TV and Video Outlook: Q&A with AT&T AdWorks’ Maria Mandel Dunsche

We recently released our ‘2017 North American TV and Video Outlook’ featuring interviews with technology and agency leaders from the advertising industry.  Below’s excerpt from the report features a Q&A with Maria Mandel Dunsche, VP and Head of Marketing at AT&T AdWorks.

“Programmatic video is seeing a rapid increase in spend as the number of users watching digital video grows.” - Maria Mandel Dunsche

Read Maria’s full Q&A below and download our full report here.

  • How would you describe the state of the video market in 2016? What do you expect to see happen in 2017?
    Programmatic video is seeing a rapid increase in spend as the number of users watching digital video grows.  We expect that trend to continue. Ensuring quality and premium video content availability are key issues right now. This is especially true given the huge buy side demand not currently being met with supply. Add to that the fact that a lot of that supply is user generated content, which is often not what the buy side wants, and you get a real challenge. 
  • How has AT&T AdWorks approached the changing data landscape?
    In thinking about technology, we see the real value of ‘programmatic’ as bringing automation and data together. Our focus is on using our own proprietary data to drive results for our clients. Increasingly, we’re also matching our data with key third-party sources, such as the advertiser’s own data. All of this goes towards the ultimate goal of reaching their target audiences, within the limits of Safe Harbor and privacy compliance.
  • What about cross-device strategy? 
    For us, cross-device means TV plus display and mobile, but it’s complicated by the fact that digital video is still a very different market to TV. Essentially, programmatic doesn’t yet exist in TV the same way it does in digital video. That is starting to change, with offerings like our own with Videology. And we believe that as more people get on board with data-driven TV buying, the whole landscape will start to change very rapidly. Mobile is an interesting one, most of all because mobile video usage is higher than current ad spend in mobile video. This could be a huge opportunity over the next few years.
  • How about the advances in TV? 
    TV is still a very different world, where there really is still no end-to-end programmatic solution that offers automation across planning, buying, and trading. That said, our VIP platform with Videology does automate the planning process through a programmatic portal, all in a transparent private marketplace environment. It’s a huge step towards filling that gap and something I think we’ll see much more of in 2017.
  • What are the most notable changes you’ve seen in how brands think about and plan their TV and digital budgets?
    Advertisers favor TV because of “sight, sound and motion.” This trifecta brings unparalleled consumer engagement. But, in comparison to digital, it doesn’t offer the same granularity of targeting and therefore doesn’t offer the same perceived efficiency. But now, with the advent of advanced TV solutions, advertisers can effectively have their cake and eat it too. TV can become as targeted as digital with addressability for reaching the right audience then delivering a campaign down to the specific household. As this becomes standard, I expect planning will develop to where we employ these techniques on a wider scale, cross-platform. A lot still has to be sorted out, not least of which is standardizing how we target, measure and attribute. It’s easier said than done of course, but this is the future that we’re working towards, probably for at least the next 5 years.
  • How are brands succeeding in this new world of fragmentation and multi-screen, anytime, anywhere viewing?
    There’s lots of talk about TV viewership dropping right now. But taking into account cross-device video viewership, especially on mobile, content consumption is increasing. There is a big opportunity. As consumers migrate to different devices for consuming content, we have to meet them where they are. We recently launched an OTT solution, DirecTV Now, for this very reason. This will be a key trend moving forward.
  • Some marketers have adopted the stance that all video, regardless of screen size and context of delivery, is equal. It is merely sight sound and motion and its ability to inspire audiences doesn’t depend on the environment it is delivered in. What is your stance on this?
    We feel environment absolutely matters. And we have the evidence from our own services to support this. We have one of the largest interactive TV platforms in the market, but ultimately it is still traditional TV, i.e. a “lean back” content consumption experience. With that, we found the need to limit and balance the level of interactivity with speed and ease of use. Mobile is looking more and more like the medium to shift interactivity to. Mobile is location sensitive – and incorporating that into marketing can make it a lot more compelling. We’re currently seeing lots of cross-platform campaigns where TV delivers the branding part of the campaign, with follow up on mobile, driving a call to action. Whether that’s about visiting the nearest retailer, car dealership, or delivering a coupon, combining the two together can be especially effective.
  • What about mobile strategy?
    The biggest value we’ve found is definitely in mobile video – and it’s where we see most growth and value: the combination of “sight, sound and motion,” authenticated users, the ability to create interactivity and engagement, plus location – all of this combined has tremendous promise. It’s both a very personal medium, and one that is potentially very targeted.

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