The Problems Associated With Fragmentation
While fragmentation of customers is theoretically good, there could be overlapping and other complexities involved. What could be an addressable TV ad for a few could be a conventional TV ad for others. Hence, in the initial few months and perhaps years there is bound to be quite a bit of complexity and confusion all around. The situation is further complicated because this new form of TV viewing is still in a flux and there is quite a bit of change that is taking place. We should bear in mind that as far as this article is concerned, we are looking at the addressable TV from a unique perspective. We are referring to a TV advertisement plan where the customers would be able to get different ads across the same programs depending on their personal choices and profiles.
This fragments the entire addressable TV market. The inventory most certainly gets stretched across the entire industry, and it is not restricted to broadcasters. Then there is the issue of mindsets. Many advertising agencies and end users of such advertisement have so far been used to buying the TV in one neat bundle. Today, suddenly we have a situation where we have many different players ready to buy media space depending on the customer profile they are catering to. Further, the lack of a worthwhile exchange for addressable TV is also a big issue. Though some beginning has been made, these are still very early days, and there is much ground to be covered and many slopes to be climbed.
Measuring Results Is Vital
So far it has been impossible to measure the impact of different addressable TV service providers. It is now virtually impossible to measure one addressable TV inventory over the other, and there is too much of overlapping. Many large inventory providers are also careful about their inventory, and this makes measuring of results by third parties even more difficult and tough.
Even as we read this article, there is no common method for measuring the impact of addressable TV. There have been some weak-hearted efforts such as Project Dovetail, but it is still far from being in a position to address the issues. The onus lies on the industry and other stakeholders to identify and come out with a common currency for auditable, reliable and trustworthy evaluation of addressable TV advertising. Without this being in place, the long-term potential of this form of advertisement may not be able to unleash its full potential.
What Is The Way Forward?
There are many options and avenues that are being thought about and talked about. There are a few who believe in setting up an agreed panel which should encompass the various existing and emerging addressable TV channels. This should happen with collaboration and complementing of the interests of various stakeholders. It is heartening to note that a beginning has already been made and a spirit of co-operation is already visible in the industry. Big players like ITV, Channel, and SKY, are working together. They also have briefed the media together, and this indeed is a good move in the right direction.
However, this is just the beginning, and much more should happen on the ground. The big players should realize that measurement by reliable and trust-worthy third-party auditors is a must so that measurement is done in right earnest and the outcome is transparent and shareable amongst all the stakeholders. Unless the non-linear viewing information and data is not shared the fruits of such collaboration may not be visible to all those who matter.
The Benefits Are Too Obvious To Be Ignored
Whether it is TV operators, broadcasters, advertisers or the consumers, there are some obvious and direct benefits that could come their way. Today way have situations where quite a significant amount of content is being viewed by audiences who believe in cord-cutting. However, their viewing habits and other such useful bits and pieces of information are just getting lost in the way and are not being measured. Unless there is a yardstick of measurement, it would be impossible for the industry to know as to which direction it is going or growing.