LOS ANGELES – The cost of viewer impressions shouldn’t be the only thing that marketers consider when buying advertising on broadcast networks. Compelling content that engages audiences in a brand-safe environment not only provides better context for ads, but also helps to avoid the pitfalls of running programmatic ads in the murkier parts of social media and the internet.

“There’s a lot we can learn from the mistakes of the past,” Radha Subramanyam, chief research and analytics officer at CBS Corp. and president of CBS Vision, said in this interview with Justin Lebben, co-founder and director of Mediatel Events, at Beet.TV’s Beet Retreat. “We can learn from digital programmatic, display programmatic and how there was a flight to the bottom – and a flight from quality.”

CBS’s approach is to offer quality content and advertising experiences to viewers to deliver value to sponsors.

“Around advertising, the conversation becomes about value – not just performance-driven marketing, but upper-funnel, brand value, long-term customer value and other metrics that we care about,” Subramanyam said. “If we have a conversation around value, quality and delivery in a brand-safe environment, we can have a much more interesting conversation than if we just spoke about price and CPM [cost per thousand].”

No Tech for Tech’s Sake

As marketers increase their media buys through automated platforms, there is concern that data and technology middlemen will capture a bigger share of TV media dollars, as they have on the open web.

Subramanyam said technology is valuable for use cases like frequency capping of ads, but not necessarily in the value exchange between advertisers and media owners.

“We need to understand what we are solving for, and then use the right combination of technology and insight against those specific problems,” she said. “If it’s about proving the value of a program or an ad, there’s a role for technology, but there’s also a role for many other things.”

Opportunities for Growth

Consumers increased their time spent with media when pandemic lockdowns and health concerns led them to find ways to pass the time while stuck indoors. Subramanyam sees an opportunity for media consumption to increase when technologies like autonomous vehicles become more advanced, freeing people from focusing on driving.

Source: eMarketer/Insider Intelligence

“There’s actually no reduction in the viewing of television. If anything, in a COVID and not-quite-post-COVID world, there is so much more consumption that is happening – and this will only grow,” she said.

That viewing will happen across platforms, including linear television and video-on-demand apps for connected devices.

“Linear viewing has been undercounted to a massive extent, but ultimately, we are platform-agnostic,” she said.

Amid the ongoing changes in media consumption, content providers and marketers will adopt new ways of doing things. Consumer habits will drive this evolution.

“The advertising models have not necessarily caught up to where the audience is,” Subramanyam said, adding that programmers can “go back to the basics. Go back to what we really do well, which is make great television and make it available to people in all the ways possible – and the business models will follow.”

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