CANNES – As long as television and premium video remain atop the ROI stack for marketers, agencies need to solve convergence of the two for their marketer clients. If they don’t, they could be disintermediated by giants like Facebook and Google and knocked down a rung on the value chain by new entrants like Accenture.

This was the view shared by representatives of MEC and Videology at Beet.TV’s Advanced TV Summit hosted by MEC at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and moderated by Matt Spiegel, Managing Director of MediaLink.

When MEC’s Global CEO, Tim Castree, considers TV and video convergence he’s less concerned with where it’s at than he is in the context for doing it, because context “is where the motivation comes from” for the industry to move faster.

“We are in a really consequential time for our industry. For agencies, it’s a jump ball whether we’re going to more relevant or less relevant five years from now,” said Castree.

The best hedge against a lack of relevance “is solving technologically the cross-screen convergence opportunity. I actually see it as a competitive imperative that we continue to solve this challenge.”

Asked by Spiegel why agencies should fixate on that particular challenge, Castree pointed to the sheer ad dollars brands invest in television and premium video inventory and the manner in which they do so. He says this inventory will always be traded principally in an upfront, futures manner, which lends itself to media agencies’ “trading scale and the role we play in the market as the market makers.”

Adding technology to achieve more advanced optimization would seal the deal, according to Castree.

“Obviously, Google, Facebook, Accenture are never going to be traders of the upfront commodity of television and premium video. So bringing those two things together gives us a unique hedge against what others are trying to do to us,” he said.

Videology’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ryan Jamboretz, said that Castree “nailed it in terms of his answer” and went on to list companies that are gradually invading the space that has long been the territory of agencies.

“The number of times we’re hearing names like Oracle and Accenture and PWC in conversations these days which we didn’t hear a year ago is incredible,” Jamboretz observed.

Spiegel opined that it’s not as if the more established media players like NBCUniversal, Viacom and Turner under AT&T are going away anytime soon.

“They are essential, they probably aren’t going anywhere, but they’re in the same fight we’re in,” said Castree.

For both the buy-side and sell-side, the rate of change needs to increase dramatically, regardless of what has already taken place, he added.

“We’ve had a massive rate of change in our business in the last five years. But if the rate of change in our business for the next five years looks like the last five, we will have fallen behind,” Castree said.

Meanwhile, on the the sell side, “The more complex and advanced guys are saying, ‘How do I use this to stitch together all my distribution points into a converged offer,’” said Jamboretz.

This video is from The Advanced TV Summit at Cannes Lions 2017, presented by Alphonso. For more from the series, please visit this page.