The new group of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) announced today, dubbed Go Addressable, is looking to confront issues in addressable advertising such as simplifying the back-end process, aligning terminology and finding a consensus on planning data, says Larry Allen, VP and general manager, addressable enablement, Comcast Advertising.
“All of us individually have been doing our own thing and poking at this,” Allen says. “Selfishly we have local sales teams and have been enabling addressable within own footprint first and making sure we are getting it right. Now there is enough momentum, and the agencies have started to lean into audience-based buying.”
One hurdle is simply agreeing on what addressability means. There’s creative versioning, which is where a single advertiser creates multiple pieces of copy to then send to specific households; and audience addressability, where brands buy impressions against a specific audience and one ad unit is split among multiple advertisers.
“We are looking to find the commonality in how we do things and then identify gaps so we can take it back and address where we are each deficient,” Allen says.
While initially the consortium will just be made up of the MVPDs, the goal is to bring programmers, measurement and ad tech companies into the conversation as well.
Specifically, getting TV programmers to open up national inventory to addressable advertising has been an important step. Historically, only the two minutes of commercial time per hour sold by the MVPDs has been available to for addressable advertising. But TV programmers like A&E Networks, AMC Networks and ViacomCBS have run tests over the past year making some national inventory available to be addressable.
The consortium will not be unveiling any new products at the onset. The plan is to release thought leadership pieces and other educational material to the marketplace in the fall, Allen says.
The first order of business it to get these eight competitors on the same page. “We need to build trust,” Allen says.
There have been plenty of efforts over the past several years by TV rivals to come together to fend off digital behemoths like Google and Facebook. These groups include OpenAP, a consortium developed by TV programmers to standardize audience buying.
Go Addressable is meant to complement such groups, not replace them, Allen says.
Even Comcast developed an effort alongside Charter and Cox in 2019 to open up more addressable inventory. Those efforts will be sunsetted and replaced by this consortium.