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Ready to Turn the Corner

Addressable advertising is ready to become television’s next big success story, said a panel of executives at B&C/Multichannel News’ “Advanced Advertising: The Future Is Now” event, held on Feb. 22 at New York’ Roosevelt Hotel. The key, according to the panelists, is whether media sales and marketing companies can educate clients on how addressable ads can work for them.

“I think [addressable advertising] is going to revitalize television,” said WE TV National Advertising Sales Executive VP Scott Collins. He was part of the panel “The View From Madison Avenue: Getting Market Buy-In,” moderated by B&C Business Editor Claire Atkinson.

Addressable advertising has picked up steam recently thanks to test results—such as the recent findings from a trial in Baltimore— that show targeted ads improve viewer tune-in and buyer efficiency. But Leap Media Group Principal Courtenay Harry said clients still express a lot of confusion about addressable advertising and need to be convinced of its efficacy before moving money from one part of their ad budget to the addressable space.

“It’s as if we’re re-teaching them how to buy television,” she said.

GroupM Emerging Media Director Michael Bologna, speaking at a Q&A after the panel, echoed Harry’s statements. “Addressable advertising is without a doubt the future of the business we’re in,” Bologna told the crowd at the Roosevelt. “The problem is there are so many players within this ecosystem.” He added that “there are no new advertising dollars,” meaning that any money going to addressable has to come out of the budget from another ad space.

While Harry said some clients have been “pioneers” in the interactive ad arena, she added that others have been sitting on the sidelines and still need to be convinced of its value.

One challenge is that the success of addressable campaigns can be difficult to measure.

“Scale is there as far as interactivity goes,” said Rich Forester, VP of ad sales at DirecTV, citing the more than 29 million households that are now set up for interactive advertising. “The results are tricky. For some people, 20,000 [targeted viewers] may be a home run. For others, 40,000 may not be enough.”

But in general, once advertisers get involved in interactive, they tend to stay there, the panelists said. While the initial buy is a challenge, renewal rates for interactive campaigns are high.

“It’s such a great time to be in this space,” Harry said. “We’re at mile 24 and we’re about to turn the corner.”