Last week, Videology held a breakfast panel in Toronto to answer the question—Connected TV: Best of Both Worlds, or Caught in the Middle?” The answer suggested a bit of both. While Connected TV offers the big screen engagement of TV, with a degree of addressability akin to digital, panelists agreed that there are still some advertising challenges to overcome. As the industry works to overcome these hurdles, however, panelists said that there is still value in the current Connected TV capabilities, and suggested that media companies and advertisers should work together in an iterative approach that will benefit both.
Two of the biggest challenges cited include scale and measurement. In terms of scale, it was suggested that because of Canada’s population size, the ability to target precise audience segments was still somewhat limited, as Connected TV usage was still growing. This evokes the chicken and egg scenario—as media companies release more content to Connected TV, audiences will grow; and as audiences grow, media companies will release more content to Connected TV channels.
The ability to measure audiences consistently across linear TV, connected TV and digital channels was also mentioned as a challenge. While digital ratings are available in the market, panelists cited their expense as a potential barrier. An efficient, effective measurement option that united viewing channels seems the linchpin to accelerating market growth of connected TV, and ushering in more targeted, holistic video advertising strategies in general.
The panelists also discussed whether the future path of Connected TV would allow for more advertising-supported content, as much of the viewing is now subscription-based. Most agreed that ad-supported content would prevail, at least in part. For one thing, with the sheer amount of content now available, consumers will have a breaking point in terms of what they are willing to pay for. Also, it’s likely that subscription models alone will not be sustainable to support the amount of high quality programming demanded. Already, there are signs that some subscription services, including Amazon, are considering an ad-supported version of their streaming service.
According to Stuart Garvie, CEO GroupM Canada, who also spoke at the Videology event, future content
on Connected TV will likely pull from what has made traditional TV so successful—telling good stories.
In this regard, he said that long-form tends to be best suited to storytelling, and stressed the need for premium content. “All TV is video, but not all video is TV,” Garvie added.
Looking ahead to advanced TV in 2018, Garvie said that what he would like to see is more willingness to experiment. He explained that media companies need to see value in launching new advertising initiatives, which requires a partnership between media buyers and sellers so both can succeed. “In 2018, I would like to see more advertisers trying new things. When a broadcaster makes baby steps on the path to advanced TV, let’s try it out.”