In 2018, as media platforms continue to proliferate, the world of TV advertising as we know it will change exponentially. An increased push for cross-media execution and open standards adoption from both advertisers and broadcasters, paired with an increased adoption of automated processes among media buyers and sellers, will result in a new year poised to deliver greater efficiencies and more transparent data. But in a fast-changing environment like this, who holds the key to the future of TV advertising? The answer is the broadcasters. In the new year, they need to be able to manage the increasing technology adoption through more intelligent organizational structuring.

Adapting to a Multiplatform World and the Need for Open Standards

The popularity of platforms like Netflix or Hulu and other forms of nonlinear TV has skyrocketed in the past few years. Additionally, an increasing number of viewers is now on the rise, watching episodes of their favorite shows during their morning commute or catching up with the latest news on the website of their network of choice. As targeting consumers becomes increasingly an omnichannel effort, marketers and TV industry leaders will have to create and agree on a set of open industry standards that make it possible and effortless to identify content and audiences across multiple platforms. In fact, the industry has recently taken more action to tackle this endeavor.

Just this past November, a consortium of industry leaders in the local TV space (Nexstar Media, Sinclair Broadcast, TEGNA and Tribune Media) announced the launch of the TV Interface Practices or “TIP Initiative.” Developed alongside the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), the initiative is aimed at providing the local TV advertising ecosystem with a set of open standard APIs and best practices to help streamline automated local TV spot buying. Several system and technology providers – including Videa -- were contacted by the consortium throughout the process.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done toward more open standards, and 2018 will mark a considerable shift in this new direction. Industry players will come together and double their efforts to better target audiences and create truly unified consumer and brand experiences.

Shereta Williams
president of Videa

Greater Transparency and the End of Attribution Bias

As open data standards become ubiquitous and the tracking of consumer behavior across platforms a reality, marketers and advertisers will be offered greater transparency and insight into viewership data. This will help address the phenomenon that has gained momentum in the past year: the attribution bias increasingly being associated with the analysis of TV viewership data. This bias has been mainly fueled by the digital behemoths’ ability to easily dissect and analyze massive amounts of data to read into consumer behavior, whereas TV has traditionally required a more interpretative approach. With greater visibility across TV and other platforms, marketers and advertisers will finally be able to fully understand how their investments are driving ROI. As a result, a new era of attribution will emerge, and revenue will be redirected to different platforms for increased productivity. TV and other mediums will benefit from this increase in budget.

Automation Will Be Key

Manual processes are still a big burden on the TV ad industry’s ability to innovate in relation with the rapid-changing landscape of consumer behavior and media technology. That is particularly true for local TV advertising, where most of the media purchasing is carried out in the same, manual way as it was decades ago. With digital ad spend in the United States surpassing TV ad spend for the first time ever in 2017, according to eMarketer, the TV industry needs to adopt a new way of buying and selling advertisements that allows them to compete with the ease of access and targetability that comes naturally with digital; this is where automation is key. By pairing up the increased speed and efficiency provided by automated inventory buying and selling platforms with the consumer targeting capabilities of a new set of open and omnichannel-capable standards, the TV advertising industry will step-by-step catch up to speed with digital. In 2018, deeper automation and faster order execution, as well as more accurate use of consumer data across multiple channels will result in an increased ability for buyers and sellers to more accurately consolidate and execute campaigns from a cohesive omnichannel perspective.

Managing Change from Within

But all these new technological advancements in TV advertising will need to be implemented in conjunction with a change management plan that addresses the cultural shift that broadcasters will have to undertake in pursuit of a more open, collaborative and data-driven business and industry model.

Broadcasters have the opportunity to help accelerate the technological revolution that the TV ad industry is tracking towards. To do so, they will have to hone in on their leadership and communication skills to translate the need for technological adoption and its immense benefits across different groups of constituents within their companies.