Jan 11 2019

CES Day Two: Looking Toward the Future of Advanced TV, What Technology Is Needed?

VideoAmp partnered with Broadcasting and Cable at CES to talk to industry executives about the latest news and innovation, the future of Advanced TV, and what’s needed to get there.

We spoke to Jon Steinlauf, Chief Ad Sales Officer at Discovery Inc., Lyle Schwartz, President of Investment at GroupM, Nicolle Pangis, CEO at NCC, Eric John, Deputy Director, Video Center of Excellence at IAB, Allison Metcalfe, GM LiveRamp TV at LiveRamp, and Ethan Heftman, SVP Precision & Performance Ad Sales at A+E Networks.

In the videos below, hear from these industry leaders about the state of Advanced TV, its future, and what technologies are needed to get there.

But first, what’s catching their eye at CES this year?

When I go to CES, I’m really interested in some of the technologies that may be in the back, away from the main Convention Center, because I’m trying to look at what technologies I could use in the future. There’s a lot of technology out there. There was pattern recognition, visual recognition; those weren’t necessarily seen as technologies for consumer advertising. So I’m actually looking at much more of the upstarts in the back for ideas on what we can bring to the marketplace in the next several years. – Lyle Schwartz, President of Investment @ GroupM

Certainly there’s a convergence of the online and offline world, the Internet of Things. It’s interesting to see all the new technologies out there, where you can marry data convergence with the Internet of Things: the watches, the refrigerators, the cars, you know, what isn’t there? It’s not just about televisions, although those are a big part. All of the new gadgets out are really interesting to see. – Nicolle Pangis, CEO @ NCC

The autonomous vehicle universe. We’ll see how that plays out as a media environment. But it’ll be really interesting to see as more transportation takes place in the context of self-driving, what that means for media consumption. – Eric John, Deputy Director, Video Center of Excellence @ IAB

Connected televisions. I’m very excited to move to a point where I can put a television in my house and and stream what I want without having to use all sorts of dongles to plug in. I think my kids are certainly excited for that, and as the resident IT expert in my house I’m excited for that as well.Ethan Heftman, SVP Precision & Performance Ad Sales @ A+E Networks.

Are conventional linear TV and digital advertising converging?

The consensus is yes. In fact, distinguishing traditional linear television from digital video may no longer be necessary. Lyle Schwartz speaks to this new way of thinking below:

“I like to think of it as video. I don’t like to think [along the lines of] linear or digital because it’s really the video content that goes to the consumer when, where, and how they want it. Because that’s the ultimate challenge for us: to give the consumer the opportunity to see what they want to see…where, when, and how. And allow them to grant permission to have all commercial messages on behalf of our clients in there to [support content availability],” Schwartz says.

Ethan Heftman agrees, speaking to the way brands are thinking:

“From an advertiser perspective [and] from a brand perspective they absolutely are converging. Brands aren’t really that concerned anymore with what each individual medium is doing for them in and of themselves. They’re concerned about what it’s doing for them in terms of their larger marketing goals”.

What marketers want vs. What marketers have

“Marketers are definitely looking to target audiences in television the way they target in digital. What they really want is the ability to plan consistently, both in television and digital, using the same or similar data sets. Secondarily, they want the ability to measure consistently so that they can allocate budgets across television and in digital in a consistent way to make sure that they’re optimizing their budgets,” says Nicolle Pangis.

Jon Steinlauf of Discovery Networks notes there are specific challenges preventing marketers today from planning, targeting, and measuring in a truly holistic manner. The reality is harder to achieve than the ideal.

“It’s somewhat possible now but it’s early days of actually connecting. One of the hardest parts of it is if you’re a big advertiser and you’re running on 40 or 50 channels you might have ten spots running within a half-hour. And then you might look at web search in the next half hour and how do you know which of the ten spots [drove web search]? Context has a lot to do with it. Not every ad is going to perform the same based upon its Nielsen ratings”.

Eric John explains the cautious optimism in the industry that exists between current and traditional hangups vs. where the industry ultimately wants and needs to be: 

“TV advertisers are realizing they need to reach consumers where they are. In the classic programmatic display world, that was inventory available in exchanges. The reality is in TV you have automation, you have data being brought to the table, but the buying process really is still pretty traditional. You’ve got upfront media and where exchanges do exist it’s really more of a private marketplace to control that supply and demand. Advertisers ultimately want to reach their target consumer, so we’re going to start to see more programmatic capabilities […] It’s gonna take a while to put all those pieces together and really streamline the buying process,” John argues.

Automated Content Recognition (ACR) technology, a step in the right direction?

sees value in technologies like ACR as a stepping stone toward solving some of the industry’s most notable challenges.

“If you have a device that can actually measure somebody’s viewership to a commercial through ACR, and then you can track that customer and see based upon what commercials they’ve seen, what products they purchased, what websites they’ve searched, what stores they’ve gone into, what showrooms they’ve gone into…You have the ability to tie attribution,” explains Steinlauf.

Ethan Heftman discusses how A&E Networks is applying ACR data to drive value today:

“For a television network like ourselves, like our collection of properties at A&E; ACR is extraordinarily important, because ACR is the measurement that allows us to tie in to an advertiser’s device graph and connect that ad exposure to a consumer action. Whether it’s a web visit or it’s foot traffic, it is that type of measurement that’s going to allow us to prove the value of television to a business outcome not just to a media driver,” Heftman explains.

So what can marketers do about it now?

There’s the exploration and experimentation with new audience currencies, for one.

“There’s certainly a friction. The days of advertisers targeting against advanced demographics and advanced outcomes, and the industry only being able to correlate that to broad age/gender demographics, that’s obviously untenable for the future. Any kind of currency that allows us to trade on a metric that’s closer to the business outcomes and to the cross-platform planning advertisers are trying to do…that’s only a good thing,” Heftman explains.

Allison Metcalf at LiveRamp offers some immediate solutions available to marketers today: 

“Campaign attribution and measurement is possible now. The MVPDs’ viewership or ad exposure data is a little bit harder to come by. The folks that own that data are still operating as walled gardens and so that makes it a little difficult. However, they are willing to use trusted third parties like LiveRamp and folks, like VideoAmp for example, to do that measurement on their behalf. So it is possible. It’s not a hundred percent in the hands of the advertisers, but if you work with trusted partners you can get to those outcomes if you want,” Metcalf offers.

After a second full day at CES, we’re still hearing a lot of great industry news as our roving reporter series continues.