Commentary: Impending Challenges in Advanced TV Could Complicate the Digital and Broadcast Team Divide


This article originally appeared in AdExchanger

By: James Moore, Chief Revenue Officer at

The introduction of connected TV (CTV) and streaming platforms has enriched consumers’ lives and pushed content to new heights, but on the back end, it has created a land of confusion within some brands and the advertising agencies that support them.

Both broadcast and digital teams have a stake in the game, but executives are in some cases wrestling to determine which team – digital or broadcast – will ultimately own CTV within the agency. The two teams individually bring unique advantages to the table, yet many are struggling as digital teams try to adapt to be more like broadcast teams, and broadcast teams attempt to translate digital to make it more comparable to the broadcast world that is their point of reference.

So, the question remains, who within the advertising agency owns the media budgets for video ads shown on web-enabled streaming or on-demand programming? The answer is not black and white.

As TV is the single largest form of traditional media with the most eyeballs demanding the most dollars, advertising agencies have historically divided consumer reach into two buckets: digital and non-digital audiences. Once these two specialties have been clearly separated, each can focus on their specific tasks, which include unique workflow, vendors, terminology, planning, pricing, attribution, reporting and more.

Drilling down further into who’s actually doing the work, today’s advertising sales reps who have historically sold to digital investment teams are now also calling on linear investment teams, while sales reps who historically sold linear TV are now also calling on digital investment teams. The digital sales reps are being met with historical TV-specific workflows, planning, pricing, reporting requirements, etc. and reporting back to their companies that they must evolve faster to fit more easily into a TV buyer’s world using GRPs, broadcast calendars and trafficking systems. At the same time, traditional TV sales reps are being met with digital specific workflows, planning, pricing, attribution and reporting requirements.

While the growth in digital video via other devices and streaming services has been spectacular, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report in February, viewing on “traditional” TV networks still represents approximately 80% of total viewing. Hence, the bulk of TV and video budgets are managed by the TV buyers at agencies.

Sales reps are still learning from each other. Digital sales reps wish they could do what linear TV reps can do, and vice versa.

The changes – and the convergence of teams – won’t stop anytime soon. Over the next few years, we can expect other developments thanks to the rise in CTV, some of which will complicate the gaps between digital and broadcast teams.

  • The need for agencies and their processes to continue their migration from GRP planning to audience planning. In the past, TV buyers would curate buys across inventory as a proxy to reach their target demographic. Today, more marketers are curating the audience demographics and allowing technology to reach and serve impressions to consumers wherever and whenever they view content.
  • The ability to effectively and more precisely reach consumers and control frequency across multiple devices and creative types. Silo planning across creative types and devices should become a thing of the past if buyers embrace household-identity graphs. This means reach and frequency is not merely a TV metric, and advertising served on the TV can and should be part of a coordinated and measured effort across previously disconnected channels.
  • The definition of premium continues its migration from placement to performance. The history of digital advertising has proven that the right ad unit, to the right user who takes a measurable action, defines what is and is not premium. As TV attribution improves to better measure in-store incremental foot traffic and online incremental conversions, shows with higher viewership counts traditionally sold at higher CPMs will come under significant scrutiny, as ROI in its simplest form is “dollars spent divided by measurable outcome.”
  • The ability for both campaign budgets and impressions to be optimized via AI across devices and creative types. We are speeding into a world with more devices, more creative types, more targeting data and better attribution. As the number of variable factors increase per campaign, the variations of optimization and decisions multiply by the thousands, and the pressure to make the right decisions faster is a trend that isn’t going away. Mastering automation and embracing AI and the use of multivariate combinatorial bidding models is key.
  • Vendor and department consolidation due to the need for omnichannel workflow and trafficking technology. Ultimately the consumer experience for every form of creative crosses screens, and silo-based buying and measurement methodologies create problems for marketers. Having a unified view into an audience and the ability to control and measure touchpoints and results is a utopia that the industry continues trying to solve.

Connected TV has truly changed the advertising industry in the past few years, but as we’ve learned, it will only continue to evolve, and agencies need to be prepared to meet the demand for this changing landscape. Digital buyers will see more TV buying personnel engaged in their planning and execution of digital campaigns. Digital CTV technologies will find their way into integrated relationships with legacy TV software applications common across the TV buyer landscape.

Getting this right as every screen becomes digital and interconnected will require nearly every individual in the media-buying supply chain to evolve in some way.