Addressable advertising is on the cusp transforming national television as a variety of companies and coalitions develop ways for households to see different commercials while watching the same shows. For programmers like Discovery, the continued expansion of addressable advertising builds on its experience with delivering target audiences through linear and digital channels.
“We’ve paid close attention to the trends and the independent marketplace research as it relates to the investment strategies and the growth of data-driven applications in terms of how advertisers and clients are looking at the ecosystem,” Steve Silvestri, vice president of advanced advertising at Discovery Communications, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “The future of the growth of the television business is going to be in those data applications.”
The media company, which next year will launch a video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platform called Discovery+, has 18 network brands including Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID and OWN. To help advertisers reach target audiences, Discovery four years ago introduced its Linear Engage product, and last summer introduced its OneGraph platform to create a single currency for data-driven linear and digital media buys.
“We did a lot of work to ensure we could map those households correctly,” Silvestri said. “In doing so, it really gave us a huge boost in what we could target from a digital perspective because we could see about 60% more of the impressions we were delivering in the digital ecosystem.”
National Linear Anchors Networks
The development of addressable advertising for national reach will mark a significant step for Discovery, which through pilot programs and technological development will expand its platform.
“The national linear traditional business still dominates the marketplace for us. It’s still the anchor underpinning everything else that we’re doing,” Silvestri said. “We want to create solutions and opportunities around advanced advertising that augment those capabilities.”
Discovery participates in the major industry groups to develop standards for addressable advertising, including the On Addressability consortium from Comcast, Charter and Cox; the Vizio-led Project OAR; and Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising effort.
“We have tremendous scale that we can apply to an 18-network portfolio. It gives us a large sandbox to play in, in terms of how we begin to light up linear inventory,” Silvestri said. “We all recognize there’s a long road ahead here, and a lot that needs to be learned in terms of how programmers are going to light up national inventory. We have a path for that, and for us, it’s going to start in VOD.”
Discovery is formulating a plan to make national linear ad inventory addressable through a series of tests.
“We’re certainly going to be very judicious about how we carve out inventory on the linear side. We could start with select networks with a representative snapshot of inventory across day,” Silvestri said. “We’re probably going to use unrated inventory to start so that we’re not stepping on any of the ratings services that we depend on for our currency in the linear ecosystem. In parallel to that, we’re all going to be working toward solving for that so that we can open up additional inventory in the quarters and years to come.”
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