Quality still wins in the new TV advertising landscape


The success of TV advertising has always been built on quality and premium experiences. The complexity of the rapidly digitizing marketplace may have drowned out some quality-centric conversations in recent years, but that has never changed that fundamental truth. Now those conversations are more important than ever.

After years of divergence and fragmentation in the TV space – across streaming, over-the-top, connected TV, etc. – we’ve reached a significant inflection point when it comes to the kinds of conversations that are happening on the media buying front. While TV shopping remains multifaceted and nuanced, many of the familiar dichotomies within the space – between linear and digital, between branding and addressability – fall. Instead, we see conversations converge around one factor: quality.

It’s a welcome change to the industry, one that’s long overdue and critical to the continued advancement of the television space. Let’s take a closer look at how we got here and why quality and premium experiences will get us where we need to go now.

A change in tone and focus

When it comes to buying eyeballs, there are plenty of ways for advertisers to get tonnage these days, and at a lower cost. But what has become particularly evident in the television space is that not all impressions are created equal. As the television and video landscape has fragmented, the value associated with reaching viewers across the many platforms, channels and devices on which they consume content has also increased.

Simply put: People who partake in a premium TV experience tend to be more engaged and invested in their programming than those who pay passing attention to the latest chat video. Advertisers understand this and are increasingly looking to ensure that their media spend prioritizes the former over the latter.

What has become particularly evident in the television space is that not all impressions are created equal.

Specifically, what we’re seeing more and more of these days is a number of savvy advertisers looking for extensions of their standard TV purchases into streaming and OTT inventory – but not n any streaming or OTT inventory. They want to make sure their linear extensions are geared towards network inventory where the value and experience is just as premium as they expect from their linear placements. They want exclusive, quality inventory, and they want premium service. But at the same time, they want to create a cross-platform experience and integrate sophisticated conversion data and analytics into it.

The conversations surrounding these cross-platform purchases are a far cry from the volume-based transactions that occur in the programmatic television space today. And that’s because the control of fragmented TV budgets is still changing.

Talk to standalone TV buyers

When streaming and OTT advertising opportunities emerged, the media buying landscape split. For years, linear advertising and streaming advertising have been handled by separate teams, with the latter tending to fall into the digital buying team camp. Now a lot of things are changing. Traditional TV buyers are now placing more and more linear extensions under their care, and they are able to extend their relentless insistence on quality inventory and premium experiences into new areas.

This change makes sense. After all, if content appears on that big screen in the living room, does it really matter what kind of pipes it travels through? Additionally, by grouping these purchases under the same buyer responsibility, we see a much more unified approach to measurement when it comes to campaign impact.

Part of the reason TV inventory fragmented across buying teams in the first place was due to the vastly different measurement mechanisms that emerged in the early days of streaming and OTT. The new inventory was digital, with digital language surrounding it, so it made sense that responsibility for these purchases shifted to the teams most familiar with the language. But here again, we are witnessing a change.

As the TV industry moves towards a more unifying language that includes impressions – versus less extensible concepts like raw rating points (GRP) – TV buyers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their understanding of audience addressability and how best to target both their linear and streaming spend for maximum effect. They’re asking more nuanced questions than ever, and it pays off when it comes to a renewed focus on quality and premium experiences.

Today’s standalone TV buyers are leveraging their deep expertise from decades of linear shopping and improving their bottom line through the transparency, measurability and increased reach of streaming and OTT – and that’s not all. is really only the beginning. As the systems and partnerships that support the vast television landscape continue to unify and connect more of the dots on the back-end, advertisers will continue to extend the power of their creativity and messaging to new audiences and platforms.

In this reinvented television landscape, quality and premium experiences will reign supreme. As they always have. ▪️


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