The Association of Commercial Television


TV professionals around the world celebrate World Television Day on 21 November to remind us that TV is so much more than linear viewing. As part of the annual United Nations initiative, a 30 second-spot will be broadcast on-air and shared online worldwide.

Diversity of TV content that entertains, informs and inspires.

The topic of the 23rd edition of this global celebration is Diversity. TV offers an unmatched variety of premium films and series, trustworthy news, informative documentaries, entertaining shows and more to viewers around the world – millions of stories, just waiting to be discovered, changing the viewers’ perception of the world. This premium content, available when and where they want on a multitude of TV platforms triggers the curiosity, interest and loyalty of viewers, always in a brand safe environment.

The topic of Diversity is a larger societal topic increasingly featured in TV programmes and advertising campaigns. Through the wide range of content on offer, TV plays a powerful role as a force for good and contributes to a democratic debate in society. The diverse quality content can incite viewers to broaden their mind and look beyond the everyday life through inspirational shows.

“Diversity is a critical component of a positive and vibrant society and should be seen as a richness rather than a threat. Every effort to Leave No One Behind can only contribute to a better world “, asserts Caroline Petit, Deputy Director United Nations Regional Information Centre for Europe (UNRIC).

“TV is truly entrenched in the lives of so many diverse people around the world. With millions of stories at their fingertips, viewers are invited to an endless journey of discovery. This is also the trusted environment advertisers are seeking more than ever. We invite everyone to once again celebrate our medium around the world – now and for many more years to come.” says Katty Roberfroid, Director General, egta.

For more information, please visit


The Global TV Group is an informal grouping of broadcasters’ and sales houses’ trade bodies in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and Latin America, whose joint objective is to promote television and remind advertisers, journalists, agencies and industry peers about the effectiveness and popularity of TV.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s foremost alliance of public service media (PSM). Our mission is to make PSM indispensable. We represent 116 media organizations in 56 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and have an additional 34 Associates in Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Our Members operate nearly 2,000 television and radio channels alongside numerous online platforms. Together, they reach audiences of more than one billion people around the world, broadcasting in more than 160 languages. We strive to secure a sustainable future for public service media, provide our Members with world-class content from news to sports and music, and build on our founding ethos of solidarity and co-operation to create a centre for learning and sharing.

ABOUT egta

egta is the association representing television and radio sales houses, either independent from the channel or in-house, that markets the advertising space of both private and public television and radio stations throughout Europe and beyond. egta fulfils different functions for its members in fields of activities as diversified as regulatory issues, audience measurement, sales methods, interactivity, cross-media, technical standards, new media, etc. During its more than 40 years’ existence, egta has become the reference centre for television and radio advertising in Europe. egta counts more than 150 members operating across 42 countries.


The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) represents the interests of leading commercial broadcasters in 37 European countries. The ACT member companies finance, produce, promote and distribute content and services benefiting millions of Europeans across all platforms. ACT engages with the EU institutions to achieve a balanced and appropriate regulatory framework which will encourage further investment and growth in our sector.


The Brussels-based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Europe – UNRIC – provides information on UN activities to 22 countries and is active on social media and websites in 13 languages. It acts as the European communication office of the United Nations and its aim is to engage and inform European citizens about global issues. It also liaises with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities, joint public information campaigns and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, the creative community, and local authorities.


While return on investment varies depending on the brand and campaign, linear TV and broadcaster video-on-demand show up to three times less variance than other media.

TV is the “least risky” form of advertising, providing the most consistent return on investment when compared to other media channels, according to new research.

The study, conducted by Gain Theory, MediaCom and Wavemaker on behalf of Thinkbox, finds that linear TV advertising and broadcast video-on-demand (BVoD) deliver just 20% of variance compared with the median return (with BVoD performing slightly better than linear TV). This means that the middle 50% of results are within 20% (+/-) of the median ROI.

For online video, the variance is closer to 40% and gets progressively worse through to print, where it is close to 90% (see chart below).

While the research has been commissioned by TV advertising body Thinkbox, it is based on econometric analysis of £1.4bn in media spend by 50 brands across 10 forms of advertising over three years. The aim is to offer brands practical advice if they don’t have access to econometric analysis across six categories – FMCG, finance, retail, online retail, automotive and travel.

The research also finds that TV has the highest ‘multiplier effect’ across other channels, boosting all other channels by at least 20% and the only media platform to do this. For example, TV advertising can boost performance in cinema by up to 54%; print, radio, online display and social media by 31%; and direct mail, online video, video-on-demand and outdoor by up to 22%.

The next highest is print, which can boost cinema advertising by up to 13% but only improves other media by up to 8%. The average multiplier effect across all channels is 8%.

In the short-term, it is search that delivers the highest percentage of media-driven sales at an average of 29% within the first two weeks of a campaign launch. TV comes in second on 23% and print third on 10%.

However, looking longer term, TV performs the best. In the six-to-18 months following a campaign, TV delivers a further 2.4 times increase in sales than it generated in the first two weeks, while print delivers 1.2 times more and search 0.8 times more.

Offering brands practical help

To illustrate what this means for brands looking to find the optimal media mix, Thinkbox is launching a tool it calls ‘demand generator‘.

Marketers can input details of their brand across six variables – category, budget, brand size (in annual revenue), appeal (mass market or niche), percentage of sales that take place online and desire to minimise risk – and the tool then forecasts likely business results in terms of incremental revenue or profit per year, and revenue or profit return on investment.

These variables can have a significant impact on optimal channel choice. For the category variable, FMCG, in general, should invest a much higher proportion in TV (72%) than finance (37%).

Brands with a higher percentage of online sales should invest more in search, BVoD and online video, and less in TV than those with a lower percentage of online sales. Meanwhile, generally speaking the bigger the business the more it should invest in TV, while the more niche it is the more it should invest in digital media.

That means, for example, that if a brand has £50m in revenue, a budget of £2m, operates in online retail with niche appeal, gets more than 75% of its sales online and wants to minimise risk, the tool recommends 36% of budget is spent on search, 31% on TV and 10% on radio. This would lead to incremental revenues of £18m (+/- 21%) and revenue ROI of 9.1 (+/- 21%).

On the other hand, if a brand is mass-market automotive with £3.5bn in revenue, a budget of £20m and making less than 25% of its sales online, it recommends 76% of spend should go into TV, then 7% on radio and 4% on print. This would give incremental revenue of £558m (+/- 16%) and revenue ROI of 27.9 (+/- 16%).

Thinkbox research and planning director Matt Hill says he hopes the tool will offer marketers “something tangible and practical” to help brands find their optimal media mix.

“We hope the demand generator will be a helpful springboard for the many brands that don’t already do econometric analyses of their media performance. They can tailor it to their exact needs to find the best place to start from when deciding their media mix,” he says.

“With marketers increasingly adopting a zero-based budgeting approach, having a tool like this should provide a great evidence-based foundation on which to build their decisions.”



In a highly fragmented media world, where the consumer is at the cutting edge of media consumption, media measurement and attribution can be a moving target. How does the industry keep up? Several industry experts deconstructed this dilemma at the Data Conference, part of New York City Television Week.

What Is the Solution?

In searching for the solution to cross-platform media measurement, the panel essentially described the problems in even reaching a solution. Paul LeFort, a senior vice president at Nielsen, noted, “No one solution will work in the long-term.” But he believes that comparable metrics matter. “The interesting push in the past few months is the impressions-based approach,” he stated. “Impressions remove friction in the process. If we only use ratings, then we lose portions of our audience.”

For Radha Subramanyam, chief research and analytics officer at CBS, a hybrid approach is the best way to go, with “a combination of panel and other data.” But, she noted, there is still the issue of walled gardens. “What do you do with all of that data that sits outside?” she asked. “We need a holistic view because the market doesn’t care about walls or silos of data. Advertisers want the full picture.”

The barrier to a holistic solution is a not technical one, Subramanyam added. “It is will or leadership. We need to think bigger and have more cooperation. We need a fluid ecosystem. The tech [is] easy but getting it done [is] not.”

What About Panels?

Frank Comerford, president of NBC Local Media Commercial Operations, and chief revenue officer and president, commercial operations, for NBCU Local Media, listed a range of challenges. “Is a small panel accurately reflecting the audience we have?” he asked. “Is a big data set reflecting our audience?” Comerford explained that if viewers aren’t in the right places in the data set, it will produce the wrong information. In addition, he said, “with a big data sample, there are walled gardens that are marking their own homework.”

Panels have both advantages and shortcomings. “Panels provide a fundamental source of truth,” Subramanyam noted. “[A panel] allows customers and clients to understand the households from which it is derived. It is also a source of diversity measurement and ensures an exact or accurate representation of those audiences. I believe in the fundamental need of [panels] to give us those things. But we also need the scale and stability of big data sets.”

“Panels can’t strive for behavioral, but can strive for the demographic,” Comerford added.

Who Leads the Charge?

When it comes to deciding the most effective measurement and metric, who has the last word?

Nielsen’s LeFort believes that it is, ultimately, up to the advertiser — “if the advertiser is happy about what they have spent to get their results.” The good news, he explained, is “TV and digital are not as far apart as we pretend it is.”  They are complementary. “It is not TV versus digital.”

Subramanyam concurred, “We are here to service the marketer and we need a healthy, transparent market. There are lots of initiatives at work and a combination of them will lead to a new standard.” But, she added, “consensus in standardization across media is essential. And people have to get comfortable in getting their data out there.”

Experimentation Is Essential

Measurement solutions should be a part of tracking attribution and there is a lot of experimentation going on in this area. “[At CBS,] we start by experimenting on ourselves and then offer the solutions to our marketers,” Subramanyam noted. “Attribution, specifically in digital, is still in the early stages. It tends to be versions of last click. But there are lots of experiments.”

For NBC’s Comerford, the local markets try a range of different attribution experiments with a “small sample on the buy in the local market. We track and see. We can prove that an ad that runs on TV is effective and multiplies the effect of local advertising. The last click did not necessarily get the sale, but it might be the execution of the sale. We have to see what led to that.”

The overall consensus is that the industry is now working together to find solutions. “The good news is that we are all talking,” Subramanyam said. All this results in greater cooperation and a “robust and positive discussion.”



Advertisers — and NBC Universal parent Comcast — will no doubt rejoice.

After testing shoppable ads starting back in May, in linear programming including “Today” (Walmart), the French Open (Lacoste), the Tour de France (Zwift) and “Songland” (Roli), NBCU is rolling out the QSR-driven format across its lifestyle and unscripted programming.

The ShoppableTV technology, created with an undisclosed tech company, looks simple because it’s so simple for the viewer to use. But this live capability is a major leap beyond previous TV/ecommerce methods like adding shoppable links in video.

When a QSR code pops up on the screen during what NBCU has dubbed “on-air shoppable moments,” viewers need only point their smartphone cameras at the code. They are then connected via a link to the sponsor’s ecommerce site to make the purchase.

Sometimes the show’s host plugs the “shoppable moment” and explains how to buy the product using the code; in other cases, it’s just an alert on the screen.

NBCU had earlier reported that its “Today” test of the ads (shown above) inspired 50,000 viewers to link to a “Steals and Deals” site featured on the show and generated six figures in sales. Now it’s reporting that, having reached tens of millions of viewers with the shoppable ads, it’s seeing an average conversion rate that is nearly 30% above the general industry ecommerce rate. The ads are also said to be driving 10% growth on social media.

Back in May, Josh Feldman, EVP, head of marketing and advertising creative, declared that NBCU is “moving fully away from GRP selling to providing business outcomes” with ShoppableTV. “By pairing brands with our premium content, owning every stage of the purchase funnel and removing the barriers consumers traditionally encounter between seeing a product and making a purchase, we’re giving marketers a direct sales channel to millions of viewers across the country.”

Indeed, as Feldman pointed out, this is providing advertisers not only with “branded integrations,” but now with a real-time direct-sales method in the context of audience-measured, linear programming that “people have an emotional attachment to” is “a different business model.”

“We will own every point in the purchase funnel,” Feldman added. “We’ve had a ton of research showing TV has a huge impact on the bottom of the funnel. This will allow us to prove that out in real-time.”

It’s no news that advertisers are increasingly demanding attribution and hard, measurable results — and on that score, you certainly can’t beat direct sales.

And viewers?

Obviously, lots of people are addicted to TV shopping channels, lots of national, ecommerce-based brands (not just steak knives) are now finding it cost-effective to use TV ads as part of their marketing mix, and lots of people already opt to respond to ads in YouTube and other platforms’ videos.

Nor are live, shoppable TV ads entirely new.

For example, Hulu, working with Brightline, began offering live shoppable ad units, including dynamic ad insertion during the available two minutes of ad time in cable networks, a couple of years ago. Personalized, location-based overlays enable buying tickets for local movie theaters, or ordering from a restaurant or retailer, through connected TVs, Multichannel News reported in 2017.

But isn’t there potential for alienating at least some viewers by interrupting the traditional mass, linear TV experience with QSR codes and alerts urging them to grab their phones and buy something? Will none of the rabid fans watching “Sunday Night Football” or talk shows find it annoying, if not objectionable, to have this form of advertising added to the load of standard ads in their programs?

Speaking to TechCrunch about the ShoppableTV rollout, Feldman and NBCU VP strategy and operations Collette Winn assured that the ads will be limited to just one brand per program (for now), and argued that the ads actually improve the viewer experience.

“You’re not searching for the item…what you’re seeing is what you’re able to buy,” Winn asserted. “It’s not in your face. It’s brought in really seamlessly.”

As you might already have guessed, given the earlier mention of shoppable ads on Hulu and NBCU’s coming Peacock streaming service — which will have an ad-supported tier, and is rumored to be considering carrying linear channels at some point — the NBCU execs confirmed that they’re already “experimenting” with how shoppable ads might be used on other devices, including connected TVs. On CTV, the ads “might incorporate more interactions with the remote,” notes TechCrunch.

My guess? Shoppable ads in linear will thrill shopaholics; be noticed initially and then accepted, reluctantly, as part of the price of “free” TV by others; and drive some to pay for options (or more options) that allow them to avoid the growing number of ads and ad formats on traditional linear.

But hey — when it comes to even that last category of viewers, pushing more consumers to subscribe to ad-free subscriber-supported streaming services that the company may also own is also a win, right?



Television and radio broadcasters are planning collaboration on intersecting topics.

There will be a structural change in the Association of Independent Radio and Television Stations (ANRTS) at the beginning of 2020. While television and radio stations are planning to continue collaborating on all relevant media topics, in the future there will be various formal institutions representing both types of media. Commercial television stations decided to establish an independent Association of Television Broadcasters, whose founding members include Markíza-Slovakia, s.r.o., Mac TV, s.r.o. a C.E.N., s.r.o., similar to the Association of Commercial Television (AKTV) in the Czech Republic.

The departure of television broadcast operators from ANRTS occurred by mutual agreement and with the understanding that these media types – television and radio – need to focus on their own development and legislature. Both audiovisual media groups, however, remain in close contact and will support each other in their mutual interests within the scope of media sphere.

The Association of television broadcasters intends to focus upon the legislation of television broadcasting, copyrights, and the formation of a Slovak television market so that these processes are in compliance with European audiovisual legislature. Additionally, it will promote a correct market environment in Slovakia and free economic competition. One of the Association’s key goals remains protection of free speech and free spread of information via television broadcasting. The Association is also planning a close coordination with its Czech partners.

“The Association of Television Broadcasters has a lot of work ahead, but also visions which will guide us to a future meaningful development of television broadcasting. Today nobody doubts that television as a medium is changing and provides many options to choose from. To be able to do that it needs not only energy and investments but, most of all, good legislature and a transparent space to implement its plans,” said Marcel Grega, JOJ Group’s CEO and President of ANRTS.

“Private radio will continue in protecting its interests via the existing Association and we are ready to continue mutual constructive collaboration in the areas that connect us and in which we see mutual interest,” said Ivan Antala, CEO of Radio Express and Vice-President of ANRTS’s Radio section.



The association of TV and radio sales houses egta has launched a “progressive TV Charter on television companies’ commitment towards the responsible and transparent measurement of advertising in the TV/video ecosystem.”

Launched with support by The Global TV Group, the charter has been signed by most of egta’s 155 member sales houses in over 42 countries, along with trade bodies such as Screenforce, Thinkboc, ThinkTV and the VAB.

As revealed to Digital TV Europe by an egta spokesperson, senior executives at egta member companies who have endorsed the charter include: Jan Isenbart, chief research officer at ARD Werbung AS&S; Jamie West, deputy managing director at Sky Media UK and group director of advanced advertising at Sky; Stéphane Coruble, managing director at RTL AdConnect (RTL Group); Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP, chief research officer, Viacom Media Networks; Jean Mongeau, general manager and chief revenue officer Media Solutions at CBC/ Radio-Canada; Guido Modenbach, managing director market intelligence at SevenOne Media; and Kavita Vazirani, EVP, insights and measurement at NBCUniversal.

A release from egta says that the charter “aims to raise the bar with regards to measurability, transparency of data and accountability and defines first-time measurement standards for the entire TV industry,” adding that it serves to remind advertisers that they must meet the brand safety demands as outlined in the Global Media Charter, published by the World Federation of Advertisers in 2018.

Malin Häger, President of egta and sales manager and chief commercial officer at TV4 Sales said: “In a fast-evolving media landscape characterised by changing viewing behaviour across screens and platforms, audience measurement too must evolve. As a growing amount of companies develop proprietary solutions in an attempt to solve part of the equation, it seems increasingly clear that the adoption of common industry guidelines is a much better option and that setting standards for viewability, transparency, accountability and data comparability is imperative to creating a level playing field.”

Jamie West, deputy managing director at Sky Media UK and group director of advanced advertising at Sky said: “To compete in this era of transformation and increasing digital competition, TV must evolve and adapt to the challenges of a multiscreen and cross-platform environment and in doing so, set the bar high when it comes to the measurability, transparency and accountability that marketers demand and deserve. If TV – with the premium content and brand-safe environment it provides – is to continue to deserve the recognition and loyalty of advertisers and marketers, it is vital that all players across Europe and across the globe adopt common principles. I support this TV Charter as it establishes simple standards that allow for comparability on a global level and creates a foundation for our industry to move forward together.”



We’re in the midst of the streaming wars, as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and a host of smaller players like Tubi, Fubo and CBS All Access fight to win new streaming video subscribers.

The battle is escalating, with new entrants from Disney (Disney+), AT&T’s WarnerMedia (HBOMax), Apple (TV+) and Comcast/NBCUniversal (Peacock).

All of them want lots of sign-ups, and they want them fast. Their products are coming to market priced to sell, aiming to separate viewers from their legacy pay TV packages. Collectively, these companies are spending tens of billions of dollars a year on original shows and movies.

If they are successful, it would be bad for the television industry, right? And for TV advertising in particular, since less viewership means fewer eyeballs to sell?

Paradoxically, I don’t think it will be bad at all. In fact, it’s quite likely the streaming wars will end up benefiting the TV ad business. Here’s why:

Little or no ad load from new streaming subs. Netflix, Prime and a chunk of Hulu don’t have ads. Neither will Disney+, HBOMax and Apple’s streaming products. Since lack of ads will be a real selling point in all of these services, we’re not likely to see ad loads in these services any time soon. 

Taking viewers out of TV and moving them into ad-free streaming services means the legacy TV ad load only becomes more important and valuable because it is still the only way to reach remaining viewers at any kind of scale.

Much of America can’t access streaming services. It’s critical for folks to understand that 35% of America don’t have fixed broadband at home (according to Pew Research) and 20% of those who do have suboptimal speeds for watching HD programming (Microsoft).

Unlimited content, fixed wallets. Streaming services are a luxury. The number of folks who have the discretionary income to buy them isn’t unlimited. 40 million Americans participated in the food stamps program last year.
Over-the-air TV is free to all. Low-cost bundles from cable or satellite are in many lower-income homes, where people watch lots of ad-supported TV. While those folks don’t buy as much as wealthier populations, they do spend a lot on food, cars, phones, insurance, gasoline, etc.

95% of the premium video ad load is on linear TV, 5% on OTT. When you look at where viewers watch premium video advertising, linear TV represents the vast majority of impressions. First, because it reaches so many people: 300 million in the US, for an average of four hours per day.Second, because linear TV shows so many ads — 16-18 minutes of ads per hour — while OTT services show either none, or little: typically two to six minutes per hour.

Since the bulk of the services coming out don’t have much ad support, OTT streaming services won’t add much relative ad load to replace what iinear TV will lose due to audience erosion.

In the world of TV, less means more. As everyone in  TV advertising — or in the world of any other scarce, valuable, supply-constrained commodities — knows, less of it means higher prices for what is there.

As we have seen over the past few years, declining ratings for top TV shows have been offset by higher prices on a cost-per-thousand basis for spots on those shows. That’s  how the market operates.

Thus, linear TV viewership losses to streaming services that aren’t accompanied by comparable ad load growth by those services means TV ad dollars will largely stay on TV, and will be priced higher. A bit paradoxical, for sure — but the likely reality, just as sure.

Best place to find people who like to watch TV is on TV. Finally, TV advertising will benefit because billions of dollars will be spent by streaming services to find people to subscribe to their services. No media channel is better for that than TV. They will get most of those billions. Simple as that.

So, will the streaming wars be good for TV advertising? What do you think?



As viewers, you probably agree that we’ve never had more options when deciding what content to watch, which device to watch it on, or how to access it. Consumers are living in a golden age of television, no matter how TV is now defined.

The flipside for all of us working in the industry is that this New TV landscape has massively increased the complexity for both advertisers and media companies. Enabling brand marketers to plan and execute a single buy to reach their target audience, across all screens, with proof of performance, in a consistent and scalable manner is simple in concept, but highly complex in reality.

Behind the scenes, the industry is grappling with a combination of technical, operational, business model, and measurement challenges that are only becoming more acute as convergence accelerates between linear TV and digital video on one axis and direct-sold and programmatic on the other. Navigating this convergence successfully means combining the best attributes of linear television (reach, quality, transparency, and engagement) with the best of digital (data, addressability, attribution, and ease of buying) — and, by doing so, realize new value for the industry.

For media companies, the path forward isn’t easy. It means pivoting to new business models while, in parallel, maximizing the value of the core legacy business. And, simultaneously, it means navigating the challenges of convergence not just within a company’s own walls, but also in collaboration with peers and traditional competitors across the industry. If brand marketers can execute in a consistent way with the major tech platforms, the expectation is that they should be able to do the same across television. However hard the path forward, the vision of “television as a platform” should be viewed as a strategic imperative if the industry is going to successfully grow share relative to those looking to disrupt it.

Although we’re still in the early stages of what will be a multiyear transformation, the good news is the industry is making progress. From FreeWheel’s vantage point, this progress is centered on addressing three core pillars that set the foundation for brand marketers looking for quality scale, sophisticated campaign targeting, and simplicity of execution:

  • Scale: When watching content, viewers move between screens and distribution platforms as they see fit; these details don’t matter to them. But this viewing fragmentation has led to inventory fragmentation and, as a result, increased complexity in the ability to aggregate quality scale. To help combat this, we must make holistic management of digital video, set-top-box video on demand (STB VOD), and linear television seamless. This means the ability to plan, deliver, optimize, and report consistently and efficiently across a single pool of inventory. Although this will be a multiyear journey, milestones are being achieved each day. FreeWheel, for instance, is helping to build the connective tissue between linear and digital systems, which includes the foundational work we are doing with NBCUniversal and others to unify ad buying and start to deliver on the vision of marrying the best of digital and linear.
  • Sophistication: The application of data to plan, optimize, and report on campaigns is enabling the industry to offer solutions at each stage of the consumer purchase funnel, versus television’s traditional role at the top of the funnel. Buyers are increasingly able to partner with media companies down the funnel — from executing against broad demo-based segments to audience-based segments and, increasingly, to addressable audiences at the household level. As an example, on the linear TV front, programmers are leveraging MVPD set-top-box data for more intelligent audience-based planning, optimization, and attribution reporting.

Moreover, initiatives such as On Addressability are helping to bring household-level addressability to linear TV, as well as drive collaboration with partners across the industry that recognize the need for consistency of standards and operating protocols necessary to enable scale. In a similar vein of collaboration, OpenAP is improving the simplicity and scale of audience executions across both linear and digital video for major programmers, including Fox Viacom , and NBCU.

  • Simplicity: Solving for the challenges associated with inventory fragmentation and enabling sophisticated, audience-based executions set a solid foundation. In parallel, however, we need to simplify the ability to buy and sell at scale. This means everything from creating more direct connections between core supply-side and demand-side advertising software, both linear and digital, to improving workflow automation and the use of software to make it easier for new advertisers — for example, direct-to-consumer brands — to reach their audience on television.

Initiatives such as the enhancements within the Strata platform — announced earlier this year to bring additional automation to local TV advertisers and broadcasters — and Comcast Spotlight’s launch of a self-serve platform for local advertisers are good examples within our company of progress on this front. If buying and selling across screens is hard, buyers will default to where it’s easier. The digital platform companies have excelled here; TV must do the same.

Advancements in solving for the three pillars of scale, sophistication, and simplicity are helping to chart a course toward the full convergence of TV and digital video. But solving for the other convergent path — that of direct and programmatically sold inventory — is essential to removing another source of friction: the technology and workflow silos that exist between sales channels.

Our sell-side clients recognize the opportunity to maximize yield by enabling their direct-sold business to compete with demand, executed through programmatic pipes, all while ensuring the necessary controls, transparency, and television-level compliance. This means unifying decisioning between direct-sold and programmatic natively in the ad server, solving not only for digital video executions, but also setting the technology foundation for linear in the future. We are already seeing positive results on unified ad management, including our work with A&E , among other pilot clients, and remain focused on programmatic solutions that solve for the unique nature of premium video.

Our mission since day one has been enabling unified advertising management across all screens and all sales channels. It’s still our mission today. As an industry, we are collectively solving hard problems that have not existed before. While we sit at a crossroads, we have a genuine opportunity to create a healthy, balanced video ecosystem that benefits all constituents.

The path ahead is not easy, but we need to keep moving forward. We need to focus on rapid, iterative progress — versus perfection — and deeper industry collaboration, making the platform of television scaled, sophisticated, and simple to buy.



Media buying has traditionally been about blending ingredients together for the perfect marketing mix. But with so many new channels and such fragmented audiences, this age-old recipe is rapidly becoming more difficult to follow. So, what’s to be done?

 The age of total video

TV is complicated these days. In just one household, a family could be watching live TV, streaming, watching downloads and checking out highlights online – all at the same time. They might be using a second screen to chat with friends, play games or send emails too. And of course, this might all be happening on different devices, inside the house and on the go.

TV is evolving with the times and people are watching in myriad ways. It’s digital, it’s on every device – and it’s not held back by a schedule. The rise in online and on-demand video has been stratospheric across Europe: a 2019 report from the European Commission shows four in 10 have a TV and/or film subscription. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, revenues from Pay TV and paid VOD (video on demand) rose by 14% to around €4bn in 2018. This is forecast to grow another 13% this year to €4.5bn. Meanwhile, 42% of Internet users in France watch online video content every day, with this rising to 53% in Spain.

This is the age of total video.

Young people love ‘TV’

The reality is that TV is evolving and should be seen as total video. The lines are blurring when you define what it is, from traditional linear broadcast TV, live streaming or VoD. It doesn’t matter what you call it, TV can now be any kind of video content.

The European Commission’s report finds that an enormous 86% of Internet users aged 15–24 say they have streamed or downloaded film and TV content in the last year, alongside 72% of those aged 25–39. As these young people grow up, marketers will need to focus on them as they become the key demographic with purchasing power.

In the UK, OTT services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV are increasingly popular, with the new Disney+ slated to be available from November 2019, which will only add to the competitiveness (and the revenues) of this marketplace. There is a clear shift from viewing video content on actual TV sets to watching it on multiple platforms and devices.

We consumers live in the golden age of television. But for marketers, it can be overwhelming. An increasingly fragmented video landscape and novel watching behaviours across devices are prompting marketers to endlessly (and exhaustingly) question and reevaluate their media spend.

Europe leads the way on innovation

The main thing to remember, however, is that it’s a golden age of video for marketers, too.

Of course, with cross-device viewing behaviours, video campaigns must be cross-device too. This requires meticulous planning and a profound understanding of viewing behaviours. But there has never been more insight into viewing patterns which can be used to plan and design campaigns, from the creatives to the messaging. With algorithms to tailor content for consumers, marketers also get a look in at individual preferences and can use this to personalise and deliver the best brand experiences they can.

The market is still adapting to this new total video cross-device reality. Measurement is moving forward in order to cater for all four screens (TV, desktop, smartphone, tablet), but we are still far from having an ideal unified currency to measure all formats.

A simple solution to a multifaceted problem

To solve the headache of cross-device campaigns, marketers should have one unique source to plan, buy and optimise campaigns across all channels, allowing them to deliver what consumers want in a more effective and simple manner. That way, businesses are uniquely positioned to benefit from the era of total video, from new ways of buying and selling video inventory internationally, and from new TV formats which allow them to truly connect with consumers and compete with tech giants. That means less time planning and buying across markets, less spend on creating a different campaign for each market, and therefore more time and money for optimising and tailoring campaigns.

This is what EBX (European Broadcaster Exchange) is doing: addressing the demand for quality online video campaigns at scale, by providing an automated and data-driven way to plan, buy and sell inventory across Europe. It is the biggest European broadcaster exchange, the result of a joint venture founded by Mediaset (Italy and Spain), ProSiebenSat.1 Media (Germany), TF1 Group (France) and Channel 4 (United Kingdom), which together are working to simplify the world of premium video.

TV is increasingly cross-border with new ways of watching appearing every day – each of which represents a new way for brands to connect with new customers. But the digitisation and fragmentation of the media landscape doesn’t have to be a headache. Marketers just need a new recipe book to ensure they are getting the most out of the golden age of TV, just like their customers are. The key ingredients are an understanding of the shifts in consumer trends and all-purpose tools to reach target audiences segments effectively, no matter when, where or how they are getting their telly.



Television executives have long maintained that every viewer counts. Never have they taken such a flurry of steps to make sure they can count every viewer.

With audiences becoming consumers of video that streams from a panoply of screens, maneuvers to measure them are becoming commonplace. In recent weeks, local TV stations have declared they intend to stop using traditional ratings to account for viewership of their programming, vowing instead to rely on total viewer impressions, which count all ways a show is consumed, linear or otherwise. Indeed, both NBCUniversal and Hearst have announced that their stations have already made the change, with other groups intending to follow suit between now and 2020. Meanwhile, national TV expects to introduce “out-of-home” audiences —
people who watch TV in bars, offices, hotels and the like — into ratings next season.

“Some of our views are here, and some are over here, and some are here,” says Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer and president
of commercial operations for NBCU’s owned- and-operated TV stations, referring to the different ways audiences can watch programs. “For us to really reflect that accurately, we need to count all of those different things.”

Simply put, the systems in place to calibrate couch-potato activity no longer meet the demands of the marketplace, says Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer of Omnicom Media Group, one of the largest buyers of advertising time. “We are piloting interplanetary travel with a tachometer and a speedometer and a steering wheel that only moves 30 degrees in either direction, which isn’t really helpful,” he says.

Television viewership for decades has been determined by Nielsen, which can tell advertisers how many people are watching linearly, and then break that large mass into smaller chunks based on age, gender and other qualifying attributes. In an era when video audiences are migrating to new kinds of consumption of everything from segments on CNN to “This Is Us,” however, the group of people who crowd in front of a big living-room screen has started to dwindle, and the digital sessions sprouting in their place are more difficult to track. That’s prompting networks, stations, media buyers and technology firms to ramp up efforts to provide new kinds of counting metrics.

TV has long offered Madison Avenue the biggest audiences possible — and it still does. Fox, which will broadcast Super Bowl LIV in February, is seeking $5.5 million for a package of inventory tied to the game, a gargantuan price tag. But there’s a growing sense that smaller pockets of viewers can have value as well, if media outlets can carve them out properly.

In these days of multiple screens, some local TV programs don’t generate the audience size that would guarantee a ratings point. And yet, as advertisers use “programmatic” technology and brews of data to find clusters of first-time car buyers, likely moviegoers and expectant mothers, size may matter less — as long as advertisers can put their commercials in front of clusters of viewers more likely to be interested in their pitch.

As for counting out-of-home viewership, the added injection may not pump national ratings back to previous heights, but TV executives expect it to augment daytime and sports programming significantly. Already, Nielsen has estimated that sports programs get approximately 11% of their total audience on average from out-of-home viewing, while 7% of the audiences for news comes from out-of-home venues.

Advertisers will no doubt push back. Is someone who’s watching a TV show in a doctor’s office or perusing the news with the sound off in a restaurant as valuable as someone watching the same program in more traditional fashion? In some cases, TV networks in this year’s upfront market offered more favorable pricing terms to agencies that accepted some out-of-home measures.

To be sure, changes won’t happen with a snap of the fingers. Aside from financial haggling, there are also matters of logistics. Many advertisers — and media buyers — need to rework systems designed to facilitate ad purchases. “The tools have to be built. You have to find money and motivation and software providers to help make that change,” says Omnicom’s Steuer. “You need a couple of dominoes to fall, and you need everybody to say they want it, and then there’s a time lag between when you say you wanted it and when it’s done at your company.” 


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