Advertisers Are Spending More in Addressable TV, But Some Aren't Convinced It's Worth It

by Marty Swant, AdWeek

AdWeek's Marty Swant looks at why brands are struggling to figure out Addressable TV — and how 4INFO's Identity Platform is one possible solution to consider. 


Ask any media buyer, tech company or cable provider about addressable TV, and they’ll ask a question in return: How do you define it? Because while addressable TV simply means using data—rather than content—to buy audiences, the industry as a whole is still playing catch-up when it comes to the concept of serving different ads to different viewers watching the same programming. At least, parts of the industry are playing catch-up.

“Addressable is a term—if I were to be snarky about it—that was invented by the TV business to describe data,” says Scott Rosenberg, general manager of Roku’s platform. “You don’t hear digital people who sell digital media use that term because it’s just baked into the assumption that their media is targetable.”

Addressable TV has been hailed as a win-win-win that enables brands to better target consumers, networks to better monetize placement and consumers to receive ads they might actually want to watch. According to the Video Advertising Bureau, spending in addressable is expected to hit $3.3 billion by next year, up from $2.5 billion this year and $2.1 billion in 2017. Among advertisers already using addressable TV, 55% plan to increase their investment.

But, as 360i chief media officer Doug Rozen notes, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

Some companies are trying a different tack and incorporating their full stack. For example, AT&T-owned Xandr recently began cross-targeting ads based on the wireless provider’s massive data set for networks like Turner to reach audiences that aren’t accessible by traditional linear channels.

Meanwhile, 4INFO is taking a more democratic approach. The identity-mapping platform recently inked a deal with TiVo to map a household’s digital devices to its set-top box, which can then be combined with other data to create advertising segments or improve viewership measurement.

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