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Live and linear becomes more valuable in fragmented OTT landscape, U.S. television executives believe

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U.S. television executives are bullish about the prospects for live and linear channels, despite intensifying competition for audiences and ad spend in an OTT world. According to a study by the strategy consultancy MTM, commissioned by dynamic ad insertion specialist Yospace, U.S. executives believe the value of live/linear is growing, not declining. The paper authors conclude: “Live and linear TV is unique in offering mass concurrent audiences and, as the online market fragments, the value of that reach is growing – delivering ‘immense value’ according to US executives.”

To enhance this value, media companies must invest in advanced TV advertising technology, the study argues. The authors also infer that television companies are turning to streaming ad-tech because they can get this deployed quickly. The paper explores U.S. industry perspectives on the future of live and linear broadcasting in an OTT world and you can download it here.

“TV executives are increasingly looking to develop and deploy addressable solutions over IP networks delivered to connected devices and, crucially, Smart TVs.  By contrast, the wider development of ATVA (advanced TV advertising) capabilities on TV platforms will require broadcasters and MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors – or Pay TV providers] to strike partnerships and commercial agreements, as required, to bring data and inventory together. These partnerships have proven challenging to establish.”

Despite the difficulties in striking these partnerships, there is a widespread desire to move quickly to combat the threat to premium content rights posed by the major Internet companies, the paper says.

TV executives see four key priorities for the US industry, the study reveals. These are:

  1. Enhance the linear consumer experience with fewer – but more relevant – TV ads, to retain audiences
  2. Apply data and addressable solutions to linear streams, to maximise the value of the inventory delivered over their IP-based services
  3. Collaborate, where appropriate, to provide cross-publisher solutions to advertisers, reducing market fragmentation
  4. Work with MVPDs to enable the roll out of ‘ATVA’ solutions on TV platforms, across a wider range of inventory.

An unnamed U.S. cable network told the study authors: “Negotiations are all about what we can do together and how we can partner. It’s absolutely driven by a collective fear of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.”

The research paper is titled “The imperative for addressability in live and linear video,’ and was informed by a seminar in New York attended by leading U.S. TV and agency executives. This was supplemented by a series of one-to-one interviews.

Jon Watts, Managing Partner at MTM, says: “It is clear that broadcasters and MVPDs are looking to advanced advertising solutions to help them compete with the data-driven offerings of the major Internet companies. The question is whether they can work together and forge partnerships that unlock the insight and inventory required to deliver addressability at scale.

“Our research suggests that the industry is ready to move forwards. There seems to be a healthy appetite amongst executives for greater cooperation in the advanced advertising space.”

Tim Sewell, CEO of Yospace, who believes broadcasters are realising the immense value of live content in the age of streaming and OTT competition, agrees. “It is noticeable in this report how the broadcast industry is coming together to forge a common path and looking to adopt common technologies and standards to realise the full potential of addressable TV.”

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