Top Cable Operators Issue Playbook for Addressable Ads

Marcien Jenckes of Comcast (Image credit: Comcast)

The advertising sales arms of top cable operators Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox Communications have produced a playbook designed to help distributors, programmers, media buyers and advertisers take advantage of their addressable advertising capabilities.

The playbook is the latest step in the cable operators’ On Addressability initiative started in 2019 as a way to increase the effectiveness and value of television advertising.

Hear More About The Playbook at the Advanced Advertising Summit Tuesday: Comcast’s Marcien Jenckes, Charter’s David Kline and Cox’s Louis Gump are keynote speakers. Register now.

Featured in the playbook, available to anyone in the industry via the website, a step-by-step technical guide to help programmers and distributors launch addressable advertising, a buyer’s guide to addressable TV and a sellers guide to addressable TV advertising. There are also definitions of terms used in addressable advertising and an overview of standards that the group hopes the industry will adopt in order achieve scale and simplicity of use.

“Since the launch of On Addressability, we’ve been talking with major programmers and distributors to help marketers incorporate addressability into their TV strategies to drive better results. Despite this progress, however, there are still challenges for both buyers and sellers alike. That was the impetus for the playbook,” said Marcien Jenckes, president, Comcast Advertising. “The timing could not be better. In the current environment, advertisers are ready to pivot, and we need to be ready, too. The technology is there. Now we just need to bring advertisers a more scalable and consistent offering – and do it quickly.”

Related: Comcast Tries to Unite Cable Industry on Addressable Ads

Traditional television advertising growth was slow before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing business and forcing those that were open to rethink how they were spending their advertising dollars. 

The industry has touted addressable advertising--the ability to send different targeted messages to different audiences rather than broadcast the same commercial to all viewers--as a way to be more effective and better compete with digital media.

With different distributors using different technology and protocols in different parts of the country, advertisers and media buyers found it complicated to do addressable ad campaigns at scale, leading to calls for industry-wide standards and more cooperation and interoperability among cable operators and other distributors.

The Advanced Advertising Summit has more on Addressable Advertising: Top execs from Xandr, Nielsen, Canoe and Ampersand are panelists Tuesday. Register Now.

The On Addressability campaign is designed to tell marketers that the industry now has the capability to run campaigns at scale and that it has become easier to plan, buy and evaluate addressable TV campaigns.

David Kline

David Kline (Image credit: Charter Reach)

“To maximize the value that television brings to marketers as a full-funnel solution, we must ensure that addressability rolls out in a secure, simple, and scalable way,” said David Kline, executive VP, Charter Communications and President, Spectrum Reach. “This will take the commitment of the entire television advertising ecosystem. As a frontline distributor of addressable solutions, Spectrum Reach is eager to work with our partners Comcast and Cox to share our thinking and learnings and help accelerate this process.”

Related: AMC Networks Signs Up With Addressable Ad Group

In June AMC Networks signed up with the On Addressability partners and said it would make a portion of its commercial inventory available for addressable advertising. In July, Discovery also signed up for On Addressability, saying it would be offering advertisers the ability to dynamically insert ads into programming in both video on demand and linear environments.

Related: Discovery Joins MSOs’ On Addressability Initiative

One constraint on addressable advertising is the only inventory available to cable operators is the two minutes of local advertising time in each hour of programming the get as part of their distribution agreements with networks.

Louis Gump

Louis Gump (Image credit: Cox)

Addressable advertising is particularly useful at a time when brands are carefully scrutinizing how to spend their marketing dollars and analyzing the results of their advertising investments, the operators said.

“The interest in data-driven, audience-based TV advertising strategies from both media buyers and TV sellers has never been stronger, and we face a set of common challenges to realize our full potential,” said Louis Gump, senior VP, Cox Media. “The fastest way to clear these hurdles is to work together as an industry to determine best practices, improve processes, and share strategies for success. On Addressability is helping the industry move toward these goals, and the playbook is one tangible example of these efforts.”

The playbook’s buyer’s guide offers strategies for incorporating addressability into media strategies to drive specific advertising objectives

The seller’s guide has learnings on executing addressable TV campaigns for marketers with scalable and easy-to-use solutions.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.