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TV Can’t Operate In A Silo

October 11th, 2019   ||    by Alan Wolk

If there was a single comment that seemed to crystallize one of the key themes coming out of the Future of TV Show in NYC, it was something that Nick Sallon, Head of U.S. News Partnerships at Twitter said, about how TV can no longer afford to operate in a silo and pretend that viewers are not also watching video (and by extension video ads) on other platforms.

That’s because TV has yet to figure out a way to measure ad spend across platforms and prevent viewers from being bombarded by the same ads on multiple platforms in the course of a day.

Compounding the issue is the wide variety of ways in which ads are bought, sold and placed. TV spots bought during the upfronts can be planned and placed many months in advance, while digital ads, sold via header bidding, are frequently inserted in something close to real time. Reconciling those systems will not be easy.

It is critical that they be reconciled however and that some sort of system be put in place to ensure that there is cross-platform frequency capping or consumers will be turned off by video advertising and it will lose some of its inherent value.

How To Create Standards For Video Measurement

Step one on creating standards, various panelists suggested, would be to agree on a standardized measurement system, one based on impressions, that both digital and TV-based video stats could make use of.

This would involve the industry agreeing on several key factors, including, most critically, the definition of an “impression”—is it a full view? A partial view? Is it just the viewer starting to watch the commercial? And if it is partial, how much time does the viewer need to watch for it to count for an impression?

In a world where Facebook notoriously counts three seconds with the sound off as a view that question is not easily solved: changing to a standard where only complete views are counted as impressions would drastically lower the number of views certain platforms are reporting, which would then have a decidedly detrimental effect on their bottom lines.

Fortunately, there are a number of industry initiatives attempting to solve these problems.

Open AP and Project OAR are both looking to solve segmentation, measurement and overall standards on linear TV, especially around addressable, while the GVMA (Global Video Measurement Alliance) is looking to do the same for digital video.

All three initiatives have gained strong initial support, and between them, they should be able to move the industry towards a series of standards that allow programmers and publishers to make money while saving consumers from ad overload.

If you look at the spot television industry, you see companies like Videa delivering similar open standard-based options through free, transparent, TIP-based API specifications that will ultimately make it easier for dollars to flow through to local TV.

The more fragmented the video landscape becomes, the more necessary it becomes to create industrywide standards and processes that encourage the adoption of automated solutions. Trying to navigate dozens, if not hundreds of platforms manually is a Herculean task, not to mention wildly inefficient. With a commonly accepted set of standards and a universally adopted measurement currency, everyone will win.

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