E Marketer PRO of Reviews

For decades, TV advertising time has been valued and transacted on the basis of delivering the standard age and gender audience segments, such as adults ages 25 to 54. But richer, more descriptive advanced targets are emerging to form the basis for secondary audience guarantees, supplementing the primary benchmarks.

Advanced targets are created by combining first- or third-party consumer purchase data with TV viewing information, resulting in TV ratings that better reflect advertisers’ targets as opposed to the standard age and gender descriptions.
In the 2017–2018 TV season, secondary guarantees made on advanced target delivery could account for as much as 10% to 15% of the inventory sold by those network groups that are leaders in data-driven targeting.
The variety of advanced TV offerings introduces new complexity to the marketplace. Differences in the data sources used to create these targets make it difficult for media agencies to evaluate offerings vs. their own in-house TV investment models. Third-party verification of network-produced advanced TV ratings will be inevitable as advanced targeting scales.

Advanced TV offerings will eventually include targeting capabilities across both TV and digital—which currently make up more than 70% of spend for a typical media plan. TV and digital targeting is a longer-term prospect, given the networks’ primary focus on selling just TV inventory. The undertaking also requires integration of TV and digital audience estimates within a closed system.
TV networks have begun to work more directly with advertisers, many of whom are providing networks with first-party customer and transaction data to develop more precise TV targeting and gauge ad effectiveness on network properties.

TV Merger Moves Forward

21st Century Fox finalized its deal to acquire Sky, the largest pay TV service in Europe, the latest combination in a global wave of consolidation in the TV industry, which is responding to rapid changes in the way that consumers watch video programming.

From the perspective of overall market growth, the pay TV sector hardly seems like the most attractive investment, with many researchers foreseeing slim growth in users or revenues this decade.

Ovum estimates that pay TV revenues for the region as a whole will grow only 12% from 2015 to 2021—a mere 1.88% compound annual growth rate.

Data from other researchers paints a similar picture. According to a report from Digital TV Research Limited, the total number of pay TV subscriptions in Western Europe will barely edge higher in coming years, reaching 175.2 million in 2021, up from 172.2 million in 2016—a compound annual growth rate of less than 1%.

Pyramid Research says that pay TV penetration at the household level will grow to 60.2% in Western Europe this year, up from 58.6% in 2015.

Whatever the growth of pay TV, overall video consumption is growing rapidly, and Sky is a key provider of a particularly compelling content format—sports. “Despite the fact that pay TV subscriptions are dwindling, the Sky acquisition makes sense since pay subscribers are willing to pay for sports and entertainment content that is unavailable elsewhere,” said eMarketer analyst Gerard Broussard.

That highly compelling content is valuable however consumers end up viewing it—whether OTT or some other digital format, and whether it is monetized via advertising or subscription payments.