5 Ways To Fix Today's TV Advertising

  • by , Featured Contributor, October 26, 2023

I spent this week listening to a lot of talk about TV and video advertising – and doing my own talking as well. First I was at the always excellent, intimate MediaPost TV & Video Summit in Nashville; then in Orlando, Florida at the Association of National Advertisers' Masters of Marketing, attended by about 2,300 in person.

Several themes around TV advertising resonated that came up over and over at both events: Audience fragmentation across streaming and linear TV is really bad, and getting worse; there is too much wasted ad frequency on both steaming and linear TV; almost no one is able to run truly integrated streaming and linear TV ad campaigns; fraud, bots and mislabeled outstream video are real problems in CTV today; and the opacity of many streaming video ad platforms is creating real trust issues among buyers.

Yep, the consensus out there is that TV advertising in its current state is a mess. Fixable? Yes. But a mess, for sure.

So, how are we going to fix it? Here are five steps we can take:



Care. Too many in our industry operate out of willful ignorance. We need to stop that. Everyone with their heads in the sand needs to step up and care, ask questions and demand answers -- repeatedly if necessary.

Use data and act empirically. Lots of people like to talk about leveraging big data and AI -- and then make decisions on their gut feelings and historical dispositions. Truly adopting data-informed decision-making is easy to talk about, but hard to do. Now is the time to start doing hard things.

Demand transparency. If platforms are not reporting on the content, the episodes, the services, the apps and the platforms upon which your ads appear, there’s probably a reason -- and it’s probably not a good one for you.

Cross-channel training and fluency. Most digital ad buyers don’t understand how linear TV works. Most linear TV ad buyers don’t understand how streaming and digital ads work. Neither is going away any time soon, and the future of streaming TV ads is certain to carry forward some key parts of the linear TV ad world.

Demand integration. Most streaming TV viewers also watch lots of linear TV, so the ads on each need to work together and not at cross purposes. Streaming and linear TV advertising can be planned, bought and measured in truly integrated ways. Now is the time to demand this.

Are you ready to help fix the world of streaming and linear TV advertising?

3 comments about "5 Ways To Fix Today's TV Advertising".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 27, 2023 at 9:06 a.m.

    Dave, most of the"people" who behave as you describe---decisions based on "gut" feelings, doing things the usual way, etc. ----are the marketing execs at the advertisers----the CMOs and their cohorts, the brand managers. These are the ones who can't be bothered to spend quality time evaluating  the new opportunities in media. These are the ones who aren't demanding that their agencies integrate their linear TV and CTV planning and buying groups---and training them so they understand both types of TV. These are the ones who continue to support the upfront buying system with its focus on tonnage at low CPMs. These are the ones who squeeze the agencies on fee systems while failing to pay even a dime to fund improved TV audience measurement designs which would mandate the inclusion of attentiveness. These are the ones who almost never attend alternative idea media meetings but insist on sponsoring  expensive  sports, news and major specials--because that's what"we" do. These are the ones whose "media plans" do not include any mention of alternate plans and in most cases no discussion of how the various elements being "recommended" interact to produce a desired result. I could go on and on---but why bother?

    My point, once again is simple. To drive a car you need a power source---gasoline, electricity---or a horse pulling the vehicle along very slowly. We are bemoaning bad situations in "TV" land and riightly so. But our "car" lacks the fuel---which only  those whose money is involved can supply to get things moving. Until "we"---you,  me, many others----  get the advertisers to wake up and start pumping gas into the system the sellers will continue to rule and we will continue to talk to ourselves about how bad things are.

  2. Michael Bell from Epsilon, October 27, 2023 at 4:09 p.m.

    Cross-channel training + fluency is critical.  And, I like what Ed says above.  I would love to see more experimentation and flexibility in marketing/media plans where marketers feel comfortable testing new partners and especially partners that have a cohesive and coherent offering.

  3. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics replied, October 30, 2023 at 3:57 p.m.

    Yes, Ed. I agree it's about stepping up. The phrase New Yorkers and others use is "put your money where your mouth is."  If you want to see change, you need "skin in the game."  Those who do, will see the changes that work for their businesses. It's not an expense. It's an investment with huge returns.

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