Steadily, national US television is learning the same kind of ad tricks that local cable has enjoyed for some time – but the end result could be so much greater.

ViacomCBS this month heralded a “breakthrough” when it delivered what it called the “first ever” addressable ad impressions in live national broadcast TV via a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) set-top box.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, ViacomCBS SVP for advanced advertising Mike Dean explains how the ads were delivered in certain CBS markets, via live broadcasts consumed by DISH customers.

How it works

Adcuratio has built the technology that sits at the CBS broadcast centre that allows us to essentially send the signals to the DISH head end, which tells DISH, when they are receiving those affiliate feeds, where to place the markers that they send to the set-top box that instructs the set-top box when to execute national advertising,” Dean explains.

Those are the technical details. But the consequence is that some DISH customers viewing CBS channels didn’t just get the same national ads everyone else did – they got ads custom targeted to them.

It is one example of the growing emergence of “addressable” TV advertising, which has been available in relatively limited fashion in local cable for some time, at the national scale.

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Addressable awakening

“National broadcast television has never been addressable before,” Dean says. “It is the most premium programming in terms of delivering events like the Super Bowl, the Masters, the Grammys.

“Up until now, only cable has been addressable. That started with two minutes of MVPD local cable time (per hour).

“So this is really a breakthrough to bring addressability to new inventory, to new audiences, and really do a lot more value for advertisers.”

New powers

The lighting-up of addressability in national TV creates new capabilities. Local advertisers could get seen in national programming. National advertisers can gain greater control over the ads they buy.

Dean says benefits of addressable TV include:

  • deduplication of audience exposures
  • effectiveness
  • reach extension
  • creative sequencing
  • lower-funnel conversion

Beyond cable

In the UK, national satellite TV and broadband provider Sky pioneered addressable TV ads with its AdSmart suite, a technology that beams a library of ads to its set-top box for playback in response to audience targeting against both Sky and third-party datasets including factors such as home ownership, life stage, post code, affluence, household composition and location.

There, addressability is introducing smaller, local advertisers back to a medium that had become increasingly national in scale.

In the US, says ViacomCBS’ Dean; “Up until now, if you were a marketer buying addressable TV, again, you could only buy it within the cable networks, the cable avails.

“Now we’re talking about an unduplicated full expansion of that inventory.”