May 16, 2023 | By Catherine Perloff
While the writers strike is dampening this year’s splashy TV upfronts, media buyers have reason to celebrate. Buyers in the connected TV space tell Adweek they are finally getting more detailed information about what shows their clients’ ads are running on.
Advertiser dollars are following audiences who are watching more content on streaming television, but the process of buying connected TV still differs significantly from linear TV. And broadcasters have been reticent to share too much information with the buy side because of concerns that buyers will cherry-pick inventory, as well as privacy and regulatory issues.
When Omnicom Media Group launched its CTV standardization initiative in October 2021 aimed at helping buyers receive more consistent and complete data from publishers, six major media companies were not providing signals across 10 variables around topics of inventory, audience and fraud.
By August 2022, Disney, AMC, Paramount, Warner Brothers, NBCU and Fox were providing signals for at least one variable, though none was providing signals for all.
“There was always going to be an endpoint where the partners knew that they had to share,” said Britt Travis, co-lead of video investment at pharmaceutical-focused agency Eversana Intouch, who added that that roughly 75% of publishers are agreeing to share more signals than last year.
“People aren’t flat out saying ‘no’ anymore,” Travis added.
While publishers and buyers are no longer in a standoff, data is still lacking. For example, Method Media Intelligence, a measurement-focused ad-tech firm, measured around 693 million impressions in the first quarter of 2023, and found that 39% of them either had no device information or an invalid device listed in log files, meaning it’s possible buyers paid high CPMs expecting their ad to be delivered on a TV, when it was really shown on a phone or laptop, according to CEO Shailin Dhar.
What advertisers know about content
While knowing which inventory ads run against has been an ask of advertisers for years, measuring audience size remains an even more thorny, technical challenge.
“The lowest hanging fruit is inventory,” said Ryan Eusanio, managing director of digital activation at Omnicom Media Group. “Even just understanding at a household level who we reached is not quite as low hanging fruit.”
NBCU and Paramount have been giving buyers more data about which shows their ads air on, according to Eusanio and a second ad buyer who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive industry relations. NBCU confirmed to Adweek that it provides transparent post-campaign show-level insights and reporting for top-performing titles.
Travis said more publishers have been willing to share when ads air on a streamer’s most popular shows, though exact details need to be ironed out, and most publishers will only provide this information after the ad airs. Buyers don’t typically have content information in the ad buying process, Eusanio said.