Commentary

TV Needs To Sell Premium Content - And Demographics Help

Donna Speciale, president of advertising sales for Turner, hopes next year we won’t be using one well-known TV business term: demographics.

“We cannot be saying demo anymore,” Speciale said at the recent AT&T Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara, California. Then she gave it a timeline: “Next year, we cannot be saying demo anymore.”

That may be a big ask. TV sellers need to sell their premium content -- not just to advertisers, but to viewers. And perhaps to a broad range of viewers. How best to do it for those sellers? With a select group of key metrics -- selected groups of viewers.

This may not be all that helpful for advertisers, demanding specific results as it pertains to returns on their media investment --- website visits, store visits, and ultimately, incremental sales revenue.

Speciale says, with little opposition, current TV demographics, such as adults 18-49, are a “broad range.” And this isn’t good. “We all know that an 18-year-old and a 49-year-old have very different behaviors.”

Going forward, she adds networks have to be careful about becoming too targeted on linear TV. “We don’t want to lose that reach value.” But she agrees that TV needs to do a better job.

The question is: Can you sell this to marketers -- and for consumers in the long term? Will weekday morning consumer-targeted TV stories have accompanying charts of how many people went to Taco Bell the morning after a commercial was aired on NBC’s “The Voice”?

Maybe not. Brian Lesser, CEO, Xander, the advertising business of AT&T, said during Advertising Week it might come down to having a currency for each advertiser.

Nice. But what does this do for TV networks? Where is the “scale” message to drive those viewers to those shows, who in turn might show up at a Target, Starbucks or Home Depot in the following days.

Will that get confusing? Some advertising technology business terms are already at that level, such as addressable.

Speaking at the same AT&T conference, Scott Howe, CEO, LiveRamp -- the new company of what remains of Acxiom, the marketing data technology, following the sale to Interpublic Group -- said: “We are selling and talking about things in a way that -- quite frankly -- no one actually wants to buy them.”

However, he tells marketers much new media technology works well now. In turn, marketers tell him: “It feels like I bought a Porsche, but I don’t know how to drive it yet.” 

No problem. Just don’t let demographics steer.

2 comments about "TV Needs To Sell Premium Content - And Demographics Help".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 3, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

    The main reason for "demos" such as adults 18-49 or women aged 25-54 being used as the rating currency definition for so many TV buys is not that these signify the actual "targets" for the ad campaigns but, rather, because the buyers insist on audience tonage guarantees and broad based "demos" are the only ones that the sellers feel comfortable with when making such guarantees. If much more selective target definitions were in vogue, these could be the basis for audience guarantees for brand-specific buys without any great risk to the sellers---if made on a gross GRP basis across all shows in a package. However, such selective targets can not ue utilized for corporate buys involving 10, 20, 30 or more brands----most with varying target definitions. The sellers would be committing suicide if they attempted to use more than one metric for such deals as every time you fell short and compensated with "makegoods"for one brand you would be giving away bonus GRPs to the other brands who did not merit such benefits--as their buys came in on target. Every bonus GRP that is unwarranted for the corporate buy in aggregate costs the seller money as it could have been monetized with another buyer.

    Until many more buys are made on a brand by brand basis---especially in the upfront----don't expect much movement away from broad "demos" as the basis for most TV time negotiations. And that, folks, is up to the advertisers. Which is more important CMO's--guaranteed 18-49 or 25-54 corporate GRPs at a specific cost- per -rating point or better targeting per brand?

  2. Paul Street from Numeris, October 3, 2018 at 2:35 p.m.

    Syndicated audience research is a projection against age, sex, household size, and geography, as these are known census variables. The wealth of targeting criteria has no similar 'census truth' against which to project, but we can take advantage of survey or fusion variables as diverse as life stage, category activity, brand purchase, lifestyles and attitudes to find optimal audiences within the trading age-sex targets.

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