Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The MiQ & NDA Roundtable: breaking down barriers to Advanced TV integration

In late 2022, MiQ and NDA collaborated on a brand new report, Agents of Change: Shaping the future of Advanced TV advertising. Then, in early 2023, NDA invited some leading commentators on the Advanced TV (ATV) marketplace to discuss those findings and more. The roundtable forms the basis of two articles on how the industry might leverage ATV’s potential and overcome some of the significant challenges it still faces. 

In this, the first of these two articles, attendees discuss how ATV is changing the brand and agency media landscape, breaking down some silos but creating others. They also reveal how this evolution is throwing up measurement challenges that mean broadcasters are going to have to work harder if they’re to convince advertisers that theirs is the best platform if they’re to achieve their goals. 

Chaired by NDA Editor, Justin Pearse, the roundtable featured Will Gough, AV Product Partner at Dentsu, Shona Kirkbride, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Deliveroo, Amy Tocock, Director of Investment Strategy at PHD UK, Emma Moorhead, General Manager at Wavemaker UK, John Joshua, Product Lead at The7Stars, Jon Manning, Client Investment Director, Starcom, Raj Mahon, Director of Client, Partnerships at MiQ and Pierre de Lannoy, Strategy Director, EMEA at MiQ.

The first challenge to note as we move into the brave, new world of ATV is that the platforms may have moved on, but the way organisations are set up to work with them largely have not. Will Gough, AV Product Partner at Dentsu explains that most agencies have an AV team and a digital team and there isn’t quite enough crossover between the two yet. “It’s a challenge scaling up AV guys to make sure they are fluent within the programmatic space,” he admits. 

Not that working across a divide is something new for the industry, as Shona Kirkbride, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Deliveroo admits: “Collaboration has also been quite siloed. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn more about channels from a media agency. There’s a need for that education piece where teams can come together. That’s when you can start looking at plans holistically.”

Collaboration isn’t limited to understanding the potential of new ATV platforms. There has to be work towards achieving some consensus on what the new forms of viewer measurement might be. This is particularly important given the early reticence of suppliers like Netflix to reveal their numbers. Jon Manning, Client Investment Director, Starcom explains that industry stalwart Barb’ is in a good position to establish itself as a source of truth but will still need collaboration if its figures are to garner the required trust. 

“Netflix made a bold move to agree to BARB being the third party measurement partner,” he suggests. “Trying to measure commercials on that platform that are digitally served, it will be the first time that BARB will be doing so. If Netflix can prove the use case with Barb to measure online delivery, it’s a really interesting path for Barb moving forward and futureproofing it.”

That said, there are still roadblocks. Pierre de Lannoy, Strategy Director, EMEA at MiQ, notes that Netflix isn’t sharing the number of users that are using the ad-supported version. “We have brands that are so excited and others who are saying there’s no measurement, targeting or indication of viewers so we’re going to wait and see.”

“We’re still waiting for the gold standard of cross media measurement,” insists Amy Tocock, Director of Investment Strategy at PHD UK. “We have pockets of understanding. The focus of the industry must be on measurement but of a high quality.” She understands however, that this is a big ask: “It’s such a complex landscape that it’s understandable that takes a long time.”

A long time or not, it’s vital that platforms can demonstrate a better understanding hof their audiences, particularly when you take into account the significant metropolitan ‘skew’. Raj Mahon, Director of Client, Partnerships at MiQ warns that media companies have to avoid getting trapped in the ‘London bubble’: “Some transparency on who’s watching is going to be critical. Spotify saw a similar thing where in London everyone was paying premium but outside the capital it was quite a mix. The more we as a demand side can push them, the more we can get consistency, transparency and measurement.”

Of course, part of the problem could be trying to apply old methods to new platforms. To overcome this adoption ‘lag’, it means getting creative. “You have to think about other ways to measure,” insists John Joshua, Product Lead at The7Stars. “We tried things like AB testing and there’s lots of data in the market from client first party to sales and retail data. Where there might be a flaw in one-plus measurement, there are other things that can prove the value of an ATV solution.” 

Emma Moorhead, General Manager at Wavemaker UK agrees, exhorting professionals to take a rounded view of the success of their ads: “Alongside medium metric measurement, we have to have outcomes-based measurement and make sure clients have a framework in place that allows them to understand what success looks like for different partners.”

When it can seem like there are myriad challenges to address in ATV, it can feel disheartening and tempting to ‘wait and see’ before adopting. However, Moorhead also insists that the ATV landscape also has buckets of potential. “What’s really exciting is there’s more really good, high quality content that advertisers have the potential to advertise around.” 

Despite contemporary challenges around collaboration and measurement, the rapid adoption of ATV by consumers has undoubtedly created an exciting opportunity for brands to reach target audiences in premium, contextually-relevant environments. Having recognised the opportunity, are brand advertisers ready to leverage the potential of ATV for dynamic creative optimisation and omnichannel activations?

Our expert panel explores these issues and more in the second part of this roundtable recap.