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Advanced Ads: Digital Ad Business Won't 'Cannibalize' TV

New York -- With the proliferation of non-traditional viewing, some in the industry fear that the rise in the digital ad business will displace television as ad dollars continue to move.

Dani Benowitz, executive vice president, managing partner, integrated investment for Universal McCann argues one benefits the other.

"They work hand in hand, I wouldn't say one is going to cannibalize the other," she said during a keynote discussion with Multichannel News' technology editor Todd Spangler at B&C/Multichannel News' advanced advertising event here Wednesday.

"Our media partners are certainly embracing both," Benowitz continued. "Ultimately, it's about content and finding the best place and the right time to reach consumers."

She admitted however, that consumers are "not sitting in front of the TV live anymore," before noting "we've seen people from a ratings standpoint go from the smaller screen back to the larger screen to watch more TV." She argued the bigger need is to learn what the right format and sizes are to best reach consumers.

"Digital is continuing to grow double digits," she said of UM's clients. "A lot of that growth is fueled from local [advertising]." She lamented the current state of dynamic ad insertion within the OnDemand space. "The ad experience in [that] environment is not great."

While Benowitz said interest in advertising across second screen operations is high, accurate measurement has been a slow process, which is one of the reasons TV ads will always have a place in the market: "Clients are talking to us a lot about social and Twitter and how does that fit into ratings." She said she's looking forward to Nielsen's proposed plan on measuring social TV.

With Netflix getting into the content game with House of Cards, Benowitz was asked if she could ever see some sort of advertising there. As long as it was done in the right way, she thinks it could be possible, but diplomatically said that it would be up to Netflix.

"We've seen people don't mind watching ads when they're getting what they want," she said. "You don't want to invade the space."