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[A version of this post originally published on Ad Age.]

In today’s world, where viewers curate their own “must watch TV” across a combination of content providers and screens—including TV networks, subscription video on demand (SVOD), advertising-based video on demand (AVOD), virtual multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), set-top-box (STB) and internet protocol TV (IPTV)—there is no place for siloed planning or buying. It is impossible to execute a thoughtful cross-screen campaign orchestration without automation, unified audience planning and execution, and the ability to deliver appropriate frequency at the household level. 

As an industry, we are finally at the tipping point to drive meaningful addressable scale; all the technology exists. The last step is connecting the pipes to create true interoperability.

Over the last decade, I have planned and executed thousands of addressable TV and audience-based cross-channel campaigns, both on the agency side without automation and on the sell-side with automation. I can say with absolute certainty that it is much easier with automation.  

Essentially, any type of TV (STB or IP) that allows you to target audiences at the household level and measure results against specific business outcomes is addressable.

To scale addressable, it needs to be easier to plan, buy, sell and measure. Early technology focused on turning the STB into an ad server to allow brands the ability to target strategic audiences. Next, the industry focused on creating unified audience segments to send across screens. Newer technology has automated the workflow between the buy and sell-side to create operational ease and executional efficiencies.  

Technology, when put in the hands of media buyers, makes it easier to scale addressable TV across multiple suppliers. Brands also need the ability to contemplate holistic cross-screen viewing of their target consumers by being able to find their target audiences regardless of what type of inventory they are watching.  To a consumer, TV is the content they watch; they have no idea if the commercial they are viewing was served in a local addressable STB pod, or a national addressable STB spot, or IP-based OTT/CTV inventory. As we look holistically at addressability across all these screens, brands will be able to deliver their message thoughtfully and at the appropriate frequency.

So what has stopped addressability from achieving wider adoption as a TV buying paradigm?

Ultimately, the right technology exists and agencies understand the impact, but broader collaboration is needed to ensure the best consumer experience. No one wants to send 30 messages to one household and none to another. Viewers do not view in silos and we cannot continue to execute in silos. For addressable TV to realize its full potential, interoperability is key. In fact, a recent Forrester report determined that 74% of TV buyers want there to be more interoperability among MVPDs and 66% want simplified buying and campaign management across suppliers.¹

Technology needs to facilitate more relevant ads to the right consumers and protect the viewing experience. Relevant ads at the appropriate frequency will better resonate with audiences and ultimately drive meaningful KPI-based results for brands.

Over the last few years, significant progress has been made. The industry has managed to live through years of time-consuming, manual spreadsheets. Television has made great strides in catching up to digital media over the last several years with targetability, measurability, and automation. Advertisers have seen the impact of advanced TV and experienced positive results. So until another medium proves to be more effective, the time to embrace advanced TV is now.

It is time for us to combine the power of data and technology together to truly empower advertisers to reach the right audiences within premium content and at scale.  


¹ The Transformation of Television: Embracing the Era of Addressable TV, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cadent, Comscore, Canoe, DISH Media, INVIDI Technologies, LiveRamp, ViacomCBS, Verizon Media, and WarnerMedia. https://s3-prod.adage.com/whitepapers/dish_futureisnow_wp.html