August 19, 2016

DFW panel discusses the future of advertising for streamed entertainment

Originally posted at Dallas Business Journal on August 18, 2016

The blurring divisions between streamed entertainment and traditional TV formats is challenging the jobs of digital advertisers in the space, a panel of experts said Thursday at a special luncheon hosted by DFWIMA.

But the changes present opportunity. As new technologies produce better data from traditional TV viewers, ad companies will move to specialize those viewers’ content to a more granular, user level – an advantage of advertising on digital platforms.

Even if the solutions are complex, the objectives in digital advertising remain simple: “What is the consumer looking for, where are they, and how can we meet them where they are?” said Sarah Franks, group media director at Dallas-based The Richards Group.

Franks joined Hulu Director of Midwest Sales Christie Hoelting and VideoAmp Chief Data Officer Deb Ray on the panel held at Arlington Hall in Dallas. The DFW Interactive Media Association hosts educational luncheons monthly on pertinent topics within the field.

The increase of “over the top” video content, which bypasses set-top boxes or satellite dishes to deliver content via the internet, has allowed advertisers to innovate new ways to target their content on a user-by-user basis, the same way Google funnels ads to consumers based on online activity. OTT video models include Hulu, Netflix and HBO Go.

Meanwhile, traditional TV, also known as linear TV – wherein programming moves in a linear fashion – is harder to personalize. Marketers are typically able to target at the level of the designated market area. But the increased availability of set-top box data is allowing greater personalization. VideoAmp is building products to help advertisers better target traditional TV consumers.

Buyers, however, remain slow to adapt to digital advertising. Cost differences favor traditional TV forms, Franks said.

Ray said the trick is to get ad buyers to think holistically about their approach to reaching consumers.

“You want to reach a certain audience across all screens,” he said.

As TV continues to shift, the barrier between the two forms will continue to break down. In a few years, Hoelting said, there might not be any difference.

“It’s just going to be advertising,” she said.