Marcien Jenckes, President, Advertising at Comcast Cable, has been outlining the opportunities for ad-supported platform operators and programmers in 2021, with addressable TV advertising on the ‘high priority’ list. Speaking at Future of TV Advertising Global last week, he suggested an initiative like On Addressability – which in the U.S. encourages the collaboration and harmonisations needed to scale the addressable advertising market – could prove useful in Europe.
Jenckes characterised 2020 as a year of unprecedented disruption, mainly due to Covid-19 and its effects on consumer behaviour, business and media consumption. “Consumers are forming new relationships with brands,” he noted, pointing to how we interact with companies of every kind, the different ways of buying goods including cars, and more personalised and data-driven shopping.
“In the U.S. we are on track for in-store traffic to be reduced by more than 25% compared to prior years,” he observed. Jenckes pointed to restaurant deliveries as an example of how everything changed this year. “And it has changed forever,” he contends. The same may be true of video consumption – up 30-40% on the Comcast footprint during the year, with more VOD and connected TV among the stand-out changes.
Media companies need to meet consumers where they are, which means new forms of distribution like Peacock, the direct-to-consumer streaming service that is the latest addition to the Comcast/NBCUniversal/Sky group portfolio. And when it comes to keeping marketers happy, the answer is to double-down on the trends we are already familiar with: more data, targeting, measurement and attribution, according to Jenckes.
“This year, all those things [data, targeting, measurement and attribution] have become more important as everyone has to prove their worth,” the executive told Future of TV Advertising Global. “What used to be experimental budgets are going mainstream for a bunch of reasons, including the shift in upfront spending, the need for flexibility and the quest for efficiency and effectiveness.”
Jenckes believes the consumer behavioural changes and media consumption changes during the pandemic point to addressable TV advertising as a development priority. “Television has an opportunity to maximise its impact and relevance to marketers and to measure how it drives businesses,” he said. As a group, Comcast, which includes the ad-tech innovator FreeWheel as well, has been focusing hard on this opportunity.
Jenckes believes Europe is ready for addressable TV advertising at scale, thus the interest in what an initiative like On Addressability could achieve there. For now, On Addressability exists only in the USA, where it has been led by Comcast Advertising, Cox Media and Spectrum Reach (the advertising divisions of Comcast Cable, Cox Communications and Charter Communications, respectively) and a growing ecosystem of programmers and tech enablers on a mission to activate the collaboration, and drive the innovation, needed to grow the market.
On Addressability objectives include encouraging standards and common definitions the industry can work with. Education is another key role – like demonstrating the many use-cases for addressable TV advertising, including for brands seeking wide reach on a national basis. On Addressability has published a playbook called ‘Turning On Addressable TV Advertising’ – aimed at both the buy-side and sell-side – as an industry resource with definitions, suggested best practices and shared learnings for enabling addressable TV advertising campaigns.
Jenckes says: “We realised that the effort to lay the groundwork and set up the infrastructure to truly turn on addressable had to start with all of us, so at the launch [of On Addressability, at Cannes in summer 2019] we invited all operators and content providers to become members.” The initiative has encouraged discussions about best practice and about practical challenges like identity, measurement and data enablement.
On Addressability is not only for platform operators. In the U.S., AMC Networks has partnered with the On Addressability distributors to enable addressable capabilities on its own linear and VOD television advertising, and Discovery Inc. has joined On Addressability for the same reason. Trials have started where national programmers make inventory available for addressable campaigns across multiple Pay TV distributors.
Jenckes believes addressable TV advertising can solidify television as a full-funnel marketing solution. He wants large-scale use of data, targeting and data-enriched measurement to become fundamental capabilities for TV, however and wherever it is consumed. He is convinced that addressable TV advertising will help “maximise the impact and value of TV as a scalable and sustainable marketing platform”.
You can see the full video interview from Future of TV Advertising here.