On the heels of the upfront presentations, there were two major trends that came up time and again this year: Mergers & Streaming. And as has been the case in recent years, each network group took turns touting their ‘scale and brand safety’, while trying to compel the advertisers and agency attendees that their best bet would be to spend their marketing dollars with them instead of their competitors. Mergers and Acquisitions Between ABC/Fox/Disney, Warner/Turner/ATT, and NBCU/Comcast – these massive evolving media conglomerates were front and center during upfront week and were prime targets of the comedians as well. “Because it’s AT&T, the reception will be very bad. Because it’s AT&T, the after-party will only have two bars,” Conan O’Brien joked at the upfront presentation, poking fun at the new parent company of WarnerMedia. It’s becoming harder and harder for these network groups to cover each of their properties in one presentation, but they all tried. Comcast/NBCU were able to cover NBC, Bravo, USA, Oxygen, SyFy, Telemundo, NBC Sports, and E! in just over 90min. Thanks to the Disney acquisition, Fox’s presentation focused only on the network’s primetime programming and sports, since Disney now owns most of their cable properties. And Disney sure had a lot to share. Their 2.5+ hour presentation covered ABC, ESPN, Disney, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic. Turner Media has also been renamed to the aforementioned WarnerMedia. They covered TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network / Adult Swim, Bleacher Report, and CNN in a swift hour and 15 minute presentation. What it means The synergies across multiple properties within one network group should allow for more comprehensive cross-property and cross-platform marketing solutions for our clients. Consolidation of ownership is not always a good thing from a competition standpoint. But as a savvy team, we’ll find ways to use these changes to our advantage and leverage our media dollars to secure the best opportunities. Streaming is King Everyone is coming for Netflix. With live TV viewership continuing to decline, networks are looking to where the eyeballs are migrating – streaming services. After proudly touting The Office as the #1 show on Netflix, Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Client Partnerships at NBC Universal, informed the audience that they would soon be launching their own ad-supported service. WarnerMedia made a similar announcement on Wednesday morning – another yet-to-be-named streaming service. CBS and CW also made time in their presentations to discuss their already live services. But the biggest streaming news came out just hours before the Disney/ABC presentation on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that they had taken full operational control of Hulu by virtue of the extra 30% share they acquired from Fox. With their stake in Hulu, and Disney+, which is expected to rollout in November, Disney is poised to make an impact in the streaming space. What it means This biggest story in the video landscape over the last few years has been the migration from live TV to streaming. There is only a finite number of ratings that networks can sell, and each year that number shrinks. Over the last few years, networks have been pushing budgets towards their full episode players and over-the-top devices to capitalize on these additional impressions. While adaption was slow to take hold, it is now the new norm and is expected to grow over the coming years. Adding this element to media plans is a necessity to keep pace with changing consumption patterns. Remaining Questions and Predictions While the newly formed media-monopolies and their streaming services seemed to generate the most buzz during upfront week, there was plenty more packed into the presentations. Here are some additional big questions that advertisers were left with, and how our team at AMP sees them playing out: How will CBS and ABC be affected by the departure of their biggest shows, Big Bang Theory and Modern Family? There are certainly big holes to fill, but networks are put in this situation every year. CBS will fill their slot with The Unicorn, a new comedy about a widowed father, and ABC will have one more season of Modern Family before they’re forced to fill that slot. How is The Masked Singer a successful show? The Masked Singer had some great lead-ins when it premiered this January, and FOX has been promoting the program heavily. While successful in season one, ratings declined each week, and it would not be surprising to see lackluster numbers for season two as the novelty wears off. Will viewers adapt as TBS veers away from comedy with dramas like Snowpiercer? Snowpiercer seems like a perfect fit for the sister network, TNT alongside Claws and Animal Kingdom, so placing it on TBS is an interesting choice. Viewers may take a little while to adjust, but expect lots of promotion across the old Turner networks. Can CW continue its success in finding younger viewers with more superhero shows (Batgirl), and a Riverdale spinoff (Katy Keene)? CW knows exactly who they are. While not a linear ratings giant, they serve younger audiences well and excel in the FEP space. We expect CW to continue over-performing with the hard to reach younger demographics. The television industry has seen some major changes in the past few years, and buyers have been forced to adapt and evolve. Networks, advertisers, and viewers are all shaking things up and keeping the industry on its toes, creating a media buying landscape that it is constantly changing. We’re excited to see how this all plays out this coming TV season, and we’ll be back at it next year with more trend analyses and predictions for the 2020 season and beyond.
I recently read a stat from CMO.com that said 56% of consumers feel more loyal to brands who “get me” and show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences. It reminded me of a conversation I had at an event with a woman who walked up to me and said, “Can I ask you a private question? Just what in the heck is a DMP?” Those two things highlight the disparity between the need for data-driven, personalized marketing and just how tough it is to figure out how to do it. The woman at the event who asked me that question is not alone – I get asked some form of it all the time and from really experienced, savvy marketers. They know that they need to care about data’s impact in their campaigns and they usually have some great ideas for how to personalize content so it’s meaningful for their customers. However, they are absolutely lost when it comes to understanding how to capture, analyze, and actually use the data. A data management platform (or, DMP) is extremely helpful for that, but it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to build and maintain one. With the number of MarTech tools growing exponentially every year, most marketers don’t even know where to start. Add to that the significant investment in money and time as well as a potentially foggy ROI and it can be easy to slip into analysis paralysis. Since I get asked so frequently, I thought it would be helpful to start with the basics on what the heck a DMP is and what kind of campaign results can be garnered using one. To start, a DMP is basically just a big database that stores a bunch of different data points on your current and potential customers. It can be populated using 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data which is then combined to identify patterns in the way your target audiences shop, spend their free time, consume media, and move about the world. Using a DMP, marketers have the ability to get deep insights into their customers, such as what other retailers they visit and how frequently they are viewing their website versus going into stores. When paired with media trafficking systems, like a demand-side platform (DSP), a DMP is able to use those insights to inform personalized media campaigns and deliver messages to consumers at just the right time and on the right device. They are pretty amazing things. Of course, that amazingness can come at a hefty cost. There are plenty of vendors out there who will set up your own DMP using their infrastructure and your data; the average estimated cost to get started is around $250,000, not a small investment by any means. Maintaining and optimizing the data over time is an additional cost. Some companies do invest in building their own DMP, but with the necessary staff, servers, and security precautions, you can quickly surpass the cost to outsource. Before you feel you have been priced out of the game, I have good news. There are several companies, of which AMP Agency is one, who have gone through the hassle of setting up and populating their own DMP, allowing clients to use them for their campaigns for a fraction of the cost. AMP’s DMP is called Advantage Media MomentAware,™ and has been created by partnering with some of the largest data providers. Also through our partnerships with the largest retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in the world and our own 2nd party (proprietary data), we are giving our clients access to informed insights . We made this investment and continue to build on this proprietary data investment because we recognized that our media products wouldn’t be cutting edge without it; in fact, the market is evolving so quickly that pretty soon media products that don’t leverage insights from a DMP will be deemed obsolete. So, I’ve told you what DMPs are and how to get access to them, but how does using one impact results? Positively, of course. Here are a few examples of ways that a DMP could be used to build and optimize campaigns: Audience identification – one of our clients in the pet insurance space had low brand awareness and came to us to help with targeting prospective customers. They had small budgets and large conversion goals, usually a deadly combo when needing to get results quickly. We built our target audience by identifying the physical locations of dog parks, veterinarians, and pet stores across the nation; using anonymized data, we were able to identify patterns in frequent visitors to all three locations. We then built out a profile on their media consumption and determined the time of day to best deliver messaging for maximum conversion. The campaign improved their click through rate by nearly 250%, reduced cost by 83%, and increased lead efficiency by 19% Target specific stores – with MomentAware, you are able to use location-based targeting to deliver media to specific store locations. Have a store that has an abundance of inventory of one item? Run a campaign in the local area to drive in-store traffic. This also can be used to exclude locations that don’t have the item in-stock, particularly during promotions. Save your valuable media dollars to only spend where shoppers can take direct action v. running a blanket campaign. Connect online actions to in-store visitors – In a recent Salesforce consumer study, 52% of Millennial shoppers said they strongly/somewhat agree that it would help them if a physical store knew about the online research they had done prior to getting to the location (e.g. wishlists, abandoned cart, etc) so they could receive better service. Using MomentAware makes that possible – it associates mobile device IDs and cookies (computer) to understand site activity and when that device is in store. Imagine that the shopper gets a relevant ad or offer with a store locator when they are browsing prior to going to the brick and mortar location. Better, more relevant experience, both online and offline. With MomentAware, it’s easy. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using data in creative ways to deliver personalized experiences. Using a DMP is integral to activating on data quickly and easily. Are you using a DMP? Let us know your experience in the comments.