In a move that is symbolic of bigger shifts taking place in the nature of media, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau is leaving the cable TV behind to become the Video Advertising Bureau.
The change is more than a reboot and a name change, but a reincorporation with new bylaws and a new mission to promote the value of video programming and advertising, derived from the major TV networks. That makes the VAB the primary player for the so-called “TV video” marketplace and pits it against the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), which is the primary voice of the “ad-tech video” marketplace.
“It’s a content mentality vs. an algorithm-first mentality,” says Sean Cunningham, the longtime president-CEO of the CAB, who assumes the same role at the VAB. Cunningham says the VAB does plan to play a role in influencing the technological side of the marketplace too, but that it will mainly be about figuring out ways to leverage it to automate planning and buying and facilitating better data that helps advertisers and agencies utilize TV-based video programming better.
The more algorithmic approaches of programmatic video, he implied, will be better off left to the IAB, which has been playing a leadership role in setting industry standards. VAB isn’t abandoning its TV roots completely. The tagline in its fancy new logo reads: “premium multi-screen TV content,” and as such, represents an extension of a position that Cunningham tried to advance in his early days at the CAB.
It’s a concept he called a “One Television World.” Back then, and especially now, he says the early distinctions between “broadcast” and “cable” TV that made the CAB necessary in its earliest days have essentially gone away. Most of the major broadcast network-owned companies were already members of the CAB, and with the formation of the VAB, it picks up an especially big one: CBS.
The creation of VAB raises questions well beyond the intramural roles between it and the IAB, but also the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), and even the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association -- or the DPAA, which ironically got its start as OVAB, or the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau.
The VAB will continue to also represent the interests of cable TV system operators, which are transitioning from a “TV-centric” mentality to be more of a video distribution and programming framework. In total, the VAB membership comprises 110 networks and the 11 largest MVPDs.