As TV’s Upfront Draws Near, More Addressable TV Commercials Will Be for Sale

TV Ad Sales Upfronts
always with honor for Variety

Madison Avenue is getting closer to realizing its dream of using TV advertising to talk to viewers in a style more akin to a one-to-one conversation

The future of the humble TV ad has long been described as the following: New data and interactive technology will trim the practice of throwing a diaper ad or a car spot at every single member of the audience. Instead, more marketers will use addressable technology that allows them to beam different ads to different household, all in the same “slot” in a commercial break.

Horizon, the independent media-investment company, will help deploy addressable ads in national linear inventory on networks owned by A+E Networks and Fox Corp. that appear in households that subscribe to Dish, SlingTV and DirecTV and on other networks and distribution systems. Horizon is working with Adcuratio,  an ad-tech company that helps create the addressable modules and has already started work with ViacomCBS. AMC Networks last year said it had worked with Omnicom Media Group and Volkswagen to run addressable campaigns on its flagship cable network during national commercial time,

The technology allows advertisers to run multiple versions of a commercial in the same unit of purchased inventory. Different commercial messages can be “pushed” to households using data about location, consumer preferences, or advertiser goals.  Adcuratio uses a specific identifier to match audiences with the attributes advertiser want.

“Utilizing Adcuratio’s technology to bring addressability to our national ad inventory brings an enhanced level of control to activating custom audience segments for our clients,” says Rachel Wallach-Baker, senior vice president and managing director of video investment at Horizon’s Horizon Next.

The addressable offer illustrates how eager TV networks are to court a growing category of advertising. A phalanx of so-called “direct response” marketers, who rely heavily on digital outreach to court customers, is gaining new influence on the networks. Marketers including online retailers like Wayfair and Warby Parker; upstart marketers such as Casper; and new-tech outlets like Spotify have come of age online but need TV ads to increase consumer awareness of their offers.  Even so, they are demanding a higher level of accountability from TV, because they get such granular tracking from their web-based marketing.