By Jenni Baker, journalist

February 9, 2022 | 5 min read

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Traditionally linear TV has been easily recognized and defined. But as the TV universe – and the channels, services and platforms within it – continues to expand, the very definition of TV is thrown into question.

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As the TV universe expands, the very definition of TV is thrown into question.

One thing is for sure – a combined total TV approach is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have. As the distribution and viewing of TV continues to transform, brands need to look at their own first-party data, think audience-first, put purpose over platform, and be willing to step outside of their comfort zone to develop their own planning USP that will inform future investment decisions.

These were key predictions made by Kristian Claxton, managing partner at Finecast, and Matthew Birkby, former global media lead at Electronic Arts (EA), at The Drum Predictions 2022 Festival in a session entitled ‘Inside the box: discovering new pockets for growth through addressable TV.’

And while Claxton and Birkby barely had enough time to scratch the surface of what 2022 could potentially hold for TV, it’s clear that we’re going to increasingly see marketers switch on to the new opportunities of visual entertainment as digital transformation initiatives enable greater potential to reach new audiences through innovations such as addressable TV advertising.

One of the critical plays will be how brands leverage their first-party data and develop their own ecosystem to work in a connected TV world.

“I see audiences being one of the most critical plays here,” said Birkby. “An audience – user or viewer – doesn’t think about connected TV (CTV), they think about the content, so really think about the audience and how they are experiencing it in your ecosystem; think about your data and what that means in your overarching strategy.”

“Addressable offers you the blend of scale, all the way through to precision,” he added. “And that’s critical to think about; it’s not one or the other, it can be both. Don’t put addressable or CTV in a box on its own, you need to think about how everything is working together; it will continue to grow and there will be continued spaces for brands to move into.”

With the influx of over the top (OTT) streaming platforms – from traditional broadcasters to newcomers on the block including Rakuten, Roku and Pluto TV, which are investing heavily in this space – it provides a “quagmire for the industry in terms of how we define TV,” said Claxton.

Even the definition of premium will become increasingly blurred as it moves toward perception and value to the individual, which is trickier to standardize.

As marketing undergoes a shift toward experiences, more collaboration and better partnerships will be key to bringing the two worlds of TV viewing and brand experiences together – as will blending the emerging social and shoppable experiences with addressable TV to help bridge this gap. This will give brands a real opportunity to “develop better creative solutions that are fit for purpose for addressable TV,” said Claxton. And there are formats already being tested in this space.

They also discussed how we’ll see a move away from channels and platforms toward purpose as marketers start to think audience-first to develop measurement frameworks to be able to optimize. That will require a tipping point in terms of scale, and clients will be tasked with understanding data to be able to utilize that to their advantage. Those who adopt an innovation mindset will benefit.

“Addressable is going to become more and more abundant and, as it reaches a point of scale, media partners will start to think about meeting with addressable audiences,” said Claxton. “The agencies and clients will start to lead with addressable audiences at the forefront of a plan maximizing reach against those cohorts, before potentially filling in the gaps with broad audiences. It really is about adopting an innovation mindset; it’s about hypothesizing, testing and learning those hypotheses, and then developing your own sort of planning USP that will help your brand grow with a better understanding. Test, test, test, iterate, iterate and iterate.”

“Be led by the audience and the experience, and be bold with those tests,” added Birkby. “You need to be performing meaningful tests that are able to scale. Partner directly with the inventory provider and the creative agencies to try new things. It’s a brand-new space, people are trying to find new ways to reach people and engage with people. Don’t be frightened to say: ‘We want to do something new; we think we can talk to the audience in this way.’ Use those audience insights and drive forward into this space, because it is no different than any other channel to a certain extent.”

Tune in to watch the full session from The Drum’s Predictions 2022 Festival here.

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