The below post is part of Found Remote's 2016 Year in Review guest post series and is written by Scott Ferber, Founder and CEO, Videology.
The Future of TV: What We Learned in 2016
Continued Growth, with bigger changes on the horizon
The pace of change in advertising in 2016 was slow and steady, with no major upheavals, but rather, hints of things to come. That in itself is indicative of an industry growing more mature, more attuned to the alignment of technology, data and content. Perhaps most importantly, this year marked a greater understanding of the range and benefits of audience-based trading methods on all sides.
In many ways, 2016 was a year of major TV events, from the Olympics to the U.S. election, which resulted in particularly strong Upfronts and linear TV ad sales. With greater demand came less of a push toward newer, audience-based TV selling. With a quieter 2017 on the horizon, this could change.
OTT, VOD, addressable on the rise
When you look at the statistics, 2016 could be understood as setting the groundwork for just such a push.
More consumers than ever used services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video — one report even suggesting than more than 60 per cent of US internet users are now paying VOD subscribers. Little surprise then that there were moves to offer OTT services from all quarters, AT&T's DirecTV Now service being one prominent example.
But it wasn't all about OTT and VOD. A number of broadcasters also made linear inventory available for programmatic selling and targeted buying, many through our own platform. In fact, we saw a 5x increase in advanced linear TV inventory from Q1 to Q3. As you might have guessed, such moves were led by a huge demand for this so-called "advanced" TV inventory from advertisers. Just as 2016 saw brands increasingly understand and leverage their own first party data, many realized a key benefit of advanced TV — quite simply, bringing this qualified, valuable data to bear in TV for the first time.
Measurement: Big advancements, still work to do
In 2016, we've seen huge progress in measurement but also signs that work is yet to be done in a space that's constantly updating and transforming itself. Early in the year, the Rentrak-comScore merger closed, pointing to the huge stakes around getting cross-screen right. And Nielsen has announced that its Total Ad Ratings metrics will be ready for the 2017 Upfront season.
Both of these developments underscore the growing urgency to bridge together all linear and non-linear formats, as well as walled gardens, such as YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat. To understand why this is so important to our future success, look no further than the measurement errors that came to light in 2016. And also consider that, by one measure, at least, digital spending overtook TV in the US this year, another sign that media channels are morphing into a converged amalgam of viewership.
Attribution, fragmentation, frequency
Another related issue we all grappled with this year was multi-touch attribution, which arguably became even more significant, as cross-device consumption multiplied.
Though again we've seen big advances here from a number of players, there is still work to be done. And pinpointing a single user across different devices is, of course, key to achieving unduplicated reach and controlling frequency, as well as sequential messaging, the great promise of programmatic technologies.
And it’s almost there. In 2016, we saw some great examples of cross-screen TV and digital video campaigns complementing each other. Many brands have already seen the exceptional results that cross-screen planning and buying can deliver, and these proven results will be the biggest driver of growth and the new year. It works.
Expect more consolidation in 2017 on every level — in measurement, in M&A activity and across advertising as a whole. As media, technology and content continue to converge, the greatest success will come from finding new ways to plan, buy and measure media across all screens.