Could addressable TV allow broadcasters to win ad share from the tech giants?

TV’s embrace of targeted advertising is opening the door to smaller advertisers, but do Google and Facebook need to worry?

Clockwise from top left: Nwosu, addressable TV, Morris, Oliver, Turner, Murphy
Clockwise from top left: Nwosu, addressable TV, Morris, Oliver, Turner, Murphy

This week’s ITV Palooza event promised a future in which addressable advertising on television will become the norm.

For years, TV broadcasters including Sky, ITV and others have been working on advertising solutions that can be targetted directly to consumers based on demographics such as location, age, weather, mood and other factors.

Although always regarded as one of the most effective mass reach and brand building forms of advertising, TV advertising has often been the domain for larger brands with substantial media and advertising budgets.

This has made growth challenging in an increasingly fragmented media landscape where audiences and attention, particularly in younger demographics, has been shifting towards digital channels and social media that offer large audiences and targetting capabilities at a lower cost.

Facebook and Google have benefitted most from these shifts, as traditional broadcasters deeloped their own targeting and programmatic solutions (such as ITV’s Planet V), which are now starting to bear fruit.

Campaign asked media buyers and planners whether TV’s transition to digital-first strategies and addressable advertising solutions will allow broadcasters to start winning back market share from the tech giants.

Adam Turner

Managing director of investment, Omnicom Media Group UK

Broadcasters have always provided a brand-safe, high-quality advertising environment. They are now starting to reap the benefits of their transitions to digital-first strategies. Addressable TV through apps and dynamic linear platforms is both enhancing the communications opportunity for existing TV advertisers, and alongside increased flexibility around linear AB deadlines, is opening the door to new brands. 

Across 2021, there are around 300 brands that are new to TV. Many of these are digital businesses, who historically spent their marketing budgets online. Over the course of the past decade, we have seen the tech giants gain share by adding the ability to reach mass audiences through their targeting and performance capabilities. Broadcasters are now fighting back and working with agencies to offer targeting and measurement solutions to augment their unrivalled ability to generate mass audiences. Ultimately, the two sets of media are both improving capabilities and growing, and that can only be to the benefit of advertisers who embrace a blend of both.

Enyi Nwosu

Chief strategy officer, UM

Yes, they can. All the data points to the power of increased personalisation in delivering better business and brand outcomes for clients. As the TV market becomes more proficient in their use of addressable technology, they can naturally attract more advertisers to the medium. The cost of entry reduces as a barrier and the ability to deliver relevant engagement, by being present in programmes and shows their audiences love, is an attractive proposition for advertisers.

Rhiannon Murphy

Head of activation, the7stars

Absolutely, we have seen significant levels of inflation in the auction-based marketplaces such as Facebook, Google and paid search, which have been the go-to destinations for smaller to medium-sized brands that are looking to scale. Addressable TV bought via self-serve platforms allows those advertisers access to stature media placements around premium content. Historically this would never have been an opportunity for those brands because of pricing, creative costs and targeting.

Richard Oliver

Managing director UK, Magna Global

Targeting the long tail of small(er) advertisers is hardly a new idea for TV, but this time ITV is better set to get some of those businesses onto our TV sets. From regional sales teams through to Adsmart, there has long been a desire to tap into the SME market which does, after all, make up about half of the UK economy. Fighting for share from traditional advertisers, whose budgets are relatively stable over the long term, is not a path to significant growth. 

Google and Facebook have shown the massive revenue potential when you can offer a service to both traditional advertisers and the long tail of UK businesses. In the past there have been significant barriers for SMEs – including the cost of creative, lack of appropriate targeting – which also kept the cost high – and the process of dealing with an agency or direct with the broadcaster. Now there are low-cost and high-quality creative solutions and, through new technology like Planet V, relevant targeting options and a far simpler transactional process. And there’s one other benefit for ITV when talking to clients new to TV; they won’t be asking awkward questions about TV inflation.

Emma Morris

Head of investment and managing partner (OPTS), Starcom

Maybe addressable TV could grow ad share for UK broadcasters, particularly with the long tail of advertisers in mind, but this may not be the result of a decrease in investment made to the ‘tech giants’. The entry cost of addressable TV will most certainly be appealing to several advertisers who are new to TV and broadcasters are undeniably seeing sizable growth in this area. 

It’s impossible to determine if budgets across the market are being redeployed from the ‘tech giants’, but focus should be placed on measurement for continued investment growth within addressable TV. Having a robust and transparent measurement framework in place will be the key for the long-term success of addressable TV. Without this, the momentum of addressable TV will be unlikely to continue beyond test phases for some advertisers unless the market is able to ensure that advertisers' KPIs and business objectives are being delivered. 

Addressable TV in the UK is very much in its infancy in comparison to some ‘tech giants’ offerings, but developments are gaining pace and there will be even more fabulous opportunities for advertisers to explore in coming months.

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