14 Minutes Of Fame: Addressable Advertising On Linear TV Is A Prime Opportunity

It's well known that consumers are becoming comfortable with content being curated with their interests in mind — and the expectation, and perhaps even their desire, is to have that extend to the advertising messages that reach them as well.

They are not necessarily averse to advertising — they are against bad advertising or being flooded with the same ads over and over that aren’t relevant to them. 

Likewise, the industry is at an inflection point between programmers, who want — and even need — the ability to flex their inventory for advertisers and brands that seek to reach specific audience segments.

The process began more than a decade ago, when networks and advertisers agreed upon how advertising on linear TV would be measured and monetized. They concurred that the C3 metric, which requires that the same ad load be carried out in all distribution methods, would be the currency for buying and selling on TV.



It wasn’t a "Nielsen rule" then, and it isn’t now — although we are the arbiters of truth at the heart of these transactions.

Say those who intend to purchase that SUV, and consumers who only desire the most pertinent or interesting ad served to them...cue the Matthew McConaughey ice fishing in his vehicle spot. 

But how it’s done is just as important as why it needs to be done.

In the past there was no scalable way to even deliver more targeted messages on a traditional TV set. With the rise of smart TVs, connected TV and advances in set-top boxes (STBs) the technology is no longer a hindrance, but an accelerator.

The same industry that agreed upon the C3 metric now has not just the opportunity to capitalize on consumers' desire to be more connected, not just the ability to harness the technology, but the responsibility to respect these viewers and consider evolving the currency.

To successfully scale addressable measurement on linear TV, Nielsen is also well poised to lean into our flexible, cloud-based technology platform in order to enable and integrate the extremely large, yet granular data sets that smart TVs and STBs bring to the table. 

Reconciliation of ads served to and viewed by homes that roll up in national TV currency metrics — so that transactions based on a linear model by marketers looking for scale are done so accurately — is the keystone to actually having this concept move to fruition. 

When you consider that there is an average of 16 minutes of commercial time per hour and two minutes of those are reserved for local insertions, unlocking the remaining “14 Minutes of Fame” for addressable through a reconciliation process is crucial.

As always, the devil is in the details, and careful execution is the key to unlocking this potential.

Working with smart TV manufacturers and set-top-box providers to ingest the underlying tuning data they collect — crucial to fully understanding which devices were served linear or addressable ads — we will integrate this data into our base measurement. This will allow us to leverage our panel to make the data usable for measurement, and accurately calculate both addressable and linear audiences.

This preserves the underlying currency, ensuring that there is reliable measurement of both linear and addressable ads to give programmers the ability to flexibly sell spots to those advertisers who seek mass distribution while simultaneously allowing a portion of the audience to receive a more targeted message. 

Blending Big Data into measurement isn’t simple, but it’s something Nielsen has vast experience doing at a high level of quality, fueled by the underlying panels that allow for proper calibration of these data sets.

As the keeper of the currency, unlocking the National commercial minutes is really something only Nielsen can do, giving brands, marketers and media owners not only a chance to reach their desired audience in a more personal manner, but to measure the outcomes at a level of quality that programmers and brands expect and deserve. 

What comes next is probably top of mind for many in this industry and a big step forward for the content ecosystem, but it’s also a first step and it’s those initial moves forward that can sometimes be the hardest to take.

It’s a big change, but ultimately, it’s where this industry needs to go in order to enable a better advertising experience for programmers, brands, and  most importantly, consumers.

Nielsen is willing and ready to begin the process and work with the industry on how we achieve a more flexible working model for the marketplace.

The evolution of the measurement is the most important development for addressability to truly reach scale on linear TV. Anything less is simply wasting an opportunity to help TV evolve and grow, improve the consumer advertising experience and capitalize on a growing appetite for content consumption.

Nielsen is ready. Our question for the industry is: are you?

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