Oath: Household addressable is a huge opportunity for agencies and advertisers

In a fireside chat on the state of programmatic TV, Brett Hurwitz of Oath believes that agencies are standing in the way. / The Drum

Earlier this week, Business Insider reported that Verizon-owned entity Oath would overhaul its recently merged stack, in favor of a more fully integrated offering. As part of that process, the company has sunset its One TV programmatic product – previously part of the AOL fold.

As it shifts gears from programmatic TV, Oath’s business lead for advanced TV, Brett Hurwitz, believes household addressable (HHA) is a major opportunity for advertisers. The promise of household addressable, according to Hurwitz, are more relevant ads delivered at the individual household level.

Household addressable advertising,”saidHurwitz speaking at last week’s Programmatic Punch NYC, conference, “is really a kind of hybrid where, cable companies like Verizon, or like AT&Tand Dish build an infrastructure where you can send different ads to different families even if they’re watching the same television program. So my neighbors and I could both be watching Dancing with the Stars, but I get a Purina commercial while they get a Ford ad.”

He continued, “That’s more akin to what we’re thinking of with digital messages: to be individualized. I think that opens a tremendous amount of possibilities between digital and household addressable systems.”

Hurwitz told attendees his HHA sales team was planning an educational roadshow for the second half of the year, meeting with clients to discuss theaddressableopportunity. He also spoke of his views on how the traditional adtech and TV buying worlds might look like over the next two years – especially as the blurring of lines between digital and more analog platforms merge.

Hurwitz said that media agencies were the most critical constituency to win over within the wider ecosystem if the opportunity of addressable TV is to be realized within the next few years.

Hurwitz said: “We are focused on educating agencies about addressable through sessions at agency offices and industry events. In the years ahead as more and more TV becomes addressable, the industry will need to resolve the separation between digital and TV buyers.”

For example, Hurwitz has found, that digital-first ad content often isn’t made for as high a resolution as similar content made for TV. “Then they head to the TV teams asking for such content, and the TV people ask, ‘Why do you want a TVC? That’s mine, that’s what I’m supposed to do.’”

When asked what agencies can do better, Hurwitz says that some brand teams are succeeding by finding better ways to integrate. “I look back to a year ago,” he says, “and I think agencies really accelerated structural changes to better support their buying teams as TV becomes more data driven and addressable. Some have come further than others, but to varying degree we're seeing action being taken across most agencies.”

Hurwitz thinks one part of the solution will take further educating a general industry audience to learn how to reach these new audiences through the use of data and addressable delivery. Some agencies, in fact, have created central groups to do the fact-finding and educating.

To Brett, advertising is still “a science that the digital side of the agency is much more acclimated to working with. And so I think we're seeing some digital folks be brought in to these TV conversations and have more input. It's starting to draw these groups together a bit because there's a need for skill sets that exist on the digital side, and to foster those on the TV side.”

The possibilities for growth exist, believe Hurwitz and moderator Tal Chalozin, co-founder and chief technology officer of Innovid, a global video marketing platform.

Chalozin said: “We started 2018 with 24% of delivered ads being viewed on television,” he says, adding, “and it could top out at around 30% before the year’s end.” This is compared to the year before, where Innovid saw that 7% of ads delivered to them on a monthly basis were viewed via television, while the remaining 93% could be split between mobile and desktop devices. Television is increasing its share of voice, he believed, to the point that it’s pulling viewership away from mobile.

He took it a step further, adding: “We’re going to get to a point where we’ll see more viewership of ad-supported content on television screens via Roku and other devices than on desktops.”

For the roughly 30-35m households with some form of addressable-ready or OTT device, Chalozin wondered if the floodgates might open soon for household addressable TV ads. Hurwitz was hesitant to call it that just yet. “I think we can all agree that traditional linear delivery is going to continue to decline over time,” says Hurwitz. “Although at this point, ratings have remained pretty solid. I believe TV will continue to draw massive scale of eyeballs, but the delivery is transitioning from traditional delivery to IP-based.

“The nationallinear household addressable TV space right now is a $500 million space,” Hurwitz adds, “and it’s grown almost 100% between 2016 and 2017.” He expects it to increase at about 50% between 2017 and this year. With this massive potential comes added possibilities for measurement and more precise targeting. “There’s an effort to try and make that typical delivery of TV more and more targeted,” Hurwitz says, in a way that that’s different from the traditional ‘age and gender’ demography.”

Additional reporting done by Ronan Shields

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