This TV buyer's biggest concern is measurement
Despite some high-profile M&A deals and new leadership at the top of the biggest TV networks groups, the biggest concern during this year’s upfronts seems to be the same as it has been for the last several years—the ineffectiveness of current measurement.
“If we don’t fix this, we are leaving money on the table,” says Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer, Omnicom Media Group North America.
While Sullivan says she doesn’t want to “be so negative about Nielsen,” she contends that with more data out there, the industry needs to “be smarter in terms of how we use it and not just get lost doing things the same way we have been doing it for 50 years because that’s what we’ve agreed to.”
She expects striking guarantees against business outcomes, like if a campaign drove people to test drive a car—or the holy grail, make a purchase—will play a bigger role in negotiations. “I believe a majority of our clients are ready to transact in that way.”
As it relates to how the M&A activity over the past year, including Walt Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets and AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, now rebranded as WarnerMedia, Sullivan doesn’t expect it to make a tremendous difference in the way these companies go to market, at least not this year.
The bigger impact, she says, will come when Disney debuts its direct-to-consumer streaming product, which is not ad-supported. “What does that do? Is their best content going to be on their networks? Is it going to be on their non-ad supported [platform]? What does that look like?”