Heading into the TV upfront selling period, traditional TV executives might look at one simple message to advertisers: Buy more. The TV business is not built on the idea that viewers' data is the product sold.
This refers to how Facebook operates, according to many media executives. Facebook's users' information is the product when it comes to selling advertising.
“The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Facebook’s business model is based on data people don’t [always know] they’re sharing and then selling that data … to a buyer Facebook [doesn’t even] know,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal.
Burke isn’t the only TV executive to be issuing warnings.
Urging Congress to crack down on privacy abuses, Tom Rutledge, chairman/CEO of Charter Communications, said recently in a blog: “Charter believes individuals deserve to know that no matter where they go online or how they interact with online services, they will have the same protections.”
He added: “Many internet companies are collecting a significant amount of information about them and selling it to others for advertising, research and even voter-persuasion purposes,” silently eluding to Cambridge Analytica.
That said, traditional TV has tried to find ways to get closer to consumers for TV advertisers/marketers, but in an anonymous way -- demos, geography and most recently new audience segments.
For their part, TV marketers want deeper engagement or perhaps TV guarantees for consumer transaction outcomes, based on a marketer’s first-party data. That means knowing exactly who is watching TV shows and/or advertising-content.
Still, TV networks like the idea of social media; they use it themselves. For example, sponsored video content on Facebook doubled in the nine-month period ending in mid-June 2017. In addition, TV networks have used Facebook to allow its users to sample shows.
TV networks don’t have the specific personal viewer data that Facebook possesses. But they will continue to seek more detail about audiences for their advertisers -- with new metrics and cross-platform measurements.
What will this year’s TV advertising market tell us about these key consumer issues? It will be helpful to be up front.