VAB + Beet.TV
TV RESET: A Senior Leadership Forum

Exploring the Transformation of TV Advertising


PRESENT

TV RESET: A Senior Leadership Forum 

We are proud to introduce TV RESET: A Senior Leadership Forum presented by VAB and Beet.TV!  For the very first time, we’ll be bringing you candid, one-on-one conversations between top agency leads and ad sales executives. Hear our all-star line-up discuss the industry’s most important topics and how they are partnering together to meet marketers needs.    


Available Episodes Below:  

 

JoAnn Ross, President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS

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Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, Horizon Media

Episode 1: ViacomCBS’s Ross Sees Pandemic As Way to Deepen Ties With Advertisers

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted every industry including major broadcast networks that reach millions of U.S. households. Amid the turmoil have been opportunities to strengthen connections for media outlets to strengthen connections with advertisers that have revamped their media plans.

Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at ViacomCBS domestic advertising sales, discusses how she and her teams have managed through the disruptions in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, chief executive and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Ross talks about the uncertainties that started in mid-March when officials ordered many businesses to close down to suppress the spread of COVID-19. While many advertisers and media agencies have been working remotely for months, Ross has found a way maintain and even deepen connections with ViacomCBS’s clientele.

“We’ve all learned how important in this industry the value of these personal relationships that we’ve grown to nurture,” Ross, who last year became the first woman to lead an ad sales team at a broadcast network, said. Supporting those relationships includes calling chief marketing officers at advertiser to reassure them that her company is there to help them.

“No one has been through a pandemic before,” Ross said. “I hope what we take away are the learnings that we listen more, we stay in touch more and that we really do work to help the clients solve the problems.”

Episode 2: Scatter Market Is Rebounding Into Third Quarter 

The coronavirus pandemic’s effect on media prices has led some advertisers to wonder whether they can find better deals in the scatter market rather than the upfronts. As advertisers shift media dollars into the third quarter and boost demand, deals may be harder to find.

Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at ViacomCBS domestic advertising sales, discusses the broadcaster’s pricing in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Ross says broadcasters are rebounding as the third quarter approaches after taking a hit coming into April.

“For CBS, we are not below upfront. In fact, we are still at premiums because in third quarter, coming out of upfront we came out very, very well sold,” Ross, who last year became the first woman to lead an ad sales team at a broadcast network, said.

She also sees strength in ViacomCBS’s cable and digital platforms. The company’s brands include MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT and Paramount Network, along with the CBS All Access streaming network.

“In terms of cable and digital, we’re active in scatter,” Ross said. “We have inventory, not as tight as CBS, but we are not writing below upfront currently. With what’s been coming in the past few weeks, I don’t see that changing.”

Ross also discusses the market dynamics between linear TV and streaming, and the importance of live sports to CBS’s lineup starting with the return of the PGA Tour.


Episode 3: ‘We’re Rallying to ‘Eventize’ the Super Bowl’

The Super Bowl is the biggest televised event, giving advertisers a chance to reach a massive audience with “tentpole” campaigns that often set the tone for the entire year. The big game is currently scheduled for Feb. 7, though the coronavirus pandemic has made the outlook for the National Football League’s season more uncertain.

ViacomCBS, whose CBS network is carrying the Super Bowl on linear TV and digital channels, is bracing for the possibility that the game won’t have fans in attendance as part of the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus . Other sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have resumed play without fans, while still broadcasting games on TV.

“I’m hoping the Super Bowl will not be fanless,” Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at ViacomCBS domestic advertising sales, said in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “However, if it is, it’s still the biggest event. ViacomCBS across the company is rallying together to ‘eventize’ it — to get all our brands involved.”

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media, Ross said ViacomCBS is in talks with advertisers about the Super Bowl, including incumbents from last year’s big game that may be seeking to protect coveted placements. Those conversations are happening as advertisers consider the public mood amid the stresses of the health crisis and its effect on the economy.

“We are in conversations with a lot of clients about positions,” Ross said, adding that marketers are asking questions like, “What will the creative look like? What will the tonality be? Is it going to be a message of hope? Is it going to be selling product? Is it going to be addressing everything that’s going on in the country?”

Ross spoke to Koenigsberg on June 4, and since then, the NFL has said that it wants fans to attend the Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, while also acknowledging those plans could change, CBS Sports reported. The season opener on Sept. 10 won’t have fans, but the league has almost another six months to prepare for the championship game.

CBS is selling 30-second commercial spots in the Super Bowl for $5.5 million, while asking for another $200,000 to appear in the game’s online stream, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with those talks. Last year’s game on a rival network drew 102 million viewers through linear and digital channels, according to Nielsen data cited by Reuters.

Ross said ViacomCBS doesn’t negotiate through media reports about the cost to advertise in the Super Bowl, and is focused on preparing for the big game.

“Our tagline is, ‘Simply Stronger,’ because we want to simplify the process for agencies and clients,” Ross said, adding that the company wants to avoid over-complicating media buys on digital, cable or network.


Laura Molen, President, NBCU Ad Sales 

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Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, Horizon Media

Episode 1: ‘We Are Encouraged by the Second Quarter Scatter Market’: NBCU’s Laura Molen

The coronavirus pandemic led some advertisers to exercise options to obtain media placements at lower prices, but the scatter market is recovering as demand bounces back. Marketers seeking measurable business outcomes don’t want to be left behind as many cities and states ease lockdowns, letting brands reconnect with their customers.

Laura Molen, president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal, discussed how those dynamics helped the scatter market to recover in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Molen said demand started to pick up going into Memorial Day weekend, traditionally a heavy promotional period for advertisers as summer gets under way.

“The floor right now isn’t dropping. We’re actually so encouraged by the second quarter scatter market,” Molen said. “Marketers know that they have to market their way out of this to really get their companies back on track.”

A key test for broadcasters will be the upfront market, which typically offers lower prices than last-minute media buys in the scatter market. Molen said that while some advertisers have changed the timing of their campaigns, they are looking for opportunities in the upfront.

“We’re hearing from marketers that they’re still very interested in the upfront market,” Molen said. “If you are looking to secure inventory to get your message out there, particularly in certain time frames, the upfront is the way to go.”

Business Outcomes

With marketers facing greater pressure to get the most out of their media budgets during a period of heightened economic uncertainty, business outcomes have become a more important metric than ad impressions.

Molen said NBCUniversal has responded to those demands for business outcome guarantees, both for traditional brands and direct-to-consumer startups seeking to drive a response.

“For some clients, that meant traffic in stores, traffic online, subscriptions — all different kinds of business outcomes,” she said. “We are really invested in continuing to help our clients to measure what’s most important to them.”

Episode 2:  Peacock Will Bring Innovation to Free, Ad-Supported Streaming

NBCUniversal is getting into the streaming game with next month’s rollout of Peacock, setting the stage more innovation and value-added services for advertisers. Peacock’s service includes free, ad-supported streaming that has the potential to support more interactivity between brands and consumers.

Laura Molen, president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal, discusses the future of advertising in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Molen said Peacock has strong potential to convert viewers into shoppers with the development of supporting technologies.

“Free, ad-supported streaming…is the future, not just of viewership, but how advertising can work,” she said. “We can work together with marketers to create a commercial experience in a whole new way.”

The company is currently testing voice-activated remotes that let viewers respond immediately to advertising, Molen said. She also foresees innovation for ad inserts, product placements and channel design.


Rita Ferro, President, Disney Advertising Sales 

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Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, Horizon Media

Episode 1: ‘Second-Screening’ Will Be Key for Sports Coverage

Broadcasters have experienced a dearth of live sports with the suspension of operations by professional sports organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. That absence has raised expectations for the upcoming return of the National Football League, whose regular season last year was responsible for 47 of the 50 most-viewed telecasts, according to researcher Nielsen.

Rita Ferro, president of Disney Advertising Sales, is keeping a close eye on news developments for sports, with network brands that include ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks, Hulu and National Geographic. In this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum, Ferro discusses the possibilities for innovation in sports broadcasting that will be meaningful for fans and advertisers.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Ferro said she sees more opportunity to provide “second-screening” experiences to fans who use their smartphones and tablets while watching games on TV. Second-screening is likely to be more important to fans who preventing from attending games at stadiums, but still want to share the experience of watching their favorite teams.

“Even if they allow some fans in, it’s never going to be the full, packed, sold-out stadium and the energy that that brings to a game, and yet you can create so much of that,” Ferro said. She cited the coverage of this year’s NFL Draft of college players, which this year was a virtual event consisting of 200 live video feeds from across the country.

“There was a tremendous engagement around that property, and it was the biggest NFL Draft of all time because it was covered differently and relevant for the times,” she said. “It’s opened our eyes to ways you can do things very differently than before.”

Episode 2: Linear TV, OTT Can Complement Audience Reach

Streaming platforms are investing billions of dollars in original programming every year, raising the stakes for linear TV channels that aim to deliver audiences to advertisers. While linear TV has key strengths in sports, news and events, it also has the power to reach audiences with other kinds of original programming.

Rita Ferro, president of Disney Advertising Sales, said investments in original programming are central to her company’s strategy to reach audiences on any device. In this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum, Ferro discusses Disney’s efforts to develop content for its lineup of streaming and linear TV brands.

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Ferro said linear TV not only works for live programming, but also an outlet for original content that reaches a different audience than over-the-top (OTT) services do.

“We continue to make significant investments in original content, because we know that original content drives consumption not only on the OTT platforms but on our linear platforms,” she said.

With its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox last year, Disney became the world’s biggest movie and TV studio. Its media brands include streaming platform Hulu, which has ad-supported and ad-free tiers to provide a customized viewing experience, and linear channels such as ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic.

“They are complementary, and they have different audiences as we’re finding through the research and the data,” she said. “That’s informing a lot of the decisions we’re making from a content investment perspective.”


Doug Ray, CEO, Media Americas, Dentsu Aegis Network

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Jon Steinlauf, Chief U.S. Advertising Sales Officer, Discovery

Episode 1: Streaming Apps Drive Sales Growth During Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic led many advertisers to pull back on media spending in the past few months, but broadcasters have found pockets of strength in their streaming media platforms.

Discovery forecasts that it will end the second quarter with higher ad sales than a year earlier for its streaming apps, which are a key part of its strategy to help advertisers reach younger audiences and higher-income women whose viewing habits are changing.

“We think there’s going to be a shortage of ad-supported impressions for upscale female viewers,” Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. advertising sales officer at Discovery, said in an interview. “Those are the viewers that are moving over to streaming services more frequently.”

In this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum, Steinlauf speaks with Doug Ray, chief executive of media at Dentsu Aegis Network Americas, about the shifts in viewing habits and how streaming complements linear TV.

Discovery’s brands include a variety of lifestyle channels whose content is well suited for homebound consumers who are cooking more frequently or who have more time for do-it-yourself projects — including the setup of a work-from-home space. Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, DIY and Magnolia are among its lineup of channels, which also includes Discovery and TLC.

Each channel has a complementary app that authenticated pay-TV subscribers can access for no additional cost. Its advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) platforms extend the reach of its linear TV schedule among younger viewers.

Its programming also is appealing to women consumers, who make most of the purchase decisions in U.S. households, studies have shown. Steinlauf sees an opportunity to reach those viewers who favor video streaming, but don’t see ads on the three most popular streaming services: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

“We’re seeing about 25% of the viewership shifting to a platform that only carries about 5% of the advertising,” Steinlauf said.

Episode 2: Valuing Older, Higher-Income Households

Advertisers for years have sought to reach young adults who are in the early stages of forming brand loyalties and setting up their own households. However, they shouldn’t neglect efforts to reach older, higher-income households that will help drive the recovery from this year’s pandemic slowdown.

That’s the one of the key messages from Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. advertising sales officer at Discovery, whose network brands also include TLC, Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, DIY, ID and Travel Channel. He predicts that broader demographics will shape the linear TV marketplace, along with smaller ad loads and strategic targeting based on audience metrics such as purchase propensity.

“We should focus at what TV’s good at: reaching people over 35,” Steinlauf said in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “We think we should be bought for what we do well.”

Speaking with Doug Ray, chief executive of media at Dentsu Aegis Network Americas, Steinlauf also discusses how its collaboration with Amazon Publisher Services helps to reach viewers who stream Discovery’s programming on Amazon Fire TV devices.


Louis Carr, President, Media Sales, BET Networks

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Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, Horizon Media

Episode 1: 'It's Up to Us to Close the Deal' on Promoting Equality

The media and marketing industries can play a key role in promoting racial diversity, a topic that has become more pronounced in recent weeks. The killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis ignited mass protests against racism and police brutality, and spurred advertisers to be more vocal about social justice.

As the nation’s premiere provider of TV programming for African American audiences, BET Networks sees a responsibility to inform, educate and console anyone who is troubled by recent events — and to use its platform to promote racial equality.

“It’s up to us to close the deal,” Louis Carr, president of media sales at BET Networks, a unit of ViacomCBS, said in an interview for the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “We knew we had a tremendous obligation to our consumers, to our business partners and even more personally, to our families. This was our time to live up to our brand promise.”

Speaking to Bill Koenigsberg, the president, CEO and founder of media services agency Horizon Media Inc., Carr highlighted several ways the BET Networks is promoting discussions about racism, inequality and economic empowerment.

Those efforts include a $25 million collaboration with corporate partners on its “Content for Change Initiative” that started on Juneteenth, the June 19 occasion has grown from a grassroots effort to celebrate the emancipation of people who had been enslaved in the United States.

Describing “Content for Change” as a pillar of its programming, Carr said the effort features content that aims to educate, inspire and motivate people to tackle racism.

Kimberly Paige, chief marketing officer of BET Networks, inspired the development of a series called “Love Letter” that recognizes the hardships faced by African Americans who have suffered disproportionately during the coronavirus pandemic. “Love Letter” pays tribute to what has been lost amid recurring crises.

“During this time of civil unrest and so much pain and hurt that our community was going through, we needed to let them know that they are loved, and that the No. 1 brand that is serving them, loves them very intimately,” he said. “We understand what they’re going through, and we’re going through it right with them.”

Amid the current difficulties, Carr sees a generational opportunity to address racism and create a pathway for more African Americans to find better representation at all levels of major companies. The mainstream affinity for Black culture can be translated into meaningful change, Carr said.

“All of you who love Black culture, get off the sidelines and join us in this fight for equality,” he said. “Most brands have benefited in some form or fashion from Black culture.”


Catherine Sullivan, Chief Investment Officer,NA, Omnicom Media Group

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Marianne Gambelli, President, FOX Advertising Sales

Episode 1: Tubi Delivers Audiences Not Reached by Linear TV

Fox Corp. this year bought video streaming service Tubi to expand its reach outside of linear TV, an acquisition that ended up being exceptionally well timed. Millions of people stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns have had more time to watch video on every screen, including advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) services like Tubi.

Marianne Gambelli, President of FOX Advertising Sales, sees Tubi as an opportunity for advertisers to reach younger audiences who are hooking up their TVs directly to the internet instead of paying for a cable or satellite subscription.

“Tubi delivers a younger, cord-cutter, cord-never audience that we just don’t reach on broadcast,” Gambelli said in an interview for the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “It fit perfectly with Fox’s assets.”

Tubi’s ads are shown in “pod” segments with fewer interruptions than on linear TV, which has longer ad blocks that are well suited for sports, news and other live programming, Gambelli said in a discussion with Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer, North America, at Omnicom Media Group, about the advertising marketplace.

They agreed that “subscription fatigue” is a concern as the streaming media market gets crowded with paid services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+ and ESPN+, among others. AVOD can provide high-quality programming without burdening households with another subscription fee.

Tubi this month appeared for the first time at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s 2020 NewFronts, a presentation that wasn’t planned earlier this year. The pandemic led the IAB to reschedule its annual week of sales presentations by digital content platforms from March.

That change in timing worked in Tubi’s favor after its acquisition that month by Fox, which has ample experience in upfront sales, as noted by Adweek.

Tubi touted its lineup of kids and family programming, as homebound parents seek shows that are safe for children. Tubi plans to stream shows from Lego, Mattel and the “Garfield” comics franchise. It also will carry animated series like “Henchmen,” “Monster Family,” “Big Fish & Begonia” and “The Magic Brush.”

In addition, Tubi this year will expand into Spanish-language programming with the launch of Tubi en Español, which will have more than 800 titles, Variety reported.


Mike Law, President, Amplifi USA

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Kim Kelleher, President of Advertising Sales & Partnerships, AMC Networks

Episode 1: 'Buyers-First' Mentality Drives Ad Sales Strategy

Technology is reshaping the way that marketers reach target audiences, and AMC Networks is at the forefront of testing methods to help advertisers boost the efficiency of their media buys. The network also has partnered with a variety of media-buying platforms to expand their inventories.

“Our mentality was: We have a ‘viewers-first’ mentality around distribution, let’s develop a ‘buyers-first’ mentality around how we transact,'” Kim Kelleher, president of advertising sales and partnerships at AMC, said in an interview for the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “We have nothing to hide and everything to gain by showing how an audience is going to perform.”

Kelleher described AMC’s advertiser-focused strategy in a conversation with Mike Law, president of Amplifi USA, the media agency owned by Dentsu Aegis Network. AMC’s strategy includes partnerships with media-buying platforms and pilot programs to test addressable advertising.

AMC was among the networks that this year joined Xandr Invest, the platform from AT&T’s Xandr ad-tech unit that gives advertisers a way to reach 76% of U.S. households. The company didn’t stop there, and last month announced its participation in the OpenAP consortium, which is a rival to Xandr. AMC also is integrated with Dentsu’s M1 platform for media buying, Kelleher said.

As for addressable advertising, AMC last month become the first major network to join the On Addressability initiative from cable providers Comcast, Charter and Cox to target linear TV and video on demand households. AMC also is piloting the Project OAR consortium and researcher Nielsen’s addressable advertising solution that aim to provide better ad targeting.

‘Viewer-First’ Mentality

AMC’s “viewer-first” mentality comes as many U.S. households are canceling pay-TV subscriptions while hooking up their TVs directly to the internet. The resulting shift in media consumption has challenged traditional cable and satellite TV networks to develop programming for streaming platforms, while also serving the millions of viewers who haven’t cut the cord.

AMC Networks is adapting to these changes in viewing behaviors by collaborating with digital platforms that help to extend its reach, cultivate new audiences and deepen connections with existing viewers.

“As long as we keep the viewer at the center, we’re going to win,” Kelleher said. “Where the viewer is, the advertiser will always follow, if they can.”

Kelleher pointed to AMC’s strategy with “The Walking Dead,” the long-running horror series that’s the highest-rated scripted show on cable TV. While the series draws millions of viewers who like “appointment viewing” at a set time, the network has developed ways to engage those audiences after each episode.

The company teamed with Reddit, the news and discussion website, to give fans of “The Walking Dead” a way to talk about each episode, Kelleher said. Those social conversations help to keep viewers coming back to the show.

“We know exactly what we are, and we are looking forward to partnerships and innovation on expanding that footprint,” Kelleher said.

Because AMC doesn’t own an advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) service, the network is finding ways to work with streaming platforms to extend its brand and reach a new audience. AMC recently collaborated with Pluto TV, the AVOD service that ViacomCBS bought this year for $340 million, on an exclusive channel called “AMC Stories.”

The channel is airing the first five seasons of “The Walking Dead” to connect with younger audiences who are using streaming platforms to discover hit shows from yesteryear like “Friends” or “Seinfeld.”

“Season one of ‘The Walking Dead’ is hugely valuable right now because there’s a whole new audience of people that are ready to discover it,” Kelleher said.


Sean Cunningham, President & CEO VAB

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Noah Levine, CRO, 605

Episode 1: We Need to Prove TV Can Do More

Audience measurement has become more crucial for television networks and their advertisers, which are being lured to spend more on digital outlets including social media and internet search. The coronavirus pandemic has added to these competitive pressures as marketers seek to squeeze the best performance from tighter media budgets.

Demonstrating the power of TV advertising increasingly requires more complete data that show how consumers follow the path from seeing an ad to acting upon it. Tracking consumers along this journey, often called the “purchase funnel,” is a key part of making TV more competitive with digital rivals.

“We need to prove that television can do more,” Noah Levine, chief revenue officer of TV analytics firm 605, said in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “The efficacy of television is greater than display, it’s greater than search.”

Speaking to Sean Cunningham, president and chief executive of VAB, Levine recommended that advertisers abandon “last-click” attribution that tends to favor companies further down the sales funnel. Those companies include the digital media giants that are adding more online shopping features to drive direct sales for retailers and brands.

“Last-click attribution has done a major disservice to marketers, agencies, media sellers — basically everyone except for Google and Facebook,” Levine said.

“Full-funnel attribution” that starts with brand lift at the top of the purchase funnel is one way for TV networks and marketers to gauge the effect of ads on “mid-funnel” activities like website visits, foot traffic through mobile geolocation and direct sales, he said.

To track TV viewership, 605 combines set-top box information with automatic content recognition (ACR) data to provide a more complete picture of what viewers are watching. 605 tracks the viewing habits 21 million U.S. households, and projects the information among the general population.

While audience measurement has come a long way since asking people to record their viewing habits in written diaries, there is still room for improvement. Measuring audiences across platforms, including “walled garden” environments like Facebook, and achieving unduplicated reach are a challenge.

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe we as an industry have solved the cross-platform, unduplicated reach problem yet,” Levine said. “We have to be able to process that digital exposure data.”

Episode 2: To Compete With Walled Gardens, TV Must Become A Platform

What is it going to take for TV networks to front up and match big players like Google, Facebook and Amazon when it comes to offering advanced advertising opportunities?

Answer: learning to function with the same ecosystem mentality as the tech giants.

In this video interview with VAB CEO and president Sean Cunningham for TV Reset, a Beet.TV industry discussion series, 605 chief revenue officer Noah Levine gives his views.

Fragmenting TV

“Google, Facebook, Amazon, those are platforms, they’re also walled gardens,” Levine says.

“Until maybe eight years ago, television in and of itself was a very clean and tidy well-lit marketplace. It was very clear and easy to understand this television universe.

“What’s happened is, with the rise of streaming, particularly through the pandemic, we’re seeing streaming begin to rival and sometimes exceed linear viewership.

“And that has created a massive amount of fragmentation for the television universe.”

Platform play

Where, once, TV was a largely self-contained medium, with few operators and few places from which to buy advertising, now there is a plethora of services.

That runs contrary to the experience of the tech platforms, which operate and can reach their own ecosystems of users using their own attributes. Ad targeting there is seamless and effective.

That is a place Levine thinks television needs to get back to.

“We need to first solve for TV’s fragmentation issue by thinking of TV as a platform,” he says. “And then we can have the television universe compete with the search universe, compete with the browser-based display universe, compete with the native digital universe, and so forth.

“That’s really where we need to go as a marketplace. So I think it’s a different lens that we’re looking through.”

Back to cohesion

In the last couple of years, several initiatives, working groups and consortia have emerged to smooth the path to digital TV ad buying.

They hope to introduce commonality to the ways that audience data is constructed and to transacting in new, audience-centric TV platforms.

“Television in and of itself is no longer a cohesive entity,” says 605’s Levine.

EMarketer estimates that US TV ad spending will decline between 22.3% and 29.3% in H1 2020.

However, it forecasts US digital video ad spending could increase by as much as 7.8% during H1 2020 – or decrease by as much as 5.2% versus H1 2019.

That runs contrary to the experience of the tech platforms, which operate and can reach their own ecosystems of users using their own attributes. Ad targeting there is seamless and effective.

That is a place Levine thinks television needs to get back to.

“We need to first solve for TV’s fragmentation issue by thinking of TV as a platform,” he says. “And then we can have the television universe compete with the search universe, compete with the browser-based display universe, compete with the native digital universe, and so forth.

“That’s really where we need to go as a marketplace. So I think it’s a different lens that we’re looking through.”

Data-driven buying

605 provides aggregate set-top box and automatic content recognition (ACR) from 21 million households. It combines viewing data from

  1. Charter Communications’ Spectrum cable subscribers.
  2. Inscape, the company taking actual viewing data from Vizio TVs using automatic content recognition (ACR)

In February, 605 launched 605 Platform, a software system that will help programmers and advertisers plan, buy, assess and attribute advanced advertising campaigns.

It is the latest such platform to emerge offering ad buyers similar capabilities.


Catherine Sullivan, Chief Investment Officer, Omnicom Media Group

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Joe Hogan,EVP Sales & Marketing, WarnerMedia

Episode 1: Advertisers Seek Digital Flexibility from Linear TV

The growing popularity of digital video is pushing linear TV platforms to innovate by offering greater flexibility to advertisers. That transformation is especially vital as the coronavirus pandemic and economic slowdown lead advertisers and agencies to shift their media-buying strategies.

WarnerMedia is restructuring its operations as advertisers demand from linear TV the same kind of flexibility they get from digital video platforms. Parent company AT&T in April announced plans to merge WarnerMedia with its advertising unit Xandr.

“The idea of combining Xandr with WarnerMedia is really what the customers want,” Joe Hogan, executive vice president of sales and marketing at WarnerMedia, said in the latest installment of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “They want our linear inventory to behave a little more like digital in terms of flexibility and real-time measurement, and the ability to shift and pivot. The Xandr data and analytics strengths allow us to move toward the similarities between digital and linear inventory.”

In a conversation with Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer of North America for Omnicom Media Group, Hogan discusses how the idea of flexibility encompasses everything from the ability to swap out ad creative quickly to shifting spending among its different platforms for premium video.

“We would like … to be able to move into behavioral targeting that allows us that real-time flexibility,” Hogan said. “there’s work to do on the system side in terms of our having functionality to do that, but these conversations around flexibility will get us there faster.”

WarnerMedia’s network brands include CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, TruTV and Cartoon Network, along with digital media platforms such as Otter Media and Bleacher Report.

Episode 2: Viewer Experience Drives Ad Strategy for HBO Max

WarnerMedia made a strong push into the streaming video market with launch of HBO Max in May, and plans to introduce an ad-supported version with a lower subscription fee next year. The company is developing a strategy to open up advertising inventory while also being mindful about the viewer experience.

“It will be a responsible commercial load based on fan feedback and research, and what fans see as a fair exchange,” Joe Hogan, executive vice president of sales and marketing at WarnerMedia, said in this episode of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “Expect us to find a way to participate with as many advertisers as possible.”

In a conversation with Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer of North America for Omnicom Media Group, Hogan discussed a key issue facing her clientele: measurement of reach and frequency among media platforms including digital and linear TV. Improved measurement would help to make media buys more efficient.

“Folks are realizing that all data are not created equal,” Hogan said. “Working together to bring data sets where we can will lead us into a much more progressive position than we’ve been historically.”

The subscription video on demand (SVOD) version of HBO Max costs viewers $14.99 a month for commercial-free viewing, while the AVOD version’s price remains to be determined. WarnerMedia aims to reach 75 million to 90 million subscribers to HBO Max by 2025.


Sean Cunningham, President & CEO, VAB

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Michael Barrett, President & CEO, Magnite

Episode 1: ‘AVOD World Will Be Booming’ : Magnite’s Michael Barrett

The growing audience for advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) services like Pluto TV, Roku Channel and Tubi is driving a shift in media spending that’s likely to be long-lasting. More of their video ad inventory will be offered among programmatic platforms that shaped the market for digital display ads in the past decade.

Magnite, a sell-side platform (SSP) that was formed this year with the merger of Rubicon Project and Telaria, has its eye on the burgeoning market for programmatic video as more marketers shift their media budgets away from the estimated $70 billion market for linear TV advertising. The company aims to be the sell-side equivalent of The Trade Desk, which helps marketers find media inventory as an independent demand-side platform (DSP).

In discussing the recent merger, Magnite CEO Michael Barrett sees the opportunity to build scale for content providers whose ad inventories include a variety of formats in video, audio, mobile and web channels.

“The idea was that publishers are looking to work with fewer partners that can do more for them, and ad tech is notoriously fragmented,” Barrett said in the latest installment of the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “We saw an opportunity to create an alternative — an independent, omnichannel play.”

Speaking to Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of VAB, Barrett said Magnite combines the strengths of Telaria in connected TV (CTV) with Rubicon’s background in display, audio and digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising to provide a more unified platform for publishers to connect with media buyers.

“Buyers don’t want to work with five platforms to get the inventory of one media company,” Barrett said. “Our partners on the publishing side can go in full-in on programmatic and still guard the economics that they rightfully fight for, but accommodate what the buyers are asking for.”

‘AVOD Boom’

He anticipates strong growth for AVOD services as consumers look to stretch their limited budgets for subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu and YouTube Premium.

“The most interesting shift is SVOD versus AVOD,” Barrett said. “Two years ago, it was clear that the Netflix model was the model that everyone emulated.”

However, keeping up with Netflix’s annual programming budget, which was forecast to top $17 billion this year, is a daunting proposition for any VOD service that relies only on subscription revenue. By selling advertising, AVOD services gain the financial resources to license higher-quality programming that’s appealing to viewers, while also helping marketers connect with them

“The AVOD world will be booming,” Barrett said. “Consumers have already raised their hand and said, ‘This is how I like to consume content. This is by choice. This is here to stay.'”



Hear the industry’s change-making leaders talk about the most important industry topics right now such as:

  • Programming pivots forced by COVID & the best solutions 
  • Partnered innovations between buy & sell side execs that have to progress thru 2020’s challenges 
  • Accelerating pace of consumer adoption of new ad-relevant video platforms (streaming, OTT, CTV, Mobile, etc.) and how to best navigate
  • Jump-started role for data tools & data platforms for the remainder of 2020 
  • Expanded TV audiences since March – identifying the opportunities for advertisers 
  • How advertisers can win during an economic recession: pushing TV’s ROI and future-building brands


We will continue to post videos weekly. Check back for air dates and stay tuned for the full updated schedule.


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