Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

ATV’s Agents of Change: Amy Tocock of PHD Media on the evolution of ATV advertising

‘Agents of Change’ is an ongoing initiative from MiQ (in partnership with New Digital Age) shining a spotlight on the individuals helping build the new Advanced TV (ATV) industry. As the ATV advertising marketplace continues to grow and expand rapidly, the series will feature profiles of key digital media execs who are helping to break down the traditional media buying silos in their own organisations. 

Amy Tocock is Director of Investment Strategy at global media and marketing communications agency PHD Media. Here, she discusses how she is encouraging the evolution and uptake of ATV advertising among colleagues and clients… 

What are the key challenges to the growth of ATV advertising?

Clients understand that media consumption is changing and know that heavy linear TV investment alone can no longer be the answer in most cases. That said, many would love to stick with linear TV, due to the nature of the pricing and the fact that they understand exactly what’s happening to every pound they spend. Thanks to BARB data, they can see in detail how their own  campaigns and those of their competitors are performing. They feel comfortable with that part of their media spend, so to move away from that makes some advertisers feel nervous. 

Right now, by comparison, the ATV landscape is complex and fragmented and understanding where to best spend money is quite challenging. There’s very little standardised measurement in place at the moment. At PHD, we have proprietary tools to understand the ATV landscape from a planning perspective but, from an actual delivery perspective, that technology doesn’t exist yet. 

At an agency level, do traditional silos between AV teams and Digital/Programmatic teams risk hampering the growth of ATV advertising? 

One big difference between people from an AV background versus those from a digital background is that digital people always look at things via an audience lens, whereas AV people tend to think primarily in terms of content and environment. At PHD we have always focussed on keeping all AV within one team to avoid the pitfalls that can arise from silos.  It has been challenging over the years as we are asking people to have a very broad skillset, but it has paid off and now we have a highly developed team who are able to offer best in class AV strategy across the whole video landscape.  Now the focus is total cross channel integration.  We’re definitely talking more of the same language and there are more cross-disciplines conversations happening. 

What can the digital media industry do to provide more clarity around ATV for advertisers? 

A good place to start would be agreement around a common definition of what a ‘view’ is on ATV! Having more of a common language across channels is useful because, as media planners, we’re often trying to achieve the same thing.  Right now, any sort of industry-agreed language around measurement in ATV would undoubtedly unlock more investment from brands.

From a technical perspective, the ATV market is dominated by big broadcasters and walled gardens, meaning that the sort of holistic view we’d love to see across broadcast, ATV and online video isn’t possible at the moment. Given the tight restrictions around the sharing of customer data, I can understand why the big players are being cautious and protective of their own data, but I think we can expect to see some progress on integration over the next couple of years.  

How do you personally act as an agent of change in your organisation?

I joined PHD in 2016 as Head of AV Strategy, which wasn’t that common a job title at that time. That role allowed me to step away from the actual delivery of linear TV campaigns and have a more upstream view of the AV marketplace. Over time, as more digital inventory entered the landscape, it’s been my job to speak to our different internal teams and make connections and suggest ways we can better integrate and work together. 

Likewise, as new opportunities arise for clients, ATV for example, I oversee our testing activity, ensuring we move into any new landscape in a cautious and considered way. With any big transition, you need to move at the right pace and ensure that the outcome is worth the effort you’re asking of everybody involved.

What expected developments in the CTV marketplace are you most excited about? 

The fact that Netflix and Disney+ are getting involved in the space is great news. How that all pans out  will be very interesting. In addition, I think the full launch of CFlight later this year (a major measurement-focused collaboration of the UK’s main broadcasters) will be a big step forward for advertisers. Likewise, I’m excited by the progress of Project Origin, the ISBA-backed initiative to build a cross-media measurement platform. The ambition behind that project is brilliant. As an industry, we’re moving in the right direction.

MiQ, in partnership with New Digital Age, recently published a special insight report, Agents of Change: Shaping the future of Advanced TV advertising, featuring further profiles of key digital media executives who are helping to leverage the incredible potential of ATV. You can download the full report for free here.