With the pandemic came growing local news viewership – particularly during afternoons and evenings, as well as a resurging interest among marketers to merge their linear and OTT campaigns. In fact, according to a recent TVB report, researchers found that TV viewership among key demographics increased an average of 36% year-over-year, between the months of March and July.

To find out how data-driven solutions are fueling the TV industry’s evolution, Tim Jenkins, EVP, Head of Audience & Identity Solutions at Cadent spoke with Kurt Rao, SVP, Chief Technology Officer at TEGNA – the media company that operates countless local news affiliates, television stations and OTT channels – delving into what TV looks like from the inside, out. 

Catch a replay of the session, plus a recap, below.

In recent months, consumers and marketers have become acutely aware of the value of local news. As Kurt describes it, “As global as this pandemic is, its impact has been incredibly local.”

As Kurt Rao, SVP, Chief Technology Officer at TEGNA, describes it, “As global as this pandemic is, its impact has been incredibly local.”

This of course means that audiences are turning to local news stations, such as those owned by TEGNA, to find out what’s happening in their communities. 

Over the course of their conversation, a major topic of discussion was the importance of audience targeting and measurability, for both broadcast and OTT. As TEGNA built out their own in-house product, TEGNA Attribution, they were eager to partner with Cadent to leverage its identity solution. Identity allows networks to get one step closer to creating data-driven content that engages the audience. 

When you combine complementary digital platforms, or as Kurt put it, “find the breadcrumbs that go together,” you are able to create a more unified view of the consumer. From a measurement standpoint, Kurt explains that it comes down to how accurate your predictions can be when planning. Comparing linear and OTT, he says, “The goal is to be as deterministic as possible. And certainly on your digital platforms, you can be a lot more deterministic than on some of your linear platforms, where it’s a lot more probabilistic.”

According to Kurt, the “Holy Grail” for networks would be to get to the point where targeting allows for personalized content. For example, Kurt suggests that if you know, “if the audience that we’re reaching PhD-level audience or a high school-level audience, you can train your on-air talent on the kinds of words they use, the number of words per minute, and whether they’re truly resonating with the audience.” The idea that Identity could influence “what content we make, even before we make,” has the potential to revolutionize TV production. 

Another notable subject Kurt and Tim touched on was the potential for cross-channel linear and OTT campaigns. What they agreed upon is that the proof is there, but adoption has been slow. Kurt explains that linear TV buyers are used to traditional methods of buying, while digital buyers are very data-driven. Consequently, because the “real promise” of OTT is in leveraging richer data sets, it will take time and education before traditional TV buyers are ready for a true audience buy. 

The future of TV could take many paths. Offerings such as Cadent’s identity solution provide a gateway to data-driven buying for linear and OTT buyers alike. In the next few years, it will be up to networks and their technology partners to find innovative ways to make cross-channel buying less cumbersome, improving the pipes and mechanisms that exist today. 

Learn more about the future of data-driven TV advertising in our series, “Coming to Terms with TV Ad Terms.”

Posted by Cadent

Cadent powers the evolution of TV brand advertising by providing data-driven solutions for buying and selling TV advertising.