Thoughts From The 2012 TVOT Conference: Where Are The Marketers?

Yesterday, Researcher Mike Glantz on my team attended the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) conference in New York City. Practically from the conference floor, here is what he had to say:

"The conference was a packed house of technology vendors, data providers, advertising agencies, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and TV networks all discussing their collective vision for the future for TV as we know it. I wasn’t able to catch all the panels, but some key themes I noted from the ones I was able to attend:

  • Multitasking has changed how TV is measured. Measurement companies like Nielsen, Comscore, and Rentrak are fully aware of how consumers are multitasking with laptops, smartphones, and tablets and the additive effects multitasking has on TV watching. All three are taking steps to build single-source measurement panels that can accurately track cross-platform media exposure. On the startup side, companies like Bluefin Labs and Trendrr showed some of the ways they are tapping into social media data to uncover cross-platform engagement for TV shows.
  • Technology companies and TV programmers are ready to engage their audiences on second screens. I was continually impressed by announcements and demos from Shazam, Ensequence, Zeitera, and TVplus that showed how mobile applications (and soon TV themselves) can seamlessly sync to TV shows and instantaneously provide additional show content and co-branded ads.
  • The TV industry no longer fears the DVR. Despite rises in time-shifted viewing, many TV executives are bullish on the potential for effective advertising during time-shifted programming. Although the market for such ads is still immature and nascent, companies like Black Arrow and Canoe Ventures are focused on enabling dynamic ad insertion (DAI) that would allow marketers to target ads within DVRs. Many panelists were also excited about the intersection of social media and TV and social media’s ability to enhance appointment-based TV. Mediabrands CEO, Matt Seiler, was quick to dismiss his own prediction that DVRs would kill the watercooler and said that social media has created new digital watercoolers that people use to engage with friends wherever they are.
  • The jury is still out on who owns the planning and buying of over-the-top (OTT) video ads. In the “wild west” of connected TV advertising, panelists disagreed on the need for standards across vendors, marketplace consolidation, and which side of the media agency should be responsible for planning connected TV campaigns. Ashley Swartz, leader of ITV at Digitas, eloquently argued for digital media agencies to handle connected TV ads, since they have the planning, trafficking, and analytics expertise control needed to run connected TV ads. However, others felt that connected TV ads, by their very nature and device, should be run by TV agencies with larger budgets.
  • But where were the marketers? For all the excitement, innovation, and predictions made about the future of TV advertising at the TVOT conference, I heard very little from the actual marketers and advertisers that will be necessary to fund TV’s coming interactive Renaissance. Make no mistake, at Forrester we are very bullish on changes coming to TV in audience measurement, social TV, and integrated media planning (client access only), but I wished there were more marketers at the TVOT conference willing to share their success stories. Right now, many marketers are still experimenting with new innovations in TV and are unsure of how to leverage new TV advertising technologies to optimize their media mix, target audiences more efficiently, and engage viewers on the second screen. As consumer behavior continues to shift and adoption of new devices accelerates, will 2012 be the year that advanced TV gains traction with mainstream marketers?"

Are you a marketer experimenting with advanced TV ads around connected devices or second screens? We’d love to hear more about your plans, here or in The Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals. Kudos to Tracy Swedlow and the entire InteractiveTV Today team for putting on such an informative and exciting conference.