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Ideas Addressability

Stream dreams: The promise and reality of addressable TV

Mike Fisher

As we approach the last two weeks of the year, there has never been a better time to be a fan of premium TV. We’re living in the golden age of content; as streaming continues to rise, the door has been blown open across the landscape. The perfect storm of technology (how the content gets to the viewer) and opportunity (what content should be produced) has converged to create possibly the greatest content landscape in the history of entertainment.

Just look at what Disney announced at their investor presentation this week as they undergo a fundamental shift to be streaming first:

  • 10 new Star Wars stories 

  • 5 new Marvel movies/series 

  • Multiple animated series of their hit films 

  • More live-action series 

  • New Pixar initiatives for both theatrical and streaming 

  • A focus on growing the NatGeo brand with a new voice and focus 

2020 was a huge step forward but there are still issues that limit a full embrace of the streaming landscape.

Fragmentation: While content and viewership are on the rise across the streaming sector, the majority of TV viewing still happens across linear. There is a concern that the rise of streaming apps will result in “tribes” of viewers only loyal to one or two apps. This makes it harder for marketers to manage reach and frequency. 2021 is expected to bring a deeper understanding of the impact of frequency across disparate networks and apps to better ensure that buying strategies take into account how a viewer is engaging across the ecosystem, not just inside of one portfolio app.

Data and Measurement: OTT and streaming is measured using traditionally digital metics like impressions, ad completion, etc, while traditional television is still measured using panel-based ratings. Nielsen recently announced their roadmap to unify ratings by 2024 - but three years can be an eternity in this landscape, and the ecosystem needs more accountable measurement TODAY. With 80 million households expected to be streaming an average of 2+ hours a day (40% of total average daily TV viewing) by the end of 2021, the need for more unified and consistent measurement is an issue that needs to be solved quickly.

Investment In Technology: The role of technology partners will continue to grow, as new linkages in the buying-planning-measurement workflow are created by the needs of the market. The role of agencies has evolved to be not just experts in media, but also experts in technology - to be able to recommend and optimize the right platforms to extract the largest value across the broader TV landscape.  

One of the things I’m looking forward to in 2021 is more consistency across how media sellers and technology partners are approaching unified pricing, planning and reporting. We’re going to see a lot more scale when it comes to how the ecosystem is approaching these challenges, as more clients see the benefits that come from a unified Advanced TV approach.