By Jay Prasad, CBO at VideoAmp

Linear TV – aka scheduled programming via cable or broadcast outlets – is at a crossroads. As traditional ratings continue to be challenged, advertising is naturally flowing elsewhere.  For example, while TV was a $75 billion market this year, digital is expected to equal that figure next year, according to a recent eMarketer report.

At cable and broadcast networks, for whom declining ratings and defecting advertisers will lead to lower revenues, the irony is that traditional TV shows are actually attracting more viewers these days —  because there are more ways than ever to watch television!  From online sites, TV Everywhere apps and OTT services, from VOD to social platforms, viewers are now in a constant on-demand mode, insisting on seeing the shows they want at any time, on any screen. As a result the quality of original programming is at an all time high.

Linear TV content providers have been trying to serve all these new formats, and also to provide brand extensions via Facebook live video, Snapchat and Youtube. But they need to go even further in order to keep up with continually evolving trends. Take Snapchat Discover, a new format that lends itself greatly to what TV content folks do best: tell stories visually, like for example, MTV, Viacom, Vice, CNN, National Geographic with a custom format for the platform.

And content owners must also take full advantage of what they’ve already developed. NBCUniversal, for example, has over 100 mobile apps. But those apps – along with all the aforementioned extra viewing, brand extensions and new forms of content – will mean nothing if they can’t be monetized.  That’s where advanced TV advertising will provide a much needed lightening rod of innovation and activity.

What exactly is advanced TV advertising? A common method to plan, buy, measure and optimize ad performance across all screens and platforms.  Both Nielsen (via its Total Audience Management metrics) and comScore (thanks to its recent acquisition of Rentrak) are working on such advanced  measurement systems.

By allowing advertisers to unify buying across all screens and platforms against a common denominator, content owners will increase ad revenues, leading to increased program development investment, and thus to even more popular and relevant content. Which will lead to even more ad revenues, leading to even better programming, and on and on in a reinforcing circle that benefits advertisers, viewers and content programmers and distributors alike.

Put another way, advanced TV advertising will free up programmers and producers to better provide consumers with the anytime/anywhere content they’re demanding. The increased competition from Netflix and Amazon in original programming ( not ad supported) is causing this reaction anyhow. In this paradigm, having a traditional linear TV model gives the traditional players a strategic advantage.  The silos start to come down– and the markets connect synergistically and seamlessly.

Besides expanding the traditional reach and frequency of TV advertising across screens and platforms, the new era of advanced advertising will also allow for precise targeting – made possible by the use of automated buying and selling and data enablement. Content providers will also be able to provide advertisers with precise attribution – or the ability for ad buyers to know exactly which ad leads to which consumer action, engagement on a brand’s apps, shopping activity, even down to actual brick-and-mortar foot traffic based on mobile location abilities.  

The same precision measurement and attribution techniques allowing content providers to increase ad revenues will have an additional key benefit- Tune IN ads! Now, programmers can receive ROI for tune-in promotions in near real time! With so many more viewing choices these days, tune-in promotion has become more important than ever.  But was it a Facebook ad targeted to college-aged single females that increased viewership for your Tuesday night drama? Or your VOD spot targeted to first-time mothers?  Now you’ll know.

Advanced TV advertising will also lead to a decrease in bad user experiences with VOD and online streaming. Such experiences – such as a single commercial running in every commercial pod — lead to viewer dissatisfaction and to users tuning out rather than tuning in. Such ad repetition – or even no ads at all — occurs because inventory in nonlinear programming is greatly undervalued, a situation which will be rectified by the unification of platforms through advanced advertising.

For content owners with global rights, advanced TV advertising and its built-in monetization will eventually help to drive international sales as well. All it will take is automated management of data on a market-by-market basis, while accounting for different measurement techniques and privacy laws.

Finally, advanced TV will lead to a revolution in advertising creativity and media buying that will rival the current golden age of creativity in TV programming.  By sequencing targeted ad delivery in particular order via different creative over different platforms, marketers can reach the entire marketing “funnel” – from first impression to sales conversion – in a single ATV buy.  For example, a user may first see a short video for an SUV model on their mobile device, then catch a longer spot on their desktop, followed by a TV ad, with the option to click to arrange a test drive at their local dealer.

Marketing like that will engage consumers and energize advertisers.  And, once those groups are on board, anyone involved in content creation and distribution should also be smiling.