have affiliate agreements and rev shares, device manufacturers have a retail model, and internet companies have advertising models. While all models are needed to support a vibrant ecosystem, when they clash, it creates consumer dissatisfaction.

Case in point: Recently, Google began a pilot program on the home screen of Android-powered Sony TVs, where they inserted a “sponsored content” channel on the homescreen on the devices. This Google-powered promotional channel appeared without warning, can’t be moved or removed, and displayed no indication of how these “recommendations” were determined.

For an advertising company used to operating in the ad-supported content world of the Internet, testing a new ad unit probably seemed like business-as-usual. But while TV content itself is ad-supported, TV devices are purchased at retail, with the expectation of features set upon purchase. Purchasing a device with full knowledge that it will show advertisements is different than waking up one day to find that your multi-thousand dollar purchase suddenly decided to start monetizing your family’s eyeballs.

There are three lessons that service providers can learn from this rapidly changing world.

Safeguard the customer experience.

Time spent on service-provider platforms will continue to expand with the growth of new, IP-based services, especially as consumers are offered more and more OTT and app-based “channel packages” along with more comprehensive traditional pay TV packages. While this is a positive for providers in that it positions them well in the core strength as aggregators of communication services, the downside is that those IP services might come with Internet business models that don’t necessarily fit the quality, respect-the-viewer paradigm of television.

Obtrusiveness, invasiveness, irrelevance and lack of choice are known culprits in the consumer/advertiser digital disconnect. As a result, a growing number of people tune out online ads, run ad blockers and opt out completely. But has this spurred a reckoning or any self-awareness in the advertising world? Not really. Industry panel after industry panel focuses on making better ads. Better ads are fine, but what consumers really care about is the overall experience and the choices platforms provide.

With so many content and app services available, operators have an opportunity to enrich their subscribers’ experience and provide more valuable services by using data to understand the customer better – and then offer more relevant recommendations, choices for engaging with services, along with transparency about how data is used, and fierce protection of data collected with the ability to opt out.

Protect subscriber data.

When used appropriately, subscriber data can help service providers understand usage patterns, recommend new services, and provide a better overall experience across platforms. A provider that has built business competencies across these areas can more easily expand the customer relationship, by offering the right next-generation service for their needs.

To drive this, seamless subscriber management, audience data management and segmentation, and data science/attribution services must be core pieces of the on-premise technology stack. While outsourcing advanced advertising to an Internet- or cloud provider might seem like a quick way to incorporate new services, an operator-managed architecture designed to maintain key information and functionality within a secure network environment is the only way to prevent data leakage and disintermediation of the customer experience.

Understand the business models of your partners.

As the platform provider for all next-generation services to the home, the service provider needs to think carefully about the downstream effect of any partnerships. Which rights are granted to the partner? What’s their long-term business model and could it be in conflict with your subscriber-experience first approach? How do they protect data and provide transparency?

It’s also important to think about your partners’ partners – will a new device or service on your platform be a “trojan horse” for an unwanted service, much like owners of Sony Android TVs unknowingly brought Google ad services into their living rooms? More consumers have more of their devices and experiences connecting across screens and channels in an Apple, Amazon, Google or Netflix ecosystem. How can service providers leverage its scale and strength in customer relationships to guard subscribers from unwanted experiences and less-than-transparent monetization?

Some digital marketing paradigms would improve the TV customer experience. Customer lifecycle management, for instance, should make its way to TV. The data and analytics each company has can guide smarter, more valuable and better experiences for consumers as their lives grow and evolve with devices at the center. So, as advanced TV services continue to capture grows, every data company, content provider and service must remain laser-focused on the customer experience or suffer the same diminishing returns as the digital advertising sector.

Read more about TV’s role in customer experiences.

This Week in TV News: Mobile Surpasses Traditional TV Time and the LeBron Effect

This week, we’re talking about mobile phone use surpassing traditional TV broadcasts, the LeBron James effect on ratings and which shows to watch, now that “Game of Thrones” is no more.

We’re living in a mobile world. People are spending more time on their phones than they are watching traditional TV broadcasts, according to eMarketer. This year, American adults will spend nearly three hours and forty-five minutes on mobile devices daily versus three hours and thirty-five minutes spent watching TV. But, eMarketer notes, mobile time isn’t supplanting TV content altogether, especially with the rise of OTT services. Since 2014, OTT viewers have increased by 34 million people, while traditional TV viewers have declined by 12 million people, according to research from eMarketer. (NBC News)

Ratings without LeBron. The Toronto Raptors played the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA finals, and ratings were low – a 3.7 in the 18-49 demo with 10.4 million total viewers. Variety cites two factors behind the decline: the lack of LeBron James and a Canadian team in the finals. (Variety)

What to watch after GoT. “Game of Thrones” is over. What should a dedicated TV superfan watch next? Quartz has a guide for a variety of Thrones fans, from those who like mythology to sweeping historical drama with high production values. (Quartz)

See last week’s TV trends.