Cable, Broadcast Team to Create Video Ad Group

Broadcasters and cable networks will team to form a new organization focused on maximizing advertising potential through quality content on traditional TV outlets.

The newly named Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) -- formerly the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau -- will look to unite broadcast and cable networks as well as MPVDs in an effort to “raise the bar” on research, data and analytics as well as expand the market for advertising in “world class” video content, according to Sean Cunningham, who will serve as president and CEO of the VAB.

“At this point there’s a need to get everyone together because the stats are overwhelming for consumption, and the needs are significant in terms of better data and more insights,” Cunningham told Multichannel News. “We hope to have to get insights around consumer behavior and analytics about how to best quantify the selling power of this instrument.”

Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales at Discovery Networks and inaugural co-chair of the VAB, added that while the industry is changing rapidly, the one constant is the power of television to reach consumers with advertiser messaging. “By broadcasters, cable networks and distributors coming together in this unprecedented way, VAB members will share expertise and insights, put forward original research and push toward a common goal of elevating television’s leadership in driving product sales and brand affinity for clients,” Abruzzese said.

The VAB will include 110 networks and the 11 largest MVPDs that, Cunningham said, produce and sell the overwhelming majority of video content and command the vast majority share of viewer attention. He added the newly formed association will combine the biggest broadcast networks, cable networks and distributors to advance the power of video advertising.

“I think this move just reinforces the fact that the membership base is very eager to work with marketers and help them make decisions and make sure they have the right information to make those decisions,” said Joan Gillman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Time Warner Cable Media and inaugural Co-Chair of the VAB. “It’s a really effective move on the part of the CAB/VAB.”

Cunningham also said the group has been holistically looking at all ad-supported TV since January in preparation for its transition.

“There is no equivalent to this either through a consumer connection or the ability to sell,” Cunningham said.

While the organization will focus on broadcast and cable networks and programming, Cunningham didn’t rule out possibly working with digital players, including ad-supported over-the-top services in the future.

“In this environment you have to be open to a lot of possibilities including any premium content … our doors and minds are open,” he said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.