Complexity is too often a defining characteristic of advanced TV (ATV) media. Inclusive of addressable linear and digital television that support sophisticated, audience-based targeting, the ATV media market is challenged with fragmentation — across viewership, media ownership, content delivery and paths to the TV set. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to scale consistent, audience-based targeting.
Winterberry Group’s latest research — Outlook for Identity in Advanced Television: Challenges and Opportunities (sponsored in part by TransUnion) — dives into perspectives from US and European industry experts in data, technology, identity and measurement to understand the challenges and changes shaping the ATV media ecosystem.
The report finds media buyers are racing to adapt to a world where TV viewership is split between linear and digital landscapes — especially as more audiences are infrequently or not at all connected directly to linear TV. In answer to these and other changes brought on by an increasingly digital means of consuming TV, media buyers are pivoting to audience-based strategies where they can leverage ATV’s digital targeting capabilities to extend reach, target growing segments, and enhance measurement and optimization.
To enable these precise, audience-based strategies, media buyers agreed a few challenges must be addressed, including the lack of:
- A common understanding of audiences across fragmented delivery paths to the viewer. Winterberry identified five buying paths to the household TV set: broadband ISP, gaming and streaming services, smart TV OEMs, set-top-box providers, and VOD and streaming apps. These paths offer an inconsistent view of audiences, impacting planning, activation and measurement.
- An understanding of the nuances of household-level identity. The emergence of ATV has brought into the spotlight an identity ecosystem where individuals and audiences are often reached through shared devices. Media buyers are challenged by the nuances of understanding these audiences — and particularly, household-based devices that historically weren’t as prevalent in digital advertising environments.
- A unified or interoperable identity solution. With the use of multiple identity solutions, walled identity gardens and approaches based on different data attributes and analytics, the accuracy, scalability, consistency and ease of an audience-based approach is compromised.
Identity — defined by the report as a combination of data attributes describing a person or household — is imperative to enabling audience-based strategies across individual and household-level devices, as well as across open and walled environments. With its ability to coordinate persistent recognition of audience members across devices and activation touchpoints, identity can enable most use cases within an ATV audience targeting strategy.
The research confirms the capabilities enabled by identity will inevitably lead it to play a major part in driving advanced TV advertising growth. Winterberry forecasts identity solutions spend within ATV will grow from $2.3 billion this year to more than $5 billion in 2026 — a 17.76% annual increase.
Winterberry identified a few ways identity is poised to help solve ATV’s unique challenges. Ultimately, media buyers and sellers will have to collaborate with a focus on interoperability to fully benefit from the role identity can play in recognizing, targeting and quantifying ATV audiences.
Discover the ways interoperability will occur, buying will simplify, and embedded identity solutions will allow for more effective data collaboration. Download Winterberry Group’s Outlook for Identity in Advanced Television: Challenges and Opportunities.