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This Week in TV News: Best Shows of the Decade and TV Execs’ 2020 Priorities

This week we’re talking about the best shows of the decade, the fate of HBO’s “Watchmen” and Facebook’s foray into the Super Bowl ad mix.

The decade’s best shows. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter’s chief TV critic, selected his favorites with episodes airing between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2019. On the list: Pamela Adlon’s FX drama “Better Things,” the story of a single mom trying to make it as an actor. Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” a drama/comedy with a touch of surreal. AMC hits “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” made the top five. See the rest of the list on THR

Who’s watching “Watchmen”? Will the show get a second season? The show’s creator, Damon Lindelof, hinted that if there is another season, he might pass the director spot to someone else. The season finale, which aired Tuesday, got nearly a million viewers at 9 p.m. and 1.6 million across platforms, according to Nielsen and HBO ratings data. It was the most-watched first season of an original show since “Big Little Lies.” (Vulture

TV execs’ top priorities for 2020. Adweek spoke with 18 TV industry execs about their biggest priorities next year, plus the obstacles that could prevent them from their goals. (Adweek)

Facebook has a Super Bowl ad in the works. And it will feature Sylvester Stallone running up the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art steps in a reprise of his “Rocky” role.  It’s a Wieden & Kennedy spot, directed by Megaforce, the French collective behind famous work including Nike’s “Nothing Beats a Londoner.” Read more about the ad and see an on-set moment shared by Stallone himself at Ad Age.

Read last week’s TV news.

Jes Santoro Joins Cadent Senior Sales Leadership

Jes Santoro, SVP, Advanced TV Sales, Cadent

Cadent is excited to share that proven sales leader Jes Santoro is joining Jim Tricarico’s Sales team as SVP, Advanced TV Sales.

Jes comes from Adobe TV Cloud, where he managed national sales and strategy for both brands and agencies across a product suite for campaign execution across data-driven linear TV, HH Addressable TV, CTV / OTT and cross-screen media.

Previously, he led Sales at Tubemogul (acquired by Adobe) for the Programmatic and Advanced TV team as well as the Enterprise Software sales team. Jes was EVP of Sales at enterprise ad tech platform Vindico, which he joined after 7 years at Comcast/NBCUniversal, where he was key to Comcast Programming’s linear TV, digital and emerging video ad sales.

Prior to Comcast/NBCU, Jes was co-founder and Vice President of Integrated Media at EarthQuake Media. He started his career at NBC and as a Media Buyer in the national TV and radio departments of BBDO.

For questions, reach out to [email protected]

This Week in TV News: Best Ads of the Year and Baby Yoda

This week we’re talking about the best shows and ads of 2019, plus Baby Yoda merch.

The best ads of the year. “It was a year of craft, biting humor and visceral surprises,” says Adweek reporter David Griner. The list includes Aviation Gin’s “Gift Responsibly,” which played off of the controversy of a Peleton ad; another gin maker, Sipsmith Gin, with a stylish animated ad from the “Isle of Dogs” animators; an IKEA ad showing the recreation of famous TV show living rooms; a Microsoft ad called “Changing the Game” that featured gamers of different ages and abilities; and in the top spot, HBO and Bud Light’s “Joust,” which both teased the final season of “Game of Thrones” and showcased the beer brand. Read more on Adweek.

Caffeinated cola is coming. Arriving this April, Pepsi Café will have twice as much caffeine as a regular Pepsi. Coca-Cola has a similar product called Coke Plus Coffee, sold in international markets for the past few years, and the brand is considering bringing it to the U.S. (Fortune)

The best shows of the year. The Hollywood Reporter rounded up the top shows that came out this year. For anyone who follows TV show buzz, the list shouldn’t have many surprises, with certified critical and audience hits including “Fleabag,” “Derry Girls,” and “Succession.” Before the decade ends, check out this list. (Hollywood Reporter)

Baby Yoda holiday gifts. The big star of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” is, as we all know, Baby Yoda, who takes over the Internet with new gifs when the show comes out each Friday. As people search for holiday presents, Hasbro has responded to the mania with a line of infant Yoda-inspired toys, as has Disney.

Read last week’s TV news.

This Holiday Season, Here’s How Retailers Are Supercharging Their TV Strategies

Holiday retail sales this year are forecasted to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% from 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. With that in mind, retail marketers aim to be everywhere consumers are during the holiday season, beginning with TV. 

With so much on the line during the holiday season – Adobe Analytics estimated 2019 Cyber Monday sales increased almost 17% over last year for a total of a total of $9.2 billion – retail marketers are taking a more data-driven approach to TV, creating sequenced campaigns that move customers through their purchase journeys and boost sales during a key period for retailers’ businesses.

The key challenge this year (and likely the key challenge next year) will be reaching fragmented viewership. In order to meet potential customers with a relevant message everywhere this holiday season, marketers have to start with an understanding of viewers. 

The evolution of TV viewership

There are many types of TV viewers today – advanced cord cutters only watch on-demand TV; some viewers still like to tune into linear TV for a set amount of time; and transitional viewers, those who fall somewhere in the middle, sometimes watching live TV, and sometimes watch on-demand.

During the holidays this year, marketers have had to orchestrate unified campaigns around constantly changing consumer behavior. The “holy grail” of digital and TV is leveraging the data and insights from one channel and bridging it to another channel for continued success. The opportunity for bridging digital and TV is rich., but unfortunately, data silos are all too common, and strategies for TV and digital remain squarely separate.

Through audience-based buying technology, retail marketers can bridge the gap for cross-screen success. For instance, when consumers engage with social media, they invariably reveal things about themselves of interest to marketers. Engaging with certain hashtags on social media shows affinity for a product or activity. For instance, engagement with #DogsofInstagram reveals that the user has a dog or is interested in dogs, while tagging posts with #FitnessMotivation or #Keto shows an interest in exercise and health. Marketers can sequence messages and control frequency through data-driven TV, keeping their brand top-of-mind with prospective customers and further spreading its message during the holiday season. 

Addressable TV advertising can be used as an extension to digital by applying data to TV. A retail marketer can place a pixel on their website to track exposed TV households that visit their sites. Afterward, they can target those visitors on TV again to reach them with a message specific to whatever stage of the customer journey they’re in. Putting all the data together, a marketer can get a much better idea of a consumer’s wants and interests than they would otherwise. 

Use TV to spark an omnichannel experience

Retail marketers today know that seamless customer experiences, from online shopping to in-store pickup, are critical to driving sales during the holiday season. The in-store experience is a still a significant differentiator – consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that 81% of Gen Z shoppers in the U.S. said they liked to transact in-store, and three out of four said they appreciated a “well-curated store experience focused on a limited number of products.”

TV, with its ability to reach customers at scale with relevant messages, is still the most successful medium at reaching a wide swath of audiences with a message and driving results. Linear TV can drive awareness of a promotion or particular items offered on Black Friday, for instance. Through data-driven TV, retail marketers can reach households during the consideration phase of their journey, such as customers who previously bought a competitor’s products or who lapsed in purchasing and could be influenced to buy again.

Addressable TV can be used to target viewers with relevant messages at the household level. What’s more, campaigns return a wealth of insights to retail marketers post-campaign, including incremental impact of addressable TV against a brand’s KPI, such as return on advertising spend (ROAS), lift in penetration, share shift and foot traffic to store locations. 

An orchestrated approach to holiday retail marketing is critical this year and will be for years to come. Retail marketers today understand customers are shopping on devices and in brick-and-mortar shops, and they’re consuming content in a variety of ways. 

In the past, retail marketers could reach the 25-54 demo through a few major TV networks. But with the proliferation of OTT, TVE, AVOD and more services, it simply doesn’t work anymore. By some counts, consumers subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform. The average consumer subscribes to three streaming services, according to Deloitte research, and with Disney+ and Apple TV Plus gaining steam and others launching in 2020, it’s not going to get easier to reach unified audiences anytime soon. 

TV viewers today watch more premium content across more channels and devices than ever before. A holistic approach to retail marketing during the holidays spans the full customer journey, from awareness to action.

For more on retail marketing campaigns, get in touch with us.

This Week in TV News: Cyber Monday and a Peloton Ad

This week we’re talking about the rise of OTT advertising in the presidential election, specifically with Joe Biden’s campaign; a record new spend for Cyber Monday; and Netflix and YouTube’s streaming platform domination this year and next year.

Joe Biden embraces OTT. The presidential candidate is investing in OTT as part of a larger ad buy in early-voting states, according to reporting from Adweek. The Biden campaign director of digital advertising for Biden’s campaign said the team recognizes “the growth of non-linear TV and will continue to invest in it as part of the paid media campaign.” The Biden campaign is spending $6 million for TV and digital ads in early-voting states. (Adweek)

Cyber Monday gets a new record spend. An estimated $9.2 billion, an increase of 16.9%, according to Adobe Analytics. The online shopping day is supposed to be a record day for smartphone spending, with over $3 billion, spent in 24 hours. (CNBC)

Netflix and YouTube are the top-watched platforms for video. And that won’t change in 2020, but they might lose some share given the intensifying competition including Disney+, HBO Max and Apple TV+. Read more from eMarketer. (Variety)

That Peloton holiday ad. Some people really hated it, saying it was sexist and out of touch. Others really, really liked it. Read why the ad resonated with some people, including a woman recovering from brain surgery and another who belongs to a Facebook group for “Peloton moms.” (CNBC)

Read last week’s TV news.

Why Cadent Is Embracing Automation and Digital Tools for Addressable TV

Cadent VP of Platform Analytics, Rachel Herbstman

Addressable TV is rapidly evolving, and Cadent is evolving with it. Read a Q&A with Cadent VP of Platform Analytics, Rachel Herbstman.

How has the Cadent Platform Analytics team evolved in the past year?

Rachel: We know we need to stay up-to-date  to handle changes in the rapidly evolving media landscape. We’ve made key hires in analytics, focusing on building a team with varied backgrounds – both media and non-media. Our newest team members have data science and computer science backgrounds so pairing those skill sets with more traditional media backgrounds is beneficial as we all have different perspectives and offer different contexts. As an analytics team, we’ve increased our operational efficiencies and it’s fun to collaborate on different insights that some of us that have worked in media for years may not be accustomed to.

With varied knowledge bases and complementing roles, we’re able to surface the performance data quickly by means of standardized scripts which inform our software and analysis. This allows for automation, freeing up our time so we can interpret the results and offer actionable insights. Ultimately, our entire team, from analytics to sales, works together to do the heavy lifting to provide the agency or advertiser digestible and sound data from which they can understand the value of their media spend.

At the conclusion of campaign measurement, our goal is to ensure we’re using our campaign data in the most effective way. Our continued client retention allows us to have a deeper understanding of audiences and viewing environments, seasonality. With more data and campaign experience, we’re able to better understand expected outcomes and therefore plan smarter garnering stronger ROAS for each client.

Over the past year, what’s different? What have you learned and where are you going?

Rachel: Everything’s different… by the day! As the landscape evolves, we’re tasked with keeping up with the challenges and opportunities so we’ve actually transformed our organizational structure to make sure we’re as efficient and current as possible. Our software approach to automation allow us to quickly slice and dice the performance data by various dimensions – audience segments, viewing environments, creative lengths or even multiple dimensions like audience segment by viewing environment. 

There’s a ton to learn from every campaign, but more data does not always equate to more learnings.

For our team, it’s about understanding the overall context of the brand and campaign initiatives and then dissecting the data points that are most relevant. With every campaign, whether it is viewed as extremely successful or not, there are actionable takeaways so campaigns that are deemed less successful by the numbers may actually provide the most insightful learnings for the advertiser. In some cases, we may learn that the proposed target audience is not as responsive as a client initially thought, or we may see that a longer creative length initially thought to be the heavy lifter isn’t actually necessary to drive an efficient response rate. While we obviously always strive to achieve incremental results, sometimes it is the campaigns that prove the opposite that teach us the most and allow the clients to rethink their entire media strategy based on real data.

Back to what we learn, one of my favorite cuts of data is the frequency analysis. For most verticals, we’re able to see the optimal exposure levels against the target  group to drive conversion for each of those audience segments. Then, since we’re executing across various supply partners, we can layer on the complexity of different viewing environments. With that understanding, our strategic recommendation is stronger for the next campaign. Frequency cuts become a pertinent piece of information that allows for campaign optimization, whether that means revised targeting criteria, shifting audience budget allocations, revised unit length mix, etc. and ultimately, stronger ROAS. We’ve had returning clients that have seen ROAS ratios increase from $1: $1.15 to a third or fourth campaign equating to $1:$5 based on those data points.

We’ve also learned that it’s not just about lower funnel metrics that data-driven tactics are generally known for. We’ve also seen other areas of success beyond just closed-loop measurement. Since we all know that audiences are fragmenting, it’s becoming more difficult to find incremental audiences so using addressable as a tactic to complement a linear television campaign could show the value in precision targeting for incremental reach. For a recent campaign, we measured the incremental cost per reach point compared to a linear schedule based on efficiency and were able to understand the point at which reach plateaus. Based on that analysis, we can determine when it is the right time to turn on a targeted OTT and/or addressable approach to increase holistic campaign reach.

How are you thinking about the frequency needed to reach marketers’ goals?

Rachel: We’re continuing to learn and validate that not all impressions are created equal. Based on our data warehouse, we can analyze the data in different ways based on different dimensional cuts. We can look at different audiences based on viewing environment or a combination. For example: We just measured a campaign for a client looking at frequency by audience, and we saw a current customer needed less frequency to convert than a prospect. That current customer likely needed a quick reminder to purchase. We’ve seen other campaigns where linear environments require more exposure. But VOD, a more lean-in space, requires half the frequency to get the same outcome. As another example, for an auto campaign promoting a new vehicle model, we saw an opposite effect – a traditional linear viewer took less frequency to drive a conversion. This was likely because they were exposed in other media content versus a VOD-viewer that may be a light TV viewer or transformational viewer, therefore needing additional brand awareness and addressable exposures.

How are you using data science and predictive business outcomes?

From a more holistic approach, a key component of Cadent’s growth over the past year has been the internal alignment with different groups within our company – not only with our addressable sales and client service team but also data engineering, data science and product teams. Again, with different skill sets across the groups, we are able to leverage historical learnings across a wide swath of advertisers and campaigns to better inform scientific models and forecast particular business outcomes.

We believe advanced TV should embrace the best of digital marketing tools and analytics to deliver valuable insights to clients. We use data science to enable data-driven decisioning on premium addressable video content, including providing insights on business outcomes.

On a campaign, advertiser and category level, we want to make sure we’re using the data that we have in the smartest ways possible. We’re constantly aligning with data science to create a variety of different performance models that will help forecast expected business outcomes. There are definitely nuances to consider like various custom audience segments, campaign initiatives (for instance: conquesting competitive shoppers vs. increasing sales among current shoppers) but with every campaign and additional data points, our models are growing stronger.

How has your understanding of viewing environments evolved?

Rachel: Cadent provides agencies and advertisers an understanding of their audiences and an understanding of how those audiences are consuming content. Based on that content, we ask, how should we be targeting them? We work closely with the advertiser or agency to understand how their current targets are set up so we can use addressable media, whether that’s OTT, VOD or linear to act as a complement and not a standalone tactic.

While our ultimate goal is generally to precisely target the core audience and measure the outcome of the media, as viewing behavior becomes increasingly fragmented, it’s critical to understand the viewing environment in which the content (or ad) is consumed. And then within those various viewing environments, we can leverage historical data to understand the frequencies with strongest conversion rates.

How is Cadent working toward standardizing metrics across the marketplace?

Rachel: This is definitely still a challenge for the industry. As landscape fragmentation increases, there will be more hurdles for standardization. There are industry groups in deep discussions about how to create measurement and currency standards across the advanced TV landscape but as of now, we’re seeing more walled gardens and measurement difficulties. That said, having executed hundreds of addressable campaigns, Cadent has the data to navigate through some of these challenges. For example, at the simplest form – the definition of an impression varies across the landscape. One operator may count an impression if the ad airs for 6+ seconds, whereas another operator may count an impression after the first frame of the ad is served. And there may be three other definitions for various providers, vMVPDs and OTT partners. One of Cadent’s value props is understanding the value of each impression because they’re definitely not all created equal. Understanding the frequency analyses based on MVPD, viewing environment, and audience allows us to normalize the impression delivery and better understand the true value of that impression to influence conversion.

Read more about Cadent’s vision for the addressable marketplace.