Advanced Advertising: Great Content Means Advertisers Have to Up Their Game

Just as the content side of the business enjoys the peak TV era, marketers aim for the same level of performance with their ads. Julie Sterling, director of broadcast partnerships at Google, spoke of "really high expectations" among viewers on both fronts. "How do we enable [content owners] to deliver a seamless and measurable experience across all platforms?" said Sterling.

Sterling shared the stage for the keynote conversation The Seller alongside Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales and partnerships, Walt Disney Company. Jon Lafayette, business editor, Broadcasting & Cable, and senior content producer, Multichannel News, moderated.

Ferro said standout creative remains a top priority as advertising improves its game. "In a world where the data becomes better and more rich, and the technology is better," she said, "the differentiator is great storytelling."

Even with advertising getting more targeted, Ferro said Disney is focused on delivering a more varied stream of spots to targeted users. That comes from a wider pool of advertisers, and from marketers serving up more varied creative. "Seeing the same ad so many times creates a turn-off reaction," she said.

As digital content improves the experience for users, the execs spoke about the best practices of both linear and digital advertising converging for a sharper gameplan among networks. The word "seamless" popped up several times in the panel.

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"As a tech partner, it's our job to enable Disney and other partners to sell in any way they want," said Sterling. "We think of ourselves as enablers in this partnership."

Google knows digital "exceptionally well," she said. Her team's focus is "making sure programmers have everything they need to sell the most effectively."

Ferro spoke of the importance of seamless message delivery. "Having the right partner to execute on that was critically important," she said.

She said taking on the various Fox networks and studio at Disney--the acquisition closed last week--was "a privilege and an honor," and was intrigued by the gambling space. "We think that's an opportunity for us," she said. "We're looking into, what's our role in that space."

It won't see Disney taking bets, she said.

Ferro called upfront season a "very peculiar time of year." She envisions a sellers' market this time around. "It's a different marketplace," she said. "Anything can change in a minute."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.