As marketers head into another TV upfront ad sales season, this year effectiveness and efficiency are likely to be even higher on buyers’ shopping list.

For Chris Harris, that boils down to finding the right audience.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Harris, VP, Advanced TV Ad Sales, AudienceXpress, explains the dynamics he is seeing play out.

The State of the TV Marketplace

Harris sees the growth in over-the-top (OTT) TV services as a driving factor in how TV networks will secure upfront ad spend commitments.

As marketers are tasked with doing more with less, as advertisers look at “leveraging efficiencies from an audience targeting perspective and making sure that you’re helping eliminate some of that waste and find that right audience at that right time that that viewer is consuming that content”.

Harris thinks the current economic climate will also impact whether marketers put more money into the upfront or hold it back for a scattered approach.

Upfront and powering-up

In the TV upfronts period, which kicks off in May each year, is a time when TV networks and others tout their content and capabilities to ad buyers in a bid to secure annual ad spend commitments.

In 2019, The New York Times described it as “the TV industry’s $20 billion week“. At the time, it noted streaming was making limited in-roads to that spend.

Fast-forward four years, and eMarketer predicts that, in 2023, connected TV will account for $25.09 billion in US ad spend, out of a total $86.04 spent on TV.

Targeting for TV

AudienceXpress was a company acquired by Comcast in 2015, then rolled into its FreeWheel business as FreeWheel Media, a media solutions team. In 2022, Comcast Advertising renamed it AudienceXpress again.

The outfit boasts capabilities for ad buyers to reach more than 300 million viewers across US nationwide, linear and streaming content, including sight of all 210 DMAs, more than 1,000 local and national broadcast stations, and access to digital MVPDs and pure-plays.

In other words, AudienceXpress aims to find the right viewers for advertisers.

According to Harris, the last few years have seen significant growth in how clients are leveraging data to find their target audience, including through client first party data, first-party viewership data and third party syndicated segments. He says, “the trend of audience targeting is only going to grow from a linear perspective”.

Planning for specificity

AudienceXpress recently released a new planning tool that leverages viewership data from Comcast.

Harris says: “We have the ability to utilize that data to find the exposure levels across recent campaigns, do a look-back and see where there was high exposure, medium and light, and then use that as a tactic to then go and try and find that audience.”

The planning tool also allows clients to suppress specific audiences on one platform, such as OTT, while targeting them on another, such as linear cable. Harris believes that providing transparency through the use of data will help inform marketers’ future plans.

You’re watching “The TV Upfronts in Transition,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by AudienceXpress. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.