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Upfronts 2017: Data, Data, Data

April 20th, 2017   ||    by Melanie Brown   ||    No Comments

Every spring, TV networks host their annual upfront presentations—complete with their biggest and brightest stars. The pageantry showcases each network’s new shows and classic programming, and is designed to attract advertising dollars for the year ahead. And with this year’s upfronts nearly upon us, it’s clear 2017 is shaping up to feature a tight focus on data.

Setting the Stage

In recent years, upfront presentations have weighed data heavily, and this year’s offerings are set to continue this trend. With an increasing number of traditional media outlets and broadcasters embracing data year after year, the upfronts have become a venue where networks can not only highlight content, but feature audience data available to advertisers within that content.

So what will be the primary focus on data during this year’s upfronts? It won’t be on the adoption of data-driven buying like in previous years, but rather on the ability of advertisers to measure their data-driven campaigns uniformly, according to a February 2017 MediaPost article. Many ad executives predict further development of strategic partnerships between network groups and ad tech companies to make better use of all the rich data out there.

Bridging the Gaps

Back in 2015 and 2016, the TV industry was still adjusting to the concept of targeting audiences based on data. Upfronts drilled into the fact that audience data was now available and highlighted the amount of data each broadcaster had. This year is slated to hone in on the usability of that data to develop campaigns across a broader range of channels, including video on demand and digital video.

Advertisers on the cutting edge of the upfront market are pushing for an integration of traditional upfront commitments with digital video and over-the-top ad buys. In theory, omnichannel campaigns are the logical next step for advertisers—but that’s easier said than done. As marketers from Citi and Choice Hotels have found, buying audiences based on the same data across TV networks is difficult enough, and a lack of uniformity in campaign measurement hinders progress in omnichannel media buys, according to a March 2017 AdExchanger article.

Like anything, the upfronts take their time to evolve. This year continues to trend toward data, bringing the ad industry ever closer to its ultimate goals of omnichannel measurement and one-to-one addressability across platforms.

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