Dear Content, It’s Time to Share the Monarchy

It's time for advanced TV data to share the monarchy with content.

Content is at the core of the TV industry, which means the popular phrase, “content is king,” applies especially well in the TV market. But data also plays an important role in the industry, so where does that fit in the metaphor? I propose it’s time to share the monarchy. Data technology is finally worthy of the throne and everyone involved will be better off if content and advanced TV data rule together.

Data unlocks the profitability of content

If you can produce great content, you will get an audience. But in the TV industry, content can’t work alone. Content owners can’t start making the big bucks until they can prove to advertisers that they have an audience. To have insights about your audience you need data. Once you have the data to credibly show you have an audience, brands and agencies come with their wallets open.

Content owners can’t start making the big bucks until they can prove to advertisers that they have an audience.

In other words, content brings the crowd while data brings the profit. Sounds like one can’t really rule without the other.

Advanced TV data is becoming the new norm

Not all data is created equal in the TV industry. TV analytics can range from slow or unreliable to immediate and precise. Like it or not, immediate and precise data hasn’t been an option in the TV industry.

AdWeek’s Jason Lynch quotes David Cohen to perfectly summarize the struggle the industry has had with TV data.

For years, media buyers have struggled with the disconnect between the “inordinate amount of time” they spend defining custom targets and audiences for their clients, “and then ultimately, when we go to market, we end up buying a Nielsen age/sex demo, adults 18-49. It’s entirely disingenuous to the front part of the process,” said David Cohen, president, North America, Magna Global.

The immediate and precise data–advanced TV data–is just starting to enter the picture. And unsurprisingly, the big media players are thrilled about it. Media companies, including ABC, A&E Networks, AMC Networks, CBS, CW, ESPN, Viacom, Fox, and others, gathered in late 2017 to consider alternatives to traditional approaches to TV analytics, with the ultimate hope of finding a solution to TV ad attribution. Their quest for superior TV ad metrics is in its infancy. Its existence, however, shows the impact good, reliable data is having on the TV industry.

Any content owner looking for solutions to data-related pains has technology on its side. Smart TVs, for example, can serve up device-level, real-time audience reporting. This kind of precision became available only recently, and while the data itself is nice, the implications of the data are even more significant.

Advanced data is the foundation for truly addressable TV

I mentioned earlier that content in the TV industry can’t maximize revenue opportunities without data. Content promises revenue by attracting an audience, but data delivers on that promise by proving the existence and details of that audience. This is what ultimately attracts advertiser dollars. Another way data has recently brought in more profit is by facilitating targeted advertising. When you couple household demographic data that extends beyond age and sex with dynamic ad replacement technology, you’ve created the holy grail of TV, the purest form of targeted TV advertising: addressable TV.

If you can produce great content, you will get an audience. But in the TV industry, content can’t work alone.

Content owners can instantly expand their revenue streams, charge higher CPMs, and maximize the return on all their inventory by tapping into the budding addressable market. A recent post on our blog explores how to fit addressable TV into your ad budget. The point I want to make here, though, is that advanced TV data really is the key to succeeding as a content owner.

We’re going to need a loveseat-sized throne

Occasionally, the industry debates the supreme rule of content. People argue that distribution or other pieces of the media’s infrastructure should have the title “king.” (Other writers have assigned distribution the status of queen.)

I’m not here to challenge content’s throne. I agree that this industry revolves around content. I’m simply proposing that we expand the throne, at least in the broadcast TV industry. Let’s embrace advanced TV data and let it rule with content.

Sam Petersen
Sam Petersen
Content Marketing Manager
Sam is a conflicted marketer. He loves being creative, but also thrives on numbers and analytics. Sam has worked in several messaging-focused roles during his career, including journalism, PR, product marketing, and now, content marketing. When he's not stewing over his conflictual identity, he heads to the mountains to hike, ski, run, etc.