Buying TV & Video Ads Like It's 2022, Not 2012

  • by , Featured Contributor, October 20, 2022
I had the pleasure of attending MediaPost’s TV & Video Insider Summit in Montauk earlier this week and addressing the group about the biggest challenges facing the TV and streaming ad market today.

I told them my biggest concern is that too much of the market is trying to buy and sell TV and streaming ads like it’s 2012, not 2022, and summed up the challenges in three words: fragmentation, fit and fluency. Here's why:

Fragmentation. According to Nielsen, in 1951, four million U.S. households watched television on three networks. Today, 122 million U.S. households watch well over 250 different linear and streaming networks, and viewing is fragmenting across those channels at an accelerating rate. It takes 330% more TV ratings today to generate the same reach as could be achieved only six years ago.

Thus, marketers and agencies today not only need to buy on both linear and streaming platforms to reach their target audiences, but they need to reaggregate those audiences across hundreds of different channels and companies. Being able to plan, activate and measure across all of them in a de-duplicated way efficiently and fast will become table stakes in the business.



Fit. The vast majority of today’s programmatic ad tech was built on 2012 models for banners, not TV. Audience inferences from cookies and mobile identifiers are worthless in accurate CTV ad targeting. Most of the identity graphs don’t have a valid perspective on co-viewing or viewing pathways -- is the viewer’s app on a dongle, set-top box or TV device itself?

Finally, today’s demand- and supply-side platforms are built for the world of real-time, auction-based bidding and optimized to maximize the number of potential buyers who can bid and buy at the last milliseconds. They are not purpose-built for reserve bids on CPM-priced inventory to be bought days, weeks and months in advance by a limited set of approved buyers  -- and only upon approved creatives and targeting criteria.

Fluency. MVPD. CPRP. SSAI. DDL. VAST. DAI. STB. ACR. TRP. P2+. The TV and streaming ad world is becoming increasingly complex and full of acronyms that at least half of the folks in the business -- even those trying to use them -- don't fully understand. Our digital sellers and buyers think and operate on impressions, uniques and first-party data. Our TV buyers and sellers think and talk in GRPs, demos and households.

As I wrote last week, we must have multilingual fluency across both TV and streaming. Linear TV isn’t going away any time soon, and will be a big part of the video buy for the next decade at least. Without fluency, we won’t advance the market.

What do you think? Are too many approaches to buying TV and streaming stuck in a decade-old mindset?

2 comments about "Buying TV & Video Ads Like It's 2022, Not 2012".
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  1. Phil Guarascio from PG Ventures LLC, October 20, 2022 at 9:22 p.m.

    from a 30k view you are right on the money. The deeper issue in my view is the simple question, " how do we fix this" ? I don't see any real leadership in this regard. Can the 4As or Ana create models or guidelines that will move the industry forward . Not at this point in my view. The energy to sort out ts quagmire has to come from clients. Money talks. 

  2. Conor Mullen from RTE Publishing, November 1, 2022 at 11:41 a.m.

    Spot on, Dave - short termism is determining where investment goes - and FOMO - with technology moving faster than corporations can cope (either resource wise or investment) a mad panic drives where we should go next - and then it keeps changing.

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