What Is ‘Advanced TV’ and Why Does It Matter?
By Sahil Patel
When it comes to “online video” — or, at least, the “premium online video” that outlets such as VideoInk cover — we are largely talking about multiple types of content. For instance, there is original, made-for-web content as well as existing film and TV content distributed through digital platforms. Many in the industry view and approach each type differently. Including advertisers.
In an effort to provide more insight into the latter category, the IAB has released a new “primer” on what it and others refer to as “Advanced TV” — the ecosystem developing around the new forms for distribution and monetization for TV content and video advertising.
The full primer can be accessed here. It provides an overview of what “Advanced TV” is, relevant consumption trends, who the major players are in driving the ecosystem forward, and of course, opportunities and challenges ahead as “Advanced TV” continues on its path to becoming just regular “TV.”
But before you pore over the primer, here’s Anna Bager, SVP of mobile and video and GM of the Digital Video and Mobile
Marketing Centers of Excellence for the IAB, to chat more about “Advanced TV,” both as a term and a trend for those in media, entertainment, and marketing.
Why is it important for the IAB to establish this new term, “Advanced TV”? Do advertisers still see TV content as TV, even if it’s not delivered in the traditional way?
The IAB didn’t invent the term Advanced TV. Rather, we are hoping to define this existing term more clearly — to dispel some of the mystery around it and to establish a common vocabulary the industry can use. And, to better understand how advertisers actually see this emerging space — the IAB already has begun a comprehensive study of buyers’ and brands’ perceptions of Advanced TV.
Why is it important for the advertisers to differentiate between traditional TV and TV content delivered through digital means?
First, let’s be clear that “Advanced TV” is not the same thing as TV “delivered digitally.” There actually are linear TV distribution systems that now feature advanced TV advertising capabilities. Advanced TV can mean addressable TV, for example, without having to be digital. And we differentiate between traditional TV, Advanced TV — and digital video, too — because the buying process remains different for the time being. For a buyer who has purchased either traditional linear TV or traditionally pure digital video in the past now to take advantage of the Advanced TV space, there is a learning curve that those buyers need to cover. This primer is intended to be a good first step along those learning curves.
If Advanced TV will soon just be TV, will digital video (which can include original content and Advanced TV) eventually be video? Or will advertisers continue to see those two types of content as separate?
Our intent with this primer was to outline and define the Advanced TV space as it currently stands. That said, we do see all
TV and video content — all sight-sound-and-motion — converging in the long term. Audiences don’t really see such distinctions. Moreover, no one could claim that the TV-like content being distributed now via Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and many others isn’t premium. They have the Emmy and Golden Globes nods to show for it! And, this year’s Upfronts and NewFronts demonstrated how the lines between TV, digital, Advanced TV, “premium content,” and video have begun to blur.
What are some key challenges that need to be addressed if more and more advertisers are going to buy media across Advanced TV content?
A big hurdle is education, which is why we published this primer. In order to increase investment in the Advanced TV space, traditional “digital” buyers need to understand TV, and traditional TV buyers need to learn more about targeting, interactivity, engagement, and other features that largely have been the domain of interactive or digital advertising until now. Another obstacle to investment is a lack of full interoperability. For traditional TV buyers to embrace this space, the media buying and asset delivery processes must become as seamless and easy as in linear TV. Each publisher or distributor cannot maintain separate format requirements and place the onus upon buyers to navigate all that. This is an area where the industry needs to simplify and coordinate.
The primer highlights auto brands, entertainment brands, and CPG brands as
being further ahead with Advanced TV. What are some other types of advertisers you see growing their Advanced TV budgets in the near future? What are some that you think will take a bit longer?
Financial Services is another category we see embracing the rich media, interactivity, and data returns of Advanced TV. But there isn’t any particular advertising category that couldn’t ultimately take full advantage of Advanced TV. The rewards of sight-sound-and-motion in advertising are universally applicable, as are the enhanced benefits of Advanced TV platforms that advertisers can layer on top of that.
At one point, you say the market for Advanced TV is currently 40+ million households? How fast do you think that number will grow to encompass pretty much every TV household in the country?
Clearly that is the logical conclusion of current trends, although we do not have the predictive data yet to say how fast near-universal adoption will take place. If you consider that the average US household now replaces their TV every 5–7 years, then that should give you some sense of the timeframe. If you include smartphones and tablets as devices capable of streaming TV content and advertising to users, then we’re almost there now. In another IAB publication out today, the IAB Global Mobile Video Study, we find that audiences worldwide regularly are watching premium long-form content on their phones, especially in countries like China where viewers are routinely watching TV shows and even full movies on their phones. So the technology and audiences are already in place for widespread Advanced TV advertising — and ready for advertisers to take full advantage of it.