The addressable journey to utopia

The television industry in Australia is heading inexorably towards addressable TV advertising, but it’s crucial that the opportunity is approached the right way, the top TV network players said on Friday.

That was the view of the Addressable TV panel at the AdNews Media + Marketing Summit, where addressable TV was discussed by a heavyweight collection of executives; Kim Portrate, CEO of Think TV, Michael Stephenson, Chief Sales Officer at Nine, Kurt Burnette, Chief Revenue Officer, Seven West Media, and Mark Frain, MCN Sales and Marketing Officer.

Matt James, CEO of Publicis Media represented the agency world, while AdNews senior journalist, Arvind Hickman, moderated the debate.

Portrate commenced the panel by noting that Australia is well and truly in step with international progress in addressable TV, and the local TV networks have set the platform by investing in data and automation.

The network executives all agreed that addressable TV would change the landscape for each of their businesses, though stressed they were already delivering advanced ad targeting on their platforms.

Nine’s Stephenson said addressable advertising was the greatest opportunity to capture a deeper understanding of consumers, but the technical complexity of 1-1 advertising threatened to confuse brand advertisers.

“It can be our greatest challenge if we over complicate this and make it too difficult and disappear into discussions about cross-channel attribution,” said Stephenson. We must keep it simple, make it viable, and show how we can achieve mass brand building.”

MCN’s Frain noted that the journey to utopia of addressable advertising on TV had commenced, and people should not be deterred by the absence yet of a single user ID for every consumer.

“When we get to the point of household addressability, we will be able to deliver at scale and provide genuine business results,” Frain commented.

He said he expected more unified TV industry announcements to propel the addressable market and deliver that scale. Frain noted that MCN was in the development stage of IP-based set-top box addressability, and that it was crucial to get the customer experience right.

“We are balancing the challenge of making sure that both the viewer and advertiser experience remains brilliant, and if not improved by addressability. It takes time to work on both experiences (and get them right),” said Frain.

The Seven Network’s Burnette said it has already delivered 135 million addressable ad impressions on its own properties, commencing with the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby League World Cup last year, and will launch an enhanced first party data offering in the next few weeks.

However Burnette warned that the use of multiple creative assets is expensive and said the focus was to ensure that audience reach was delivered along with addressability.

He also said while the TV networks were focused on co-operation efforts to create a unified approach, ad agencies should also look at upgrading their buying methods for new advanced TV solutions.

Matt James from Publicis said there was a vital need for an industry standard around connected and addressable TV, because brand advertisers need all three TV networks if they are to secure their desired reach and scale.

“We are moving at a rapid pace in terms of technology development. I would hope that the TV networks can hold hands and get to a collegiate position, and be at the vanguard of true addressability at the household level.”