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Are Advertising Promises the Future of TV?

June 3rd, 2019   ||    by Callie Wheeler

One television network is betting it can make—and keep—advertising promises to truly deliver. Rather than depending on TV ratings to convey reach, A+E is going a step further and promising its buyers measurable outcomes. Is this a natural evolution for the industry?

Creating a Buzz

A+E created quite a stir with its announcement. According to Broadcasting & Cable, the network is guaranteeing ads will generate a measurable outcome: foot traffic, both physical and digital. A+E is testing out this new strategy with about 10 clients.

Why the change? Peter Olsen, executive VP of ad sales for the network, said, “Strategic target guarantees are a nice step, but we believe that outcomes are what matter most to our clients who are under increasing pressure to prove the effectiveness of their media spend. We are willing to take this leap because we know TV works.”

Two-Way Street

The strategy doesn’t only benefit the advertiser. A+E will use data-driven targeting to find the most receptive audiences for the advertiser with the intent of generating interest and ROI. In return, the network expects brands to potentially spend more on ads, buy more inventory, or buy inventory across its portfolio.

By making an effort to ensure television gets its due, whether by creating standard attribution or tying ads to guaranteed results, A+E hopes to “make TV and video look good,” according to Olsen.

In Good Company

A+E is not the only network trying to guarantee advertisers return on their investments. Variety reported Turner Broadcasting has offered guarantees for years, while NBCUniversal recently announced similar advertising promises.

Working with Data Plus Math, NBCUniversal is taking its own performance guarantees to market according to Broadcasting & Cable, offering “clients in-flight measurement of linear, VOD addressable and OTT advertising inventory.”

Why It Matters

As Olsen shared, advertisers are increasingly under pressure to prove the ROI of their advertising investments. While digital channels have promised brands transparency and results, the reality is digital advertising has been beset with fraud and scandals.

Television, long known for its ability to build brand awareness, lend credibility, and maintain unparalleled reach, has an opportunity to step in and do what digital channels have failed to do: deliver on advertising promises.

So, can they? What happens when they don’t? We’ll all be keeping an eye on A+E and other networks to find out.

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