Multiscreen TV Advertising: Rethinking the Way We Transact and Measure

by Blake Elmquist

posted on 05-09-2017

Adobe Primetime recently hosted a panel discussion at Adobe Summit about how media buyers and sellers transact and measure multiscreen TV advertising. The discussion provided an insider’s view of hot topics like attribution, business models, addressable advertising, and data ownership.

The discussion featured:

Josh Newman, Senior Vice President of Advanced Ad Systems at Fox Networks Group
Jonathan Bokor, Senior Vice President, Director of Precision Video at Publicis Media
Adam Lowy, GM, Advanced TV DISH & Sling TV

You can listen to the discussion here. Our top 6 takeaways:

1. Demand is accelerating for flexible methods of transacting.

TV boasts more channels, more programs, and more modes of access than ever before. Some audiences tune in via satellite TV, some via cable TV, and some via streaming TV across a huge range of devices. In response to this variety, advertisers are structuring their buys in more flexible, data-driven ways to ensure campaigns are reaching “fractionalized” audiences. Underscoring this point, Bokor says, “In TV, we’ve always bought audience. A demo is an audience. The issue is, how do we get more granular? …how do we get more precise than the age/sex demo, which is a 50- to 60-year-old concept. It’s time to move beyond that. The old reason why you bought an age/sex demo to get high reach efficiently, it’s harder to get that same reach, and it’s more expensive”.

2. The business model for multiscreen TV will continue to evolve.

The evolving business model for multiscreen TV has to address the interests of consumers, advertisers, and TV providers. Consumers always want fewer ads. Advertisers always want a better return on ad spend. TV providers and content programmers always want to grow revenue. Bokor has a pretty clear idea of what it will take to achieve these objectives. It will take capabilities like precision targeting, frequency control, and attribution. And, it involves some enhanced technical capabilities, too. Bokor says, “We would be willing to support greater rates if you give us some of the things that we want – impression by impression buying with passback, being able to bump up an ID against our DMP [ data management platform], decide whether or not we want that impression, precision target the audience that we want, frequency control, things like that – then it’s a conversation.”

With greater precision and higher rates, comes a decrease in ad loads and an improved viewer experience. In each scenario, experimentation has a significant role to play. For example, Newman thinks there may be ways to capitalize on consumers’ binging behavior, as viewers are highly engaged when they watch five episodes a day. Or branded content could play a bigger role. Lowy says, “You’re going to see a lot more different ways to bring in money within content itself. So you have to be very careful of what that does to the content because somewhere, some way, the revenue has to come in, and that’s a dance that you have to look at as you move on.”

3. Advertisers want to measure frequency, reach, and attribution among individuals, not devices.

Digital, IP-based platforms have the greatest potential to give advertisers what they want, which is the ability to measure the frequency, reach, and attribution of TV advertising across individuals, not devices. Clearly, advertisers don’t want to measure one person as if they were three people, just because the person uses three devices. This distorts all the measurements that the advertiser cares about. Instead, advertisers want to connect all TV viewing for each individual to a single user profile and only then measure the effectiveness of TV advertising. This can be done for streaming TV, for example, with device graph technology that can connect a smartphone ID, tablet ID, and OTT device ID to a single anonymous profile. Bokor says, “That really gives us the possibility to get that cross-platform reach, frequency, and attribution in a much cleaner way and in a census way, as opposed to a panel way. I think it’s going to be more accurate, and that, to me, is sort of the holy grail.”

4. The new OpenAP ad targeting platform by Fox, Turner and Viacom helps solve for fragmented media inventory, but not addressable advertising, and serves as a sign that data ownership will be under the microscope.

OpenAP helps solve for fragmentation because it allows advertisers to define audience segments and do index buying across inventory that would normally exist in silos. Newman says that this “creates a pool that can reach targetable television audiences at scale.”

Index buying at scale is a step in the right direction, but it’s not addressable advertising. With index buying, advertisers identify and purchase shows that index well for a specific audience. In contrast, with addressable advertising, advertisers identify and purchase impressions to reach only those people in their target audience. Lowy says that index buying is “a different way to target advertising, not as rich as, obviously, addressable or audience-based targeting.”

It will take significant collaboration between programmers, distributors, and networks to do addressable linear TV advertising at scale. This suggests that data will be a point of negotiation in new carriage deals. Lowy says, “There is more time and effort in those negotiations, discussions about over the top, TV Everywhere, and other methods. All these things have been added into the discussions now that weren’t in seven years ago, five years ago.”

5. Spending on multiscreen TV advertising depends heavily on the ability to measure results.

Media buyers want to know if multiscreen TV ads are driving return on ad spend. This task is largely in the hands of advertisers because they are in the best position to define and measure the key performance indicators of their business. Bokor says, “The reality is that it depends on the brand, what their key performance indicators are, what their goals are, and what data is available. There is no magic bullet.”

Media sellers want to provide the metrics that unlock the spending. This is difficult because it requires identifying a metric that’s meaningful to all buyers and that’s technically feasible to track. Newman says, “Technical complexity and thinking about whether the metrics actually serve the best interests of everybody in the ecosystem, I think, are two other issues from a measurement standpoint.”

6. Streaming TV belongs on big screens and should be supported by ads.

Consumers have more control over the TV viewing experience than ever before. With this control, they tend to favor big screens over small screens. For example, 80-85 percent of Sling TV ads are being run on the OTT platforms through Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV. Bokor says, “if you look at time spent, OTT, or over the top, it’s already quite significant. From what I’m seeing, when you’re talking about episodic TV content, half hour or hour shows and movies, the vast majority of the viewing is on the large TV screen, not on a desktop, not on a mobile. Hulu is the bellwether. Hulu’s views, 75 percent are on a TV. So, I think what you’re going to see is that the viewing on IP-based streaming of long-form content is going to continue to be on a television.”

Some effort may be required to get consumers to favor ad-supported content over paid content. With downloads and Netflix viewing of prior seasons, you can have a show where a relatively low percent of the current viewing is ad supported, according to Newman. Considering this, he says, “The collective distributor, advertiser, agency, publisher ecosystem needs to think about how we maintain, and work creatively together, to maintain the TV model, whatever it is. It’s engaged viewing in an ad supported basis, and people are not having to pay for it incrementally.”


In short, digital TV advertising offers significantly more control than traditional TV advertising. The content and screens may ultimately look very similar, but the underlying technology is dramatically better in a digital environment for areas like targeting, attribution and yield management. This calls for a dramatic improvement in how media sellers package and price TV audiences and content, which Adobe is doubling down on for TV publishers with TV Media Management (TVMM). For a quick overview of TVMM, check out this video:


Products: Experience Cloud