Empower’s Second Annual Advanced Video Summit Tackles the State of the Industry

Over 20 media partners participated in Empower’s advanced video summit to help navigate the rapidly changing video ecosystem. Not only did the creative media agency pop the hood on valuable insights, but Empower also leveraged this opportunity to push plan and purchasing innovations with key media partners.

For example, at its first advanced video summit, Empower convinced NBCU to beta-test its first-ever national programmatic linear video buy with one of Empower’s retail clients. What was originally developed as an intel strategy has quickly turned into a competitive edge.

Below are what advertisers should be taking note of in the near-future:

  1. Video is Video – No Matter Which Screen
  2. Standardization of Audience Data
  3. Addressability is Growing
  4. Content Providers Reclaiming Content
  5. Mergers and Acquisitions
  6. :06 Ads

The following are Empower’s game-changing takeaways from the advanced video summit:

Beyond the Big Screen

TV is not dead. In fact it’s growing…albeit fragmented. Live viewing is declining; however, viewership in totality is growing. According to Nielsen, overall time spent increased roughly 20 percent in the last three years.

Consumers are viewing premium content on more than their television. It’s important to reach them whenever and wherever they’re watching. We know that linear and digital work hardest in tandem. Advertisers should consider a video strategy encompassing all screens to avoid missing valuable consumers.

Empower is beginning to shift its approach away from GRP-focused RFPs to ones that are impression based, focusing on unified impressions across linear and digital that will allow for the optimal mix.

The one piece missing from all of this is a measurement that unifies impressions across all platforms. Viacom and Videology are working to create cross-platform measurement that will measure cross-platform views as viewership shifts to on-demand and over-the-top (OTT) environments.

Opportunity to Use Data That Creates a Universal Audience to Purchase Beyond the Demographic

What is OpenAP? It enables unified, consistent audiences within premium TV content at massive reach and scale. It also delivers cross-publisher targeting and independent posting for advanced audiences.

OpenAP is founded by a conglomerate of television publishers and operated by a leading, neutral third-party auditor, Accenture. Current partners include Fox, Turner, Viacom, NBCU and Univision. Empower anticipates more partners to be added soon – comparable to the AEN Networks, Discovery Inc. and the ABC’s of the world.

Shockingly, NBCU was anticipated not to be a part of OpenAP but just announced on April 19, 2018 that they will be joining – also making Comcast data available. Univision was then added to compete with Telemundo (part of NBCU).

The major benefit is the use of consistent audiences by all media publishers who are in the OpenAP platform, whether it be a first or third-party audience. This provides the trust and ease of activation within these custom audiences across the publisher’s entire video portfolio.

What does the future hold for OpenAP? Keep an eye on video planning tools. In collaboration with agencies, OpenAP hopes to provide video planners with a platform to inform across the publisher’s video landscape on where to plan their audience-targeted video. To date, there is no indication the platform will allow for the purchase of video inventory across the participating publisher’s inventory.

Opportunity to Target One-to-One Messaging Strategy When it Makes Sense for Brands

Addressable TV is the process of serving household-specific TV advertising based on an advertiser-defined target in a privacy compliant manner, regardless of programming or time of day in both live and playback modes.

This allows for one-to-one advertiser to household communication – focusing on households, not programs. People often refer to addressable TV as the “direct mail” for TV with data-driven targeting.

Current providers include:

  • Satellite – DirecTV, Dish
  • MVPDs – Altice (formerly Cablevision), Comcast, Cox, Charter, fios

NBCU will be leveraging its own Comcast homes (households that have Comcast cable and set top box), offering the first-ever live linear addressable capability (coming in 4Q18/1Q19). This will be the first non-satellite company offering live viewing addressable capability at scale. They will compete directly with DirecTV and DISH, who currently have majority HHs. Also currently in beta are companies like Freewheel and Sorenson Media that are using smart TV technology, providing addressability via “glass” rather than the set-top-box.

Premium Content Providers are Moving Away From a Shared Distribution Model

Media companies are taking back their content. Ten years ago, a little company named Netflix pitched premium content providers on an opportunity to distribute their TV series and movies as an added bonus to viewers who were mainly using the service for new DVD home delivery. It sounded like a perfect opportunity – premium content providers get to make some money on the side in the hopes of inspiring viewers to eventually pick up shows they liked via Netflix and catch new seasons as they’re released. Missed the start of Grey’s Anatomy? No biggie. Get caught up on Netflix and start watching the latest season live with ABC.

Netflix has made a huge profit from this business model and used those profits to fuel original binge-worthy content. Media companies are now striking back by taking back their content from Netflix. For example, Disney has removed its content and is currently building out its own direct-to-consumer platform (due next year) that will house Star Wars and Pixar films. Premium content providers are aiming to create valuable content libraries in order to compete with FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google).

Mergers and Acquisitions

Also born out of the Netflix craze are a rash of mergers across the media landscape. Over the past five years, six major media companies have merged (two in the last three months) and more are pending.

Here’s a list of the mergers:

  • 2013 Comcast and NBCU
  • Discovery and Scripps (deal closed 3.6.18)
  • AT&T and Time Warner (Turner) (deal closed 6.10.18)
  • Disney (ABC) and NBCU are locked in a bidding war for Fox assets
  • The rumored merger of CBS and Viacom ended in lawsuits leaving both parties looking for new partners

Empower sees great potential with these mergers and acquisitions. There will be more opportunities to leverage negotiation and integration opportunities across a larger portfolio of networks.

Continue to Pursue :06 Opportunities When They Make Sense

The six-second ad spot delivers quick impact, leaving no time for viewers to switch channels or exit the room. They also reach a large audience at a time when they are fully engaged in the programming. These short but impactful ad spots provide an opportunity for advertisers to build long-term brand awareness. There are lots of advantages to consider the six second ad spot if it makes sense, but right now it’s limited in linear and primarily sold in sports and specials. Additionally, many networks are slow to embrace due to an already cluttered environment. There’s also a lot of discussion around how to price and measure as most networks value six seconds the same as fifteen seconds.

Empower continues to push for these opportunities on the linear screen but recognize the shorter unit length may be more conducive to shorter content (think mobile). In many cases, it makes sense for advertisers to still utilize standard unit lengths of fifteen or thirty seconds for set up and/or sequential messaging with six second videos.

NBCU is embracing this model by bringing initiatives like “Playing Through” on Golf Channel. Advertiser’s commercial spot will air in a split screen with continued sports coverage to encourage engagement. Seemingly, split screen within content is a better bet than a standalone six-second ad within a traditional commercial pod.

On the Horizon

In the future, expect to see content providers provide guarantees on audience reach. A select number of networks are currently guaranteeing their advanced-targeting buys on audience impressions (beyond age/sex); however, they will take it a step further and start guaranteeing audience/in-segment reach, meaning the buy guarantees to reach, for example, 95 percent of the audience during flight. Viacom is one of the first to test and will soon have a case study available on performance.

Another hot topic in video space, especially for linear video, is attribution. Look for a conglomerate of premium-content providers to partner with companies like Data + Math in an effort to use data to map out the effects of various forms of video on sales of product. This will trace exposure to a commercial to an actual sale, giving the linear screen the credit when it is due, something that is currently not easy to do.

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