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Fireside Chat Replay: Citi’s Mike Venables and Cadent’s Jim Tricarico  

Earlier this week, Cadent President of Sales and CRO, Jim Tricarico led a fireside chat with Mike Venables, Managing Director, Head of Media at Citi for the Brand Innovators’ Fall 2021 Media Buying Summit. Their discussion centered on the state of media buying in today’s changing media landscape, how Citi stands out from the pack in a competitive financial services marketplace, and the importance of building a strategic data mix. Mike and Jim also touched on how diversity, equity, and inclusion remain at the forefront of Citi’s business model, as well Mike’s experiences moving from the agency world to in-house. 

Watch the full conversation below.  

TV Ad Tech 101: Let’s Talk About Delivery Device & Method

This is Class 6 where we will learn about Delivery Device & Method. In case you missed it, catch up on previous classes. 

The TV landscape is complex and constantly evolving. From the days of only broadcast and cable to today’s variety of advanced TV offerings, it is a challenge to keep up with the latest terminology. With a growing interest in ways technology can bring brands and audiences closer together, media buyers are left to figure out how it all works. To help you navigate this complex ecosystem, we’ve broken out the core elements of the TV landscape into a six-part series we’re calling TV Ad Tech 101. 

The method and device used to deliver TV content continues to be a hot topic among advertisers. Whether your audience is watching terrestrial broadcast, digital cable, or advanced TV on a television set, computer, or mobile device, you need to know how your media is getting from the distribution partners to the viewers’ screens. What’s important to note is that many viewers use multiple delivery devices and methods. It’s possible that an individual could watch the nightly news on a cable set-top box, then switch to a smart TV to stream their favorite show. With the growth of consumer TV services, advertisers must be careful not to confuse or misunderstand how and where their advertisement will be displayed. Below, we explain the differences between types of delivery devices and methods.  

Types of TV Delivery Devices & Methods 


OTA (over-the-air) is how television broadcasts from national networks and local TV stations reach your home. The simplest delivery method, all you need to watch is a television and a digital antenna. For many years, the only means of watching TV was OTA, via rooftop and rabbit-ear antennas. Today’s digital TV antennas allow consumers in rural areas to receive high-definition TV for free. Given the nature of this delivery, OTA is only used by broadcast.  


QAM is a type of digital TV that uses quadrature amplitude modulation. This delivery method is used by cable distribution partners for Wi-Fi and dialup modems. While OTA delivery requires an ATSC turner to receive the channels broadcast to an antenna, QAM-based delivery uses QAM turner to transmit service to a household’s cable connection. QAM delivery is used by broadcast, cable, indexed and addressable STB.  

To review all of our previous classes, visit the TV Ad Tech 101 hub.

Set-Top Box 

Set-top boxes, often called “cable boxes,” are pieces of hardware that use analog or digital TV turners to input an external signal and output TV on a television set. This device converts video content to analog or digital TV signals through a wired connection. Like QAM-based delivery, set-top box can be used by broadcast, cable, indexed and addressable STB. 

Smart TVs, Connected Devices & Sticks, Gaming Consoles & Mobile  

Smart TVs, connected devices & sticks, gaming consoles and mobile phones are all options when it comes to watching CTV and OTT. These devices vary in size and capabilities, but all share the ability to connect to the internet and support a range of streaming apps.  

Why It Matters 

The delivery device and method in which TV is transmitted determines how your ad is encoded so it plays correctly, no matter how you audience is watching. However, different types of TV delivery require different advertising strategies. If your campaign objective is to reach a mass audience, you may want to focus on networks and programs delivered OTA. But if your campaign objective is to reach a specific audience and lift foot traffic to your brand’s brick-and-mortar stores, you could consider activating through OTT services that are available on mobile devices. Ultimately, delivery device and method are factors that should be considered from the start in order to drive the intended results.  

TV Ad Tech 101: Let’s Learn About Distribution Partners

This is Class 5 where we will learn about Distribution Partners. In case you missed it, catch up on previous classes. 

The TV landscape is complex and constantly evolving. From the days of only broadcast and cable to today’s variety of advanced TV offerings, it is a challenge to keep up with the latest terminology. With a growing interest in ways technology can bring brands and audiences closer together, media buyers are left to figure out how it all works. To help you navigate this complex ecosystem, we’ve broken out the core elements of the TV landscape into a six-part series we’re calling TV Ad Tech 101. 

Distribution partners connect the ad inventory owners who run the programming you are most interested in, getting your advertisement from point A to point B. Unlike media types, which are the ways distribution partners can transfer information, or delivery devices & methods, which are the tools that enable viewing, distribution partners are the companies that manage how content reaches screens. Basically – distribution partners are the pipes that get TV shows and ads in front of audiences.  

The reason you need to know the distinct types of distribution partners is so that you better understand the complete TV advertising workflow. To provide a clearer picture of the TV landscape, we have broken down each type of distribution partner.  

Types of Distribution Partners 

Broadcasters & Local Broadcast Affiliates 

Broadcasters and local broadcast affiliates are syndicated media organizations that distribute audio and video content to mass audiences. This type of television is transmitted “over the air” by radio waves and then received by a television antenna. Modern broadcast TV is often bundled with cable and therefore does not require customers to have an antenna to receive a signal. Major broadcasters include ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, and PBS. Programming on these networks varies, from national and local news to primetime dramas and comedies, to educational series – often available to anyone who can receive the signal on their TV set.  

MVPDs & Cable Networks 

MVPDs (Multichannel Video Programming Distributors) and cable networks are entities that distribute multiple television channels. Cable providers include companies like AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, DISH, and Verizon and they deliver their content by satellite, cable, or linear broadcast systems using signals transmitted through coaxial or fiber-optic cables. Typically, cable providers package several channels that they then offer to customers who pay to subscribe to their service.  

Streaming Services, vMVPDs, TVE, & Streaming Apps + Channels 

OTT and CTV are available through streaming services, vMVPDs (Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributors), TVE (TV Everywhere, also known as authenticated streaming or authenticated video on-demand), and streaming apps or channels. Distributors in this category include SVODs (Subscription Video-On-Demand) like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, AVODs (Ad-Supported Video-On-Demand) like YouTube TV, Roku, Tubi, and Crackle, and vMVPDs like DirecTV Now, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, Pluto TV, Sling TV, and Xumo. These distributors are the content solution of choice for many “cord-cutters” who prefer to use digital, on-the-go services. Notably, these services can be available to consumers with or without advertising and include options to watch live TV, as well as video on demand. 

Why It Matters 

The fragmented TV landscape has become a significant challenge for advertisers. However, by knowing the differences between types of distribution partners and leveraging premium data solutions, advertisers are empowered to make the best decisions for their campaigns. And with tools like Cadent’s Aperture Viewer Graph, advertisers can easily and effectively reach their target audiences – across both media types and distribution partners.  

Be sure to come back next week for Class 6 of TV Ad Tech 101, where you’ll learn all about Delivery Devices & Methods.   

TV Ad Tech 101: Let’s Learn About Media Types

This is Class 4 where we will learn about Media Types. In case you missed it, catch up on previous classes. 

The TV landscape is complex and constantly evolving. From the days of only broadcast and cable to today’s variety of advanced TV offerings, it is a challenge to keep up with the latest terminology. With a growing interest in ways technology can bring brands and audiences closer together, media buyers are left to figure out how it all works. To help you navigate this complex ecosystem, we’ve broken out the core elements of the TV landscape into a six-part series we’re calling TV Ad Tech 101. 

A lot has changed since the first TV broadcast in July of 1928. After cable TV was introduced in the late 1940s, these two types of TV dominated for decades. More recently, indexed, addressable, CTV & OTT have disrupted this once monolithic industry. As fragmentation across the TV landscape continues to grow, how do you know what media type is right for your brand and your ad?  

It’s important to understand why and how you should leverage each type of TV media to ensure you’re reaching your brand’s target consumers. The key differences come down to audience, activation, and attribution: How can you target viewers? How do you launch a campaign? And how can you measure outcomes?   

The 5 TV Media Types  

To help you make the most of your advertising, we’ve broken down the 5 TV media types.  

Broadcast television, which includes news and syndicated programming, remains a vital part of reaching audiences at scale. In fact, nearly half (44%) of adults prefer to get their news on TV – more than any other medium, including online, through print or radio. This preference for watching news live means broadcast is immune to the pitfalls of DVR: viewers watch the news with commercials, as opposed to fast-forwarding through when watching later. By combining the relevance and resonance of local television with the ability to scale nationwide, you can deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.   

Cable offers advertisers access to cost-effective, premium, national inventory with the benefit of optimizing based on network, programming, and daypart. By advertising on cable, you get placement on the highest-quality content, meaning you can guarantee both brand safety and contextual relevance. Additionally, by pairing verified third-party research with your cable activations, you’re able to learn what drove success and have true visibility into post-campaign effectiveness. Reaping the benefits of both media types, many successful campaigns combine cable and broadcast.   

Indexed-based buying is determined by data that measures a specific program’s audience composition compared to all TV audiences. The index is used to identify consumers that are more likely to be in-market for a particular audience by matching household income or purchasing behaviors to viewing habits. Audience viewer data for indexed TV is data is gathered from set-top boxes or smart TVs. When planning for indexed TV, buyers need to weigh the value of high indexing, more targeted audiences that may come at a higher cost, versus lower indexing programs, that may be lower priced but reach a less precise audience.  

Addressable linear TV, much like indexed TV, is all about targeting. With this more targeted approach, addressable TV advertising enables brands to not only engage an in-market audience but also follow the customer journey by layering purchase and behavioral data to reach existing buyers. This provides a lift in KPIs including customer loyalty, market penetration, and competitive conquesting. The audience viewer data for addressable TV is gathered from cable or STB. Using this data, advertisers are able to deliver ads to specific households, based on things like income, purchase history and demographics. Interest in this media type continues to grow as automated solutions simplify the process of planning, buying, and measuring addressable TV advertising.  

CTV (connected TV) is television connected to the internet through ethernet or Wi-Fi. OTT (over the top) refers to video content that is accessed “over the top” of the traditional, closed television system. This includes video content streamed on any internet-connected device – including a CTV-enabled device. While advertisers may have concerns about this skippable ad environment, marketers have to be willing to go where their audience goes. As a result, what OTT and CTV may lack in scale, they make up for in incremental reach. To make the most of this media type, brands need to be strategic about frequency, context, and content.  

For a full rundown of today’s TV Landscape, download our new infographic. 

Be sure to come back next week for Class 5 of TV Ad Tech 101, where you’ll learn all about Distribution Partners.  

TV Ad Tech 101: Let’s Learn About Viewing Experience

This is Class 3 where we will learn about Viewing Experience. In case you missed it, catch up on previous classes. 

The TV landscape is complex and constantly evolving. From the days of only broadcast and cable to today’s variety of advanced TV offerings, it is a challenge to keep up with the latest terminology. With a growing interest in ways technology can bring brands and audiences closer together, media buyers are left to figure out how it all works. To help you navigate this complex ecosystem, we’ve broken out the core elements of the TV landscape into a six-part series we’re calling TV Ad Tech 101.  

Viewing experience refers to how audiences engage with content. In today’s TV landscape, the main ways of viewing TV are live linear – which is how you would watch TV on broadcast or cable, and on-demand – which includes addressable STB (smart TVs), VOD (video on demand), and DVR (digital video recorder). Viewing experience differs from media type and delivery device & method because the only thing you need to consider with viewing experience is whether the content is viewed live, in real-time, or after an original air date, on-demand.  

Now you may be wondering, what makes a viewing experience ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for audiences? However, the answer is more complex as there are pros and cons to all viewing experiences. To help explain the importance of viewing experience, below are a few examples of how it impacts ad placement.  

Examples of Viewing Experience 

Live Sports 
When it comes to viewing experience, there are few categories of TV that attract engaged audiences better than live sports. And the ads that run during games, matches, and playoffs offer advertisers prime exposure to these attentive viewers. Its why advertisers pay a premium to have their ads placed during major sports moments like the Super Bowl, March Madness and the U.S. Open. Due to its live, in-the-moment nature, TV is one of the best ways to capitalize on these highly engaged sports audiences. In a recent interview on sports viewership, VAB’s Jason Wiese emphasized this point saying, “…linear TV has most of the viewership and OTT is complimentary to that.” 

Nightly News 
Watching the nightly news can be a ritual – amplified by the comfort of anchors you know talking about the local issues you care about. As a result, local news offers a unique viewing experience and can create a halo effect of trust when an ad is placed during the news program. For others, watching the news is a new part of their daily routine. In fact, in 2020, viewership for network local affiliate news stations increased by 4% in both the evening and late night time slots. While some of this may be attributed to 2020 being an election year, trends have shown that interest in TV news, especially local broadcast, is here to stay. 

Primetime vs. On-Demand 
Primetime TV shows continue to draw large audiences, despite recent declines. Simultaneously, the line between programs available on live linear and through VOD or streaming services also continues to blur. However, viewing experience for TV on-demand is considerably different than tuning into a show every week at 8 p.m. Commercials on linear TV are typically viewed on a TV screen. Commercials on VOD platforms are viewed on TV screens, laptops, mobile phones and other devices. Live linear TV plays from start to finish, with planned breaks for advertisements. VOD can be stopped and started by the viewer.  

Why It Matters 

While these are only a few instances of how viewing experience impacts TV and consequently, TV advertising, they demonstrate why it is vital to take viewing experience into consideration when creating an ad campaign. Yet viewing experience is only one of many factors that changes how audiences consume your ad. Differences in viewing experience, content, media types, and devices all impact how your campaign is received by consumers. It is each interconnected piece that makes up the complete TV landscape.  

For a full rundown of the TV Landscape, download our new infographic.

Be sure to come back next week for Class 4 of TV Ad Tech 101, where you’ll learn all about Media Types. 

TV Ad Tech 101: Let’s Learn About Premium Content

This is Class 2 where we will learn about Premium Content. In case you missed it, catch up on Class 1, Campaign Objectives.

The TV landscape is complex and constantly evolving. From the days of only broadcast and cable to today’s variety of advanced TV offerings, it is a challenge to keep up with the latest terminology. With a growing interest in ways technology can bring brands and audiences closer together, media buyers are left to figure out how it all works. To help you navigate this complex ecosystem, we’ve broken out the core elements of the TV landscape into a six-part series we’re calling TV Ad Tech 101. 

What do we mean when we say ‘premium content’? Premium content refers to high-quality, professionally produced TV programming. Whether your audience is watching an episode of their favorite show, a movie, or sporting event, today’s premium content can be viewed across channels, media types, and devices. Premium content is typically part of a paid TV service or subscription.  

Understanding the difference between TV content types is important when developing your media plan. Advertisers want to know that their ads – their brand and their messaging – are running alongside content that captures the attention of their target audience while adhering to their brand’s standards. So how do you know whether the content your ad will be featured within is premium? We’re sharing some of the best performing genres of premium content available on linear, CTV, and OTT media.  

Premium Content Genres 

To understand the TV landscape, you need to be familiar with what premium content is most popular with consumers. According to Statista, drama, action and comedy are among the top genres. However, while a genre may be popular with a larger segment of viewers, it may not be popular with your target audience. Below are just a few ways brands can think about premium content.  

Primetime Dramas: If your brand is looking to cast the widest net and reach audiences across a variety of demographics, primetime dramas may be a great option. Whether consumers are watching during the 8 to 11 p.m. time slot or on-demand, these programs tend to have high viewership.  

Family Comedies: When trying to reach families, moms, or children, comedies allow brands to capitalize on co-viewing habits. For example, advertising during comedy shows could be a strategic opportunity around the back-to-school and holiday seasons.   

Action & Adventure: Looking to reach an audience that enjoys physical activity, spending time outside, or a bit of thrill-seeking? Action and adventure shows can place your brand in front of many different types of viewers that may be receptive to your messaging.  

Local News: In recent years, there has been a resurgence in viewership of local news stations, especially as younger Americans move to cities beyond the coasts and become more involved in political causes. In fact, Nielsen reports that today’s local news audience is “diverse, young and informed.”

Live Sports: As we emerge from the pandemic, audiences are eager to see a return to regular sports seasons. Additionally, as sports like women’s soccer continue to grow their fan base, more viewers will be tuning into live games.  

Hobbies & Interests: Seeking fans of cooking, gardening, home design, history, or science? With the explosion of media types has also come an increase in the breadth of programming. Broadcast, cable, and CTV/OTT all offer shows geared towards these specialized interests.  

Docu-Series: Newer to the scene are docu-series. While some multi-part historical shows have existed in the past, today’s docu-series span a variety of sub-topics including nature, true crime, and food.  

Why It Matters 

As the content universe expands, advertisers need to know what to expect from their placements. Ultimately, not all TV is created equal. When advertising on premium content, the viewing experience, engagement quality, and brand safety are a few of the key benefits, as compared to other forms of video advertising such as online video clips. The next time you’re planning a TV campaign, keep in mind that where and how the ad is viewed matters just as much as the impressions delivered.  

For a full rundown of the TV Landscape, download our new infographic.

Be sure to come back next week for Class 3 of TV Ad Tech 101, where you’ll learn all about the Viewing Experience.  

Cadent Virtual Upfront: Marketers’ Discuss Priorities for ’21-22, Need for Accountability and Transparency

Yesterday, Cadent held our Virtual Upfront, bringing together experts from across the industry to discuss how TV media buying will change in 2021 and beyond, as well as the evolution of CTV. The event was moderated by MediaVillage’s Jack Myers and produced in partnership with Brand Innovators.   

Catch a replay of the full event here and read our 5 key takeaways below. 

1. Flexibility Will Incentivize Long-Term Investment

Rapid change, accelerated by the pandemic, has ricocheted throughout the TV industry. However, it is these changes that have enabled a new level of flexibility that would have been unheard of just last year. Cathy Shaffner, Chief Investment Officer of Empower explains, “What we’re urging our brands to do is resist the fear to go back to the way things were a year ago and realize we have a great opportunity to expand how we’re purchasing video, just as consumers are expanding away from the living room and how they’re consuming video. And so I think we have to be very careful that we don’t fall back into the old stigma of ‘got to get in early, got to lay down a lot of dollars, got to lock myself in with limited flexibility.” 

2. Efficiency & Automation Are the Industry’s Driving Force 

Fragmentation across TV has resulted in many challenges for buyers, most notably in terms of scale. Maureen Bosetti, Chief Investment Officer of Initiative emphasizes, “You can’t reaggregate the scale we used to have… so you have to go outside of it to get that reach.” As Cadent CEO, Nick Troiano states, “When I think about the future of TV and the complexity of fragmentation of devices and platforms, from Cadent’s perspective, it’s not just about providing solutions and flexibility, it’s about providing automation from a suite of technology and platforms.” That is why Cadent’s platform is designed to establish a new type of efficiency for TV buying—beyond the upfront. 

3. Strong Partnerships Are Empowering Both the Buy & Sell-Side 

Agencies and brands are ready for more transparency and accountability from their partners, with Amplifi’s Mike Law saying, “Clients are definitely motivated and are being held to more performance-driven metrics, so [agencies] need to focus more on business-driven outcomes.” This has encouraged agencies to explore the different offerings in the marketplace and build stronger relationships with their tech partners. In speaking about her experience working with Cadent, Inna Kern, Vice President of Media Strategy and Planning for ESPN shares, “I feel like the more transparent, the more I can empower you, the more information I can give you, the better plans you can turn around for us. One of the things I appreciate most about your business is that I see [Cadent] very much in the partnership lens. When money was tight or non-existent, you still gave us a level of service that hopefully now money will open up and we will be in a different place.” 

4. Attribution Will Continue to Guide Decision-Making

As TV continues to grow and evolve, access to better attribution solutions will be critical for buyers. Carrie Drinkwater drove this point home saying, “At the end of the day, attribution will tell you where your money needs to go. Attribution will be our media mix modeling and our true north of how we move forward… Every client needs to understand what they’re trying to achieve and what attribution models will help them get there.” Yet attribution still faces several obstacles in light of new streaming services. Gibbs Haljun, Total Investment Lead for GroupM’s Mindshare argues, “You can utilize Cadent to replicate all of the Disney cable networks…but I think then the onus comes to them to help us with different replacement options and push measurement further.”

5. Opportunity Abounds In Video Advertising

The experts agreed—the consequence of change is that video is ripe with opportunity! Mike Law, President of Amplifi says, “The opportunity that sits in front of us is great – consumers have proven that they want great content, and our advertisers and brands are recognizing that there are a lot of changes happening in the market.” Carrie Drinkwater, Chief Investment Officer for Mediahub Global goes on to say, “We are being forced and encouraged to have this shift. Forced due to the supply and diminished erosion. And encouraged, because of the opportunity with data and content.” 

Click here to learn more and watch individual sessions from our 2021 Upfront event.

The Case for TV as an Alternative to Social Media Marketing

In the current advertising landscape, brands have a lot to contend with when considering how they position themselves. Companies are treading lightly to avoid sounding tone-deaf or insensitive. Take the Facebook boycott, for instance. As misinformation spread on the platform, an ultimatum was issued: Facebook needs to change its rules, or brands would pull their ads from the platform.

Advertisers are concerned about messages potentially damaging to their brand image and relationships with customers. If an ad appears next to a post that is spreading something hateful, consumers could associate one message with another. As the list of companies pulling ads grow, the question that begs to be asked is, how can brands continue to maintain and grow their business without advertising on the largest social media walled garden?

The pandemic has brought a change to the landscape of TV marketing, and a recent CMO survey from Deloitte, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the AMA outline that consumers are becoming more receptive of companies promoting social good. Consumers prioritize trusted relationships with brands and will reward brands who are actively participating in social activism and outreach. Brands who utilize their broad platforms to spread accurate information and invest in social change appeal to consumers who see brand relationships as an extension of themselves instead of a business transaction.

Many aspects of life have shifted as well, with shutdowns forcing nearly 158 million Americans home, and people are turning on their TVs to stay up to date on the news and curb boredom. Three-fourths of U.S. consumers have upgraded streaming subscriptions and TV-connected devices, according to Nielsen, to stay connected to the press while at home. As attention to TV grows and changes in the marketing landscape occur, brands are beginning to improvise and are now turning back to TV advertising to fulfill their needs for a national reach and reconnect with their audiences.

Turning Toward TV

Focusing ad dollars on TV is making a lot of sense to advertisers. It’s “the ultimate brand-safe medium,” writes TV [R] EV’s Alan Wolk. Advertisers can avoid channels with polarizing shows and make use of high engagement as their audiences watch at home. And with TV advertising’s sophisticated targeting abilities today, advertisers can speak to their audiences at the device-level.

TV also has the power to create an emotional connection with consumers in a way that social media ads cannot. A campaign’s sight and sounds are easier to remember than a desktop ad that is thrown in with several other ads on the same web page. Neuroscience studies show that we use the same part of our brain to process music and our emotions and memories. TV ads are memorable because their music drives the action of the ad matched with compelling visuals, which create a more impactful storyline. Audiences give TV ads more focus because only one ad runs at a time, and with the proper audience segmentation, that demographic will be more engaged.

Reacting decisively is vital for brands as consumers scrutinize companies’ actions during the pandemic; the Facebook boycott being one example. Utilizing the broad reach of TV, brands can create thoughtful campaigns that highlight the transparency of company actions. Furthermore, the TV medium continues to rate as the most effective form of catching consumers’ attention. According to research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, consumers are three times more likely to respond to TV advertising than messages delivered through other mediums.

Social media advertising is the new kid on the block. Still, TV advertising has legacy and prestige that appeal to consumers in a way that native advertising has yet to achieve. Paying for a Superbowl ad is more impressive because those ads deliver greater ROI and increase brand recall. The TV medium is safer for brands, more memorable for consumers, and has evolved to be more advanced for advertisers. Facebook ads are convenient to click on and can yield a temporary increase in traffic, but an effective TV campaign will be remembered for decades.

Read more about the power of sight, sound and motion on TV.

What an Uptick in Co-viewing Means for Advertisers

People naturally turn to TV for connections with others. From gathering around a shared TV set in the 1950s to posting about their favorite show on social media today, it has always played a significant role in our social experiences. 

During a time when our interactions with others are limited, the desire for communal television is as prevalent as ever. We seek out mutual experiences and shared points of reference as audiences of all ages strive to remain connected during calls to stay at home and follow social distancing protocols. 

One way audiences are finding this connection is through TV co-viewing. Nielsen data shows that co-viewing makes up 34% of streaming behavior and 48% of linear TV viewing. Since the start of the pandemic, these co-viewing numbers have increased even more, especially connected TV viewership. In fact, CTV use in living rooms hasgrown noticeably, which Nielsen attributes to a heightened desire to spend time with others while watching TV. 

Co-viewing across all TV-viewing platforms peaked during the week of March 23, but even as states begin reopening, the co-viewing trend is pressing forward. Research from Ipsos found that when people were considering streaming service subscriptions, “we” statements increasedthirteen percent from last year, whereas “me” statements increased just three percent. As the “we” mentality becomes widespread, people are transitioning to think of TV viewing as a communal experience. For example, as parents spend more time at home with their children and have limited entertainment options, they seek out content that they can watch with their kids, such as The Not Too Late Show with Elmo on HBO. 

Viewers are gravitating to streaming watch parties

TV-viewing as a means of social connection has not only grown within a household in the form of co-viewing, but across households as well through streaming services’ watch parties. 

Watch parties allow users to view content with others while physically apart, either through the platform itself or a plug-in extension. For example, Twitch, a platform owned by Amazon, gives users watch-party access to Prime Video content. HBO and Hulu launched group streaming options as well. Interestingly, sixty-one percent of Hulu users watch content with others in their household, indicating the prevalence of both co-viewing and group watch parties on connected TV platforms.  

Co-viewing increases audiences’ advertising engagement

As these TV-viewing habits grow in popularity, it introduces the question, what does this mean for advertisers? 

According to research from the Video Advertising Bureau, co-viewing increases an audience’s engagement with an ad by 33 percent compared to solo viewing. Advertisements also generate a higher emotional response in co-viewers (71 percent) than single viewers (37 percent), and 63 percent of audiences say that they discuss the programming and advertisements they see on TV when watching with others. Co-viewing audiences are also less likely to change the channel.  

These benefits of advertising in co-viewing environments show that television’s social connectivity is quite advantageous for advertisers. When people watch together, they engage with advertisements more.  

The practice of advertising to co-viewing audiences is not new; advertisers have been aware of their multi-viewer audience for years. However, the introduction of new tools into the market helps advertisers and networks more accurately count co-viewers.  

Counting co-viewership on linear TV is already an established practice, but the method for connected TV is developing and gaining traction. As a Digiday article explains, connected TVs’ first-party data is matched against Nielsen’s data to determine the number of people watching TV in a room. Then, a co-viewing factor is calculated to allow for accurate audience impression counts. 

Harnessing data in this manner is critical for advertisers as the trends of co-viewing and watch parties continue. It brings the consideration of group engagement to the forefront of an ad campaign, and it allows for the inclusion of co-viewership in impressions, which reduces a campaign’s CPM. As the number of counted viewers goes up, an advertiser’s cost per impression goes down, allowing them to reach a larger audience for their advertising budget. 

As viewers turn to TV to connect with each other, advertisers can rely on it to connect with valuable TV audiences and accurately measure the impact as well.   

Three DTC Challenges Marketers Can Address with Advanced TV

Catchy ad campaigns for new direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are everywhere – whether it’s a razor that promises to drastically shave your costs along with your beard or a sustainably produced mattress that won’t break either the bank or your back.

But while few would dispute the advantages of DTC (for example, the ability to maintain control over every aspect of your product, from manufacturing to distribution) it’s challenging to be a DTC brand right now. Not only is venture capital becoming harder to attract, new customer acquisition is getting increasingly expensive, and brands are discovering that some of their earlier strategies are simply not all that effective because of their lack of hard metrics and accountability.

Previously, DTC marketers might have discounted a television audience as too broad or untargeted, but now, savvier brands are waking up to the fact that thanks to addressable, television can help them target select consumers at scale, grow, and improve their overall health.   

Addressable TV, as they’re finding out, is key to building solid one-to-one connections with potential lifelong customers.

Challenge: Social Video Inventory Constriction

DTC brands have long depended on social video to provide the scale and reach they need, but as the space evolves, digital ad costs are rising, brands are going up against each other for the same audience, and it’s becoming harder and harder to gain the attention they need to thrive.

Professionally produced television content, where advertising is considered integral to the programming, can be an antidote for the crowded (and sometimes chaotic) environment of short-form digital video and social ads. It allows marketers to increase impact because they’re delivering their message just as people are most immersed in content, and it does so in a fully brand-safe way.  

Challenge: High Costs for New Customer Acquisition 

Some experts have recently begun referring to current customer acquisition costs (CACs) as “unsustainable,” due to a variety of factors, including market saturation—a natural result of combining low barrier to entry with good return on investment in past years. Depending on the industry, acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times more than retaining current ones, according to some sources, and those costs are only expected to rise in the coming days.  

Addressable TV, however, offers brands the opportunity to efficiently reach high-value audiences at scale, with markedly lower CACs. Additionally, addressable TV delivers higher ROI in reaching the specified audience, and its ability to close the loop on television effectiveness delivers immeasurable incremental value.

Challenge: Making the Most of DTC Data

DTC brands, especially those that can be characterized as digitally native, own not only the entire business process from concept to distribution, but troves of valuable and continuously replenished first-party data. “Ownership of the data gives these brands much more knowledge about consumer needs and desires and greater ability to reach consumers quickly,” Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the IAB, told PR Week. “They are more flexible in bringing products to market.”

That data can also help them connect ad exposure to outcomes, and through addressable TV, they can be assured that they are comparing apples to apples—an important consideration since they can’t afford to know that half of their ad budget is working but not which half, as famed retailer John Wanamaker once quipped.

DTC marketers need to ascertain how their campaigns are performing, and addressable advertising makes that clearer than ever, from measuring a campaign’s effect on driving consumer purchase activities to summarizing impact on such KPIs as lift in penetration, share shift, web and foot traffic, and return on advertising spend (ROAS). 

The Bottom Line

There’s ample proof that addressable TV is a smart option for DTC brands. A recent VAB report looked at more than 100 companies who collectively spent $3.8 billion in TV advertising over the course of a single year and found that their campaigns had resulted in successes throughout the purchase funnel – from sharply elevated website traffic after a TV campaign launch to impressive lifts in sales during sustained TV campaigns.

As consumers change, brands are changing with them, and TV is keeping pace. One thing remains the same, however. TV will always provide the sight, sound, and entertainment value viewers demand.

Find out more about Cadent Addressable.