It’s time to look at TV advertising in a new light

Steve Chester has spent the last 18 years of his career in the digital advertising industry. He’s the director of Media for ISBA, leading a team delivering industry education, standards, research and shaping and campaigning for effective, responsible industry self-regulation across all media platforms on behalf of marketers.

He is also a permanent member of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) overseeing digital trading standards for the UK including brand safety, viewability, and ad fraud.

Prior to the ISBA, Steve spent 5 years as Director of Data & Industry Programmes at the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK leading a team covering Display, Search & Data, 8 years at Microsoft Advertising leading a variety of account management/client service teams and 4 years as Head of Operations at Agency.com, a leading full-service digital marketing agency.

While addressable TV has been talked about in certain industry circles for some time, it seems the wider marketing industry has yet to truly appreciate its potential.

With new, head-turning channels and marketing approaches launching all the time, it can be easy to overlook the transformation other media channels have undergone, especially those around for a long time.

For the past year, ISBA has been working with its TV and AV Steering Group to fully understand this innovative advertising technology, get to grips with the opportunities it offers and get a heads up on what’s over the horizon.

Opening up TV to new advertisers

Addressable TV appeals to existing TV advertisers looking to combine linear TV’s broad reach with the targeted capabilities of addressable TV advertising. Which leads us to the real pro: addressable TV lets them reach niche audiences or test specific groups of consumers and how they react to new marketing campaigns.

In addition, it also enables brands who could not previously afford to advertise on TV, the ability to do just that – allowing SMEs to add TV to their marketing mix and target consumers they want to reach.

A new landscape

Previously TV and web technologies were considered separate elements, often planned and bought completely separately or even by different marketing teams. Yet when people watch TV, increasingly it will be on a digital device and often online or interactively.

The TV and advertising landscape of today includes digital broadcast and IP linear channels, closed format on-demand, web-on-demand, short-form, and interactive TV formats.

Addressable, data-rich TV advertising is emerging as a new advertising platform and our industry must be able to review and debate the media landscape, evolving right in front of us. To do this, all players need a clear understanding of the TV distribution and advertising technology and be precise in their use of an agreed TV and advertising terminology.

Demystifying

With the arrival of Addressable TV, comes the inevitable new language that surrounds it. But as we wade through the wording and attempt to define ‘what it’s going to do for me’, it becomes clear that the lack of real information as to the possibilities is the bigger issue.

Bobi Carley, who has recently joined ISBA, is very vocal about ensuring innovation follows demand “We need the advertiser’s voice to be recognised as a principle stakeholder in the shaping of this key market as it matures to ensure it does so in a way that meets needs”.

To this end, we have worked with Nigel Walley at Decipher (and were supported by Sky) to produce our guide to addressable TV, The Emerging Context for TV Addressibility. We hope it will start to fill the education gap among marketers allowing them to play an informed role in how Addressable TV develops.

The future

Addressable TV is now at the point where this debate can happen and the industry needs all players to be sufficiently informed to join in.

To date, Addressable TV’s scale has been limited, however, in the UK this is undergoing rapid change. Sky Adsmart, for example, is currently the only product in the marketplace and continues to evolve in 2019 with Virgin Media households being added to the Adsmart footprint in April and with YouView due to be added later in the year.

As we continue down the addressable route, the industry will be watching in anticipation for ITV and Channel 4’s plans.

In the past, broadcasters have tended to work in isolation. ISBA welcomes the increased collaboration between Broadcasters and would encourage continued investment in the growth of Addressable TV to deliver solutions to advertisers at scale.

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