Tracy Swedlow, co-founder and CEO, TMRW Corp., is an industry visionary who has been charting the course of media since the 1990s.
Her biannual TV of Tomorrow conferences bring together a stellar group of industry professionals who offer insightful takeaways about the landscape.
What are the biggest trends going on right now in the industry? According to Swedlow, it is attribution and ATSC 3.0, the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today.
“Attribution is a super-hot topic,” she noted, and she believes that we will get to full attribution soon.
With ATSC 3.0, “We are still very much behind the development of that technology for local broadcasting. Local broadcasting will change and we want to be as supportive as we can to get the right people together.”
I interviewed a few speakers at the conference:
What do you see as the biggest changes or transformations in the media industry in 2019?
Sean Doherty, CEO of Wurl: The biggest transformation we anticipate is the “tipping point” we’ve talked about through this decade, and is now becoming reality: the shift away from traditional TV viewing to Internet-based viewing. This opens up new paths to revenue for the streaming platforms already included in connected TVs, and a huge opportunity for those who have not yet crossed over to OTT.
These free, ad-supported channels are unburdened by the parameters of traditional, linear TV and can bring viewers new experiences outside of “the box.” The technology is here, the viewers are here. There’s no reason for video producers and services not to keep up.
Ryan Rolf, vice president, data solutions, Lotame: Unified viewability standards in TV will start to come to life. The shift in how we understand TV and its influence on audiences will allow advertisers to engage in the same types of strategies they do on digital channels, creating a holistic view across channels and engaging, measurable campaigns.
However, the industry should take the learnings from earlier programmatic days and not rush to "scale" at expense of quality and ask right questions as they merge TV, digital, linear, and mobile with data.
Jeff Greenfield, COO and Co-Founder of C3 Metrics: There are two major trends. The first is that traditional brand metrics will be unified with mult-touch attribution. As of now, the number one thing that CMOs want is ROI and attribution. They exist, but technical issues (such as ad fraud) have prohibited attribution from becoming the Holy Grail for CMOs – we can expect this to change this year as attribution has matured.
The second is that standards for attribution accreditation will be set. The industry is currently lacking standards, given that accreditation had been non-existent, but the Media Ratings Council has come out with viewability accreditation. With upcoming attribution accreditation, marketers will be relieved that standards will be followed by measurement companies.
Question: Where do you see the industry three to five years from now?
Swedlow: I am very excited about new ideas in interactivity. There have been some exciting new developments. Walmart, for example, is investing in a company called Echo. They also bought MGM assets. They are going to be moving forward on interactive TV technology.
Netflix announced in the fall that they are going to launch interactive content with Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror,” series and they have been doing some interactive content with children’s programming. This is an exciting new development to watch: interactive storytelling in a commercial environment.
Doherty: All U.S.-based video content will be consumed over the top. The viewers are already there and from a business point of view, the revenue associated with “un-structuring” TV is evident, easily reachable, and simply makes sense.
Rolf: Voice data is early and overhyped at the moment, but eventually it will change advertising and tip the scales of power to the operators of the voice assistants in terms of who they recommend when a search request is initiated.
CPG brands should be very wary of jumping in with Amazon, for the sole fact that Amazon would likely learn all the data on what CPG products are most bought via voice and create their "Basics" version of it. They could possibly tilt scales in their own brand’s favor vs. the best interest of brands themselves.
Greenfield: The biggest change will be the "Attribution Effect" – the "after shocks'" of advertisers leveraging attribution data, which will force publishers to adapt to not only new formats, but content started from the perspective of the advertiser with outcome in mind. The “Attribution Effect” will move media from its current outdated currency to Attribution's Outcome Currency.