Increased and accelerating (viewer) audience fragmentation will result in an increased need to combine TV with other media buys. TV is dominated by traditional advertisers who work based on reaching a broad audience populated by light and heavy buying customers. The majority (~80%) of their target buyers purchase infrequently and fall into the former category.
In digital media however, the lack of comprehensive targeting capabilities/practices to find light buyers, combined with an increasingly addressable media environment makes it challenging to support mass-market advertisers, their ad budgets, and operational and planning approaches. Premium video (TV) becoming more targeted tends to focus on people who are heavy buyers - the ones that advertisers need to reach the least. In 2021 traditional TV buyers will continue to try to extend their audience (through OTT/BVOD) for cross-platform buys but become increasingly open to new approaches.
Both large and small advertisers will have smaller budgets, which will compete for targetable audiences and drive up media costs. 2021 will see an acceleration in inventory and pricing pressure due to the continued shift to more e-commerce and the need to make up for the branding and awareness that physical stores have traditionally provided.
2021 will also see investments in multi-channel pricing support, forecasting, analytics, and more granular delivery to enable narrowly defined campaigns. These capabilities leverage both the demand from buyers and the ability to get persistent identifiers for premium content.
However, these identifiers, which consist of many persistent but anonymous users such as those accessing public broadcaster’s content, will not be shared with advertisers directly, especially outside the US. Additional privacy legislation prohibits sharing user profiles between business units of large organisations, and this will necessitate internal solutions. These factors will drive innovation in scaling targeted and measurable, privacy-compliant buying across media channels. The initial focus will be on data cleanrooms and related solutions, but there is no clear leadership in this area.
Overall, TV is well-positioned to address and benefit from these changes in 2021. Both advertisers and media owners must invest in bringing and iterating new ad offerings for early adopters, as well as refugees from the sinking cookie ship.