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Advanced TV Makes A Splash at AdWeek NY

October 25th, 2018   ||    by Alan Wolk

One thing about the television industry: if there’s a more complicated way to explain something, we’ll find it.

Hence terms like “MVPD” (multichannel video platform distributor) instead of “pay TV provider” or vMVPD (virtual multichannel video platform distributor) instead of “digital pay TV provider.”

So, it was no surprise that the television events at Advertising Week New York featured a mishmash of overlapping terminology, with “OTT,” “CTV,” and “Advanced TV” all being used more or less interchangeably.

For the record, “OTT” or “over the top” refers to any digitally delivered television programming, regardless of what device it is actually watched on: TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

“CTV” or “connected TV” refers to that portion of OTT that is watched on an actual television set, either via a connected divide like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, or on a smart TV that’s connected to the internet.

“Advanced TV” is generally another term for “CTV” and is frequently used in relation to advertising—digitally delivered television can handle a variety of new formats (interactive, overlays, addressable) and so it is considered to be “advanced.”

How Advanced TV Is Working

Definitions out of the way, there were a number of case studies from advertisers who had successfully used advanced advertising techniques. One panel I attended featured representatives from the PGA Tour and Samsung discussing the app the PGA Tour launched earlier this year on Samsung TVs as a way to drive more awareness and reach more fans. The panel also included a representative from Sling TV, who discussed how Sling was making use of its digital platform to power advanced TV.

Like all vMVPDs, Sling is able to sell addressable advertising during the two to three minutes each hour it gets from the various networks. It can do that because (a) it has the technological ability to send different commercials to different households (most set top boxes do not, at least not for linear TV) and (b) it has first party data about its users, including their IP addresses.

Sling made news this past March when it began selling addressable spots during the NCAA March Madness tournament that were available as little as two weeks before air date. This was a huge breakthrough for television, as addressable spots for linear TV were typically bought months in advance of air date.

But that wasn’t all that was newsworthy about Sling’s program: the ads were placed via an automated system that inserted them opportunistically during breaks in the action. Thus brands got the benefits of both addressable advertising and programmatic ad buying. Sling (and by extension the advertisers who participated) considered the program to be a rousing success.

The Advanced Television of Today Is the Plain Old Television of Tomorrow

While many of these platforms and programs may seem revolutionary today, they are where television is heading…at a very rapid pace.

We are at a time of unheralded technological improvement, and the television industry will most definitely need to keep up. All of the features of “advanced TV”—from automated buys to addressable targeting—will soon become standard as more and more television is delivered digitally, whether it’s over the open internet or via web-enabled broadcast standards like ATSC 3.0. It’s a future that will allow television to compete effectively with digital and one that will benefit networks, broadcasters and advertisers alike.


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