Your Secret Decoder Ring for Advanced TV

I’m currently on a plane, heading to LiveRamp’s RampUp event. For anyone who has built their career around marketing data or adtech, but has not had the chance to attend before, I always describe it as something like a “family union”. I get to see so many talented people I’ve worked with and walk away from the event with a full heart and loads of inspiration. But this year’s different. Besides seeing old and new friends, it’s the content I’m pumped about it.


Why? They’re talking TV – my favorite two letter word. And it’s not just one session; LiveRamp has an entire line up with some of the industry’s biggest change agents and thought leaders speaking about the future of this $72 billion dollar industry.


Every day Lindsey and I are working with our clients – from advertisers to ad tech companies – to help them understand the Advanced TV landscape, and how changes in the industry (and consumer behavior) are opening many new doors. If you’re like many of our clients, perhaps you ‘majored’ in digital advertising and ‘minored’ in TV. You understand bits and pieces about the industry’s legacy, and you know that it’s becoming a hot topic in marketing circles, but in general, you’re not very fluent in “Advanced TV” as a language.


Well, I’m here to help you join in on this exciting conversation. Think of my brief list below as your secret decoder ring! By understanding a few simple concepts, you’ll be talking TV in no time.


  1. In an era of cord cutters, cord-nevers and nearly half of households subscribing to some type of streaming service, what constitutes TV advertising?
    • TV is simply sight, sound and motion. When you think of it in this context, you realize that TV advertising has a broadened definition. Of course, it still refers to linear (aka live) broadcast and cable television, but it also encompasses advertising capabilities and inventory available through…
  • OTT(Over-the-top)/Streaming providers like Hulu or Sling TV
  • Connected TVs like Samsung or Samba TV, or devices like Chromecast or Amazon Fire
  • Programmer websites and apps like HBO Go or


2. What is Advanced TV? The term seems a bit vague.

  • Advanced TV is an umbrella term being used to refer to new planning, targeting and measurement capabilities that are rolling out across the industry. This term casts a pretty wide net, which means although it could be referring to a number of solutions or tactics (addressable, data-driven linear, programmatic, etc) the one common thread is that… Advanced TV = Data + Automation.


  • 1) Are you going beyond age and gender ratings and using rich first, second, or third party to define an audience, build a relevant media plan or even target your audience at a one-to-one household level?
  • 2) Are you doing it more quickly and efficiently by leveraging technology which automates various steps in the TV media buying process?


If you answer yes to both of those questions, then you are executing an Advanced TV strategy!

3. Help me understand how these new Advanced TV capabilities are different than the tactics of yester-year?

  • Lindsey and I love to share with our clients the rich background and history of the TV advertising world. Did you know that even though we live in the era of big data, and have technology at our fingertips, TV advertising has been bought and sold the same way for nearly 80 years! Which makes it an exciting time to be a marketer – we’re in the midst of witnessing a revolution. I’ll keep it simple, but here’s a quick chart outlining the difference between traditional TV and the promises of Advanced. You’ll see why folks are so excited to talk about this and deliver innovation solutions.


  Traditional TV Advanced TV
Purchase Time Upfronts Event in NYC where 75% of Inventory is Purchased ‘Up Front’ Ad-hoc, Can Launch Campaign in Days/Weeks
Planning & Buying Currency Nielsen Panel Ratings Value Based on Audience Data
Viewership Measurement Nielsen Panel Ratings Person or Household Level Second-by-Second Tune In Data
Audience Data Available Nielsen Age & Gender Demos First, Second or Third Party Data
Inventory Linear Linear, Video-on-Demand, Streaming Services
Targeting Level Program Based People Based, Household or Individual level
Post Campaign Measurement Ratings & Brand Studies Closed Loop Analytics Tied to Activities including Sales, Store Visits, and Site Visits


4. So when will I see an Advanced TV ad in my house?

  • If you pay a cable bill to one of the operators (Comcast, Dish Network, DIRECTV, etc) who supports Addressable TV – which is one-to-one, household level targeting – then it is very likely you have already been targeted and exposed to an Addressable TV ad in  the last 10 years. Besides the fact that the ad should have been quite relevant to you, there is nothing else about how the ad is delivered to your household that would cause you to notice that it was an Addressable commercial. If you subscribe to an Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming service or have a smart TV, it’s also quite possible you’ve been served targeted ads there, too! So to put it lightly – Advanced TV is here with no signs of slowing down.


5. What are some other key trends I should understand?

  • Consumer behaviors are shifting. You’ve probably read a headline or two stating something to the effect of, “TV advertising is dead!” Well, I consider those headlines clickbait. TV is far from dead; it’s just shifting (like consumer habits). Study after study proves that video is the most powerful advertising medium. No other medium allows for rich story telling or funny, connected experiences. On top of it, people are sponging up and binging on more content than ever before – with some consumers treating it like a full-time job clocking in more than 40 hours of week doing so! The only difference is they are accessing their TV content when and where they want, across devices and providers. If you want to speak TV fluently, the biggest take away is to understand that identity is a key focus for many companies in the Advanced TV space. By recognizing and linking together consumers across devices and services, media companies can help advertisers deliver a targeted, omni-channel experience.
    • And marketers dollars are following close behind. For the past 3 years, Addressable TV has really started to achieve scale and see sizable growth, nearly doubling YOY. For example, in 2018, eMarketer estimates that advertisers will spend nearly $3 billion on Addressable TV. Although only roughly 5% of brands’ TV budgets appear to be going audience-based today, $3 billion is nothing to ignore. And in the next five years, you can expect to see absolutely explosive growth. Some analysts believe, for instance, that by 2020, nearly $40 billion of the $80 billion being spent at the time will be OTT, leveraging rich 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data for targeting and analytics.


What I’ve shared here is a light primer on the Advanced TV space. At Blinc, we always advise our clients that the best way to ‘decode’ a conversation on TV is to ask questions, and ask them often!

Interested in talking further about TV and how these advancements could impact your organization? Don’t hesitate to connect with us, or even check out my upcoming TV session at AdExchanger’s Progammatic IO. And if you’ll be at RampUp, you can be sure to find us joining one of their many TV sessions!