A big conundrum in cross-screen audience targeting is the need for cooperation across a multitude of potential partners even as the number of partners continues to multiply. And technology itself isn’t the white knight it was once thought of, judging from a panel discussion at the recent Beet.TV leadership forum.

The panel titled Making Identity a Reality in a Multi-Screen World brought together Matthew Krepsik, Nielsen’s Global Head of Analytics, Carol Hinnant, EVP of National Television Sales at Comscore and Bob Ivins, Chief Data Officer at NCC Media.

Moderator Matt Prohaska, CEO & Principle of Prohaska Consulting, kicked things off by asking about the much desired “leap forward” from household to individual person addressability.

“I think we’re still in the early days of that as an industry,” said Krepsik, who believes the quest for a curated, omni-channel experience rests on “insuring that we have that common view of an individual person, regardless the screen or the device that they’re watching content on.”

No one seems to think that’s on the immediate horizon. Hinnant touted the actionable nature of household data, saying, “We’ve had great progress with it. I think it does come to scale at that point.” When used at scale, “it actually proves to have better results.”

Asked to quantify where the industry stands on achieving true one-to-one targeting and suggest a wish list of improvements, Ivins said that while for TV advertising spending “flat is the new up,” digital has been going up for 25 years.

“We should have seen it coming. What were we thinking? I think the industry is now woken up to that,” Ivins said. “All the media owners, they have the reach,” but that alone isn’t not enough.

“NBC can reach almost any household in the country if they wanted to because of their portfolio of products, but they don’t have the first-party relationships or some of technology. And the distributors have the technology and first-party relationships but they don’t have the reach,” Ivins added.

“TV as a platform, we have to get there,” said Hinnant. “We’ve got to stop the silos that are merging and I get that data privacy is an issue on that. But if we can come together as a platform, then we could actually compete.”

Five years ago, technology was a common barrier to advancement, according to Krepsit. Now cooperation is a bigger hurdle.

“The hardware manufacturers are beginning to play a bigger and bigger role in this ecosystem as well,” he said. “So it’s moving beyond the set-top box and actually moving to the actual devices. I think it’s only going to get more complicated.”

This video was produced in New York City at Identity in Focus: Understanding the Cross-Screen Consumer in a Fragmented World, a Beet.TV Leadership Forum, presented by 4INFO and hosted by Viacom. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.