Addressable television is a trend generating excitement in the broadcast industry. Indeed it has been a matter of some discussion at recent events like the programmatic summit in Sydney at the start of March, and the Future of TV Advertising Forum in February.

Globally, addressable TV remains in a nascent state, representing just a fraction of the $US190 billion TV advertising spend. However, during 2017 there was little evidence of big budget shifts into addressable.

Research by companies such as eMarketer suggest medium-term growth is likely to be strong, while others like TechNavio are more enthusiastic, saying interest it is likely to be immense in markets like the US by the end of the decade. Mindshare meanwhile says a third of all UK audiovisual advertising will be addressable by 2022.

Speaking with Mark Frain, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at MCN, he agrees there is growth, but it’s about identifying where to focus our efforts to ensure that growth.

Mark Frain
Mark Frain, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at MCN.

“There is no question there is ongoing future growth in IP-based services with the growing connection of smart TVs and other devices in the household, however, for the next two or three years the lion’s share of viewing will remain on linear broadcast television,” he says. “Therefore, we must certainly continue to build capability in all areas, but we mustn’t lose sight there is an enormous opportunity to do linear broadcast better in the first instance. By applying digital thinking and capability to linear television, we can begin to have the power to deliver and measure better results for advertisers sooner.”

But, before we work out how to grow addressable, Frain says we need to first understand the basics.

“The interesting part of the addressable discussion is actually the part that is getting a bit lost, and that is the very definition of addressable TV,” says Frain.

“One simple way of thinking of it is that it provides the ability to serve different advertisements to different TVs in the same location. For instance, two households in the same street.”

However, he says the lines can get blurred. “People also think addressable TV is what is actually IP addressability to different devices. This is certainly what some of the bigger tech players are pushing.”

Then there is also Programmatic TV (PTV) to consider when talking addressable. “PTV provides another element to the definition, particularly if addressability is defined as a better way to execute television through a data driven mode,” according to Frain. “PTV is the process of buying linear television using consumer segments based on data sets, and as such, the offering is now starting to sit under the addressable model too.”

For MCN, Frain says it’s contending and integrating all these views.

“From our perspective, we are straddling these pillars of addressability, but the critical thing for the industry to focus on, and to build over the next few years, are the links across PTV on linear, IP addressability by device, and true TV addressability through linear broadcast. Doing this will mean we can begin to share in the spoils and growth of the digital economy.”​

Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which MCN is a member. DIU members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.


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