Cynopsis’ 5th annual Big TV Conference was one for the books. During the last week of September industry experts provided their perspectives on streaming and linear challenges like measurement, the state of linear tv compared to streaming, sustainability, cost effective programming, understanding Gen Z, first party data, and more.
The event was Sponsored by New York Interconnect, the VAB, Premion, iSpot.tv, Locality, Kochava, Kargo, wurl, ARF Dash TV Universe Study, and Imagine Communications.
In case you missed it, dive into the short summaries of our favorite sessions below.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT 27th
Keynote Session With Jamie Lumley, Third Bridge Group Limited
When asked by moderator Lynn Leahey, editorial director at Cynopsis, about the challenges and opportunities in the industry, Jamie Lumley, an analyst at Third Bridge Group Limited emphasized that both revolve around the ongoing shift from traditional media to streaming, with cord-cutting and the rise of streaming companies.
The current cost of living has led consumers to be more lenient when it comes to choosing ad-tier models. Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown led to them seeing a subscriber increase of 100,000, and it looks like Amazon Video is now following in their footsteps.
“The big question facing the ecosystem today is as streaming continues to elevate, does the new media space have the same overall pie that traditional has? We don’t have the answer just yet, so as we continue to discuss finding this balance, finding the right way to build up these businesses is one of the key areas here,” Lumley explained.
What about local news and major sports, you’re wondering? According to Lumley, this has been a big area for the industry. “Different players are thinking about what sports rights they can afford. News will increasingly be a part of the streaming experience, and whether that can drive audiences to streaming is a big question.”
Finding a Cross-Platform Measurement Fit
In the words of Andrea Zapata, EVP and head of ad sales research, measurement and insights at Warner Bros. Discovery, the way God intended for us to watch TV was on our big TV screens, but now we consume it on various devices. Moderator Sean Cunningham, President and CEO of the VAB, led an engaging discussion where both executives outlined their measurement solutions.
“From the start at Warner Bros. Discovery, we were very clear that there are two different ways that you can activate against linear television,” Zapata explained. “One is using more data-driven tactics, and the other is how you measure it or, ultimately, how you transact against it.”
The research has shown this trend where content is being captured everywhere. “My sons are on the iPad more than the big TV,’ Jason Swartz, VP, advanced advertising, New Business, and National Sales at New York Interconnect. “We need better transparency for streaming,” Swartz continued, “so we are pushing way ahead of others to get reporting at the network level to understand how to place programmatic streaming programs in a specific space to find the audience.”
CTV’s Resilience: Reflecting on 2023, Charting 2024’s Path for Advertisers
While 2023 has been a year of resiliency and growth for streaming, the ecosystem must focus on taking the consumer-centric approach. Now is the time, more than ever, to pay more attention to your consumers’ needs and values and ensure that they align with your marketing priorities.
Yakira Young, content manager at AdMonsters, sat down with John Vilade, Head of Sales at Premion. When asked about the convergence shift and implications for sellers and advertisers, Vilade replied, “Sellers need good experience in selling both linear and streaming. If not, you’ll be left behind.”
He predicted 2024 to be a better year in advertising as we know it, considering the political election and Olympics taking place in the same year. His exact words were, “Streaming will win elections in 2024.”
According to Vilade, Premion has already started having conversations with government officials in DC, and there will be a bigger investment in streaming with this upcoming election. All in all, streaming is an interactive platform with an interactive audience. Buyers and sellers need to take advantage of this.
Steaming’s New Wave
By now, we’ve recognized that many CTV services and platforms are moving to an aggregated world. We saw this with Disney, Hulu and, ESPN, and Warner, and then HBOMax became Max and brought in the Discovery content. At this point, we also can search movie titles straight from our CTV platform.
There’s no doubt that streaming continues to grow in popularity. With this in mind, Verna Coleman, VP of brand partnerships and B2B Marketing at Canela Media, highlighted that for her and her team, reaching their audience “is all about the growth of the audience as the consumer population continues to rise.”
To adapt to changing audience behaviors, Bloomberg recently launched Bloomberg originals. “We did this in February with the intent of pulling some of that existing viewership that we have and extending their engagement and bringing in a little bit of a broader younger audience as well, “Travis Winkler, GM of video & audio at Bloomberg Media, explained. Originals focus on docuseries, docu-style content, and talk shows.
Chicken Soup for the Soul leans on a few things at its fingertips when sharing its core audience of about 40 million with the brands they work with. “We have the robot kiosk, which is a huge DOOH opportunity. Millions of people walk past it daily,” Maura Gray, SVP of marketing at Chicken Soup for the Soul, explains. “It leads to a huge marketability considering about 50% are signing up with their emails.”
Unlock the Power of Local TV: Combining the Value of Broadcast and Streaming
Local TV is often overlooked, but this reminds us that it is still at the forefront of our industry. Ann Hailer, President of Broadcast at Locality, and Keith Kazerman, President of Streaming at Locality, highlighted that most consumers live close to their homes, and retail planning is based on location intelligence and foot traffic.
“The concert of national marketing versus that local partnership or that local decision has to come with marketing that is tailored to that local marketplace,” Hailer explained.
The panelists weighed in on the challenges in unifying streaming platforms at the local level and the value of local news in building trust and brand reputation. They discussed the role of programmatic and acknowledged its benefits but also emphasized the importance of a consultative approach and human intelligence in understanding local nuances.
Moderator Albert Thompson, Managing Director of Digital at Walton Isaacson, mentioned programmatic and how he thinks programmatic needs to fix and address many things.
“Everything we do is automated, and that solves many of the complexities concerning programmatic at Locality,” Kazerman said.
How to Reach Sustainability Goals
Barber Lange Principal and CEO of Kibo121 and Dr. Laura Marks, Professor at Simon Fraser University talked about sustainability in the media industry, focusing on the significant carbon footprint and energy consumption associated with content creation, manipulation, and distribution.
The pair emphasized the need for measures to reduce the environmental impact, highlighting the rising energy use of information communication technology (ICT) and the consequences of streaming.
“The bigger the production, the more carbon footprint you have, our goal is to do more with less over time,” Lange stated. “Virtual productions are one way content creators can get around some of the energy issues, use your existing footage.”
“Film in lower resolution so that when you compress it, you won’t have to work so hard, the carbon footprint of streaming is due to devices,” Marks mentioned.
THURSDAY, SEPT 28th
Where Art Thou, Gen Z?
The impact of Gen Z’s entertainment consumption is a trending topic. Viewing habits have drastically changed, and while demystifying Gen Z won’t happen, we can work to understand them better.
“Brands and marketers must allow themselves to be criticized, but also stand out as a brand,” Drew Corry, SVP, group director of Strategic Investment and Marketplace Strategy at MAGNA. “From a content perspective, think about how you can get scripted to work in the context of social media.”
Let Hali Anastopoulo tell it, Gen Z knows authenticity like they know their ABCs. As co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Get Me Out Productions, she comprehends the significance of your values being reflected in your content. “It’s really important to be authentic with the content you’re making, the messaging, the marketing, and the campaigns you run,” she said.
Taryn Crouthers, President of ATTN: suggests thinking about how Gen Z is consuming content. “When casting for this audience, you don’t need a big A-list celebrity but those with a strong niche following.
Key takeaway? Trust and authenticity go a long way when reaching and engaging with Gen Z audiences.
The Q&A went both ways when Angelina Eng, VP of Measurement, Addressability, and Data Center at IAB, and Brian Lin, SVP of Product Management at TelevisaUnivision, took the stage together. It made for exciting dialog, listening to them share their insights regarding attention-based measurement.
Eng broke down the three ways she thinks about attention and measurement, those are:
- Physiological and neurological – Eye tracking, brainwaves, heart rate, blood pressure, anything that can be connected in a media lab, device, or camera.
- Data proxy – Signals coming specifically from a device or passed by publishers. It could be around behavior, engagement, and through a CTV system, laptop, or a mobile device.
- Cognitive and emotional data – focus groups, brain awareness studies, brand health studies, et cetera.
“Attention measurement is still in its infancy, and defining attention has been challenging, which is why we are looking at the three above approaches,” Eng said.
“I think it’s extremely interesting from a product standpoint. We must continue going against the grain of looking for opportunities to reach the marketer’s goal. We have to continue to experiment and grill those data providers by asking the hard questions,” Lin explained.
Artificial Intelligence: It’s Personal
On a panel moderated by Kristin Wnuk, SVP of Sales at Madhive, each panelist agreed that there are opportunities for brands and advertisers to use AI. The moral of the story is it’s less about what tools we can make in AI and more about how it is permeating everything we do as consumers and professionals.
Rich Frankel, Global Creative Director at Spotify Advertising, pointed out that AI will evolve at the speed of light. All we can do is be ready. “Understand what you’re letting AI look at to learn and how you’re managing the data it has access to,” Frankel suggests.
“There’s a lot to be done and to be optimized. The people who will be the most successful are those who approach AI with curiosity. Curiosity is the beginning of creativity,” Nicky Lorenzo, SVP, Executive Creative Director of 305Worldwide, added.
“2024 will be the year of targeting in terms of AI and influence,” Will Heins, Partner at Brandtech, closed us out with this.
Finding – And Retaining – The Employees You Need Now
Karen Gray, EVP of HR and Head of DEI at A+E Networks, Artis Johnson, HRBSN Partner at TV One, and Christine Guilfoyle, President SEEHER, sat down to talk about the importance of empathy, honest conversations, and fostering a culture that values employees needs and perspectives.
“Seen, heard, and valued are truly at the heart of what DEI&B strategies are about,” Guilfoyle said. The fully virtual mentorship dynamic had to reshape itself. I think the return to the office is amazing for Gen Z employees because of the mentor sponsorship aspect of it. I’m not sure they know what they’ve missed out on.”
“Employees are the reason we are here. They are the ones pushing out the work,” Johnson added. How can we exhibit a connection to a consumer or community if there is no community internally within the organization? In a hybrid environment, when employees challenge their higher-ups, it gives the executives no choice but to change how they manage. This is how growth happens at the top down.”
“Retaining employees saves money. If there’s a revolving door, there is no retention,” Gray said.
What A Brand Wants
Shortly after a quick beer and wine break, Betsy Paynter, director of US Media at Heineken, Greg Miller, VP/account director of Eicoff, and Jeremy Herbert, VP of marketing at We Buy Any Car hashed out the need for brands to adapt and optimize their strategies for CTV with the evolving role of data at the forefront.
“There’s a bit of a difference between performance marketing and brand marketing, but at the end of the day, everyone is very excited about how CTV will evolve in delivering data, Moderator Rachel Herskowitz, VP of Brand Partnerships at iHeartRadio, said.
“Measurement regiment is better now than ever,” Miller pointed out. “You can certainly learn a lot, and there are tools out there today where you can put linear and CTV on the same plane.”
“I think the next stage is to get more joined up in our first-party data and the first-party data of media providers and the platforms. We can make beautiful things happen together,” said Herbert.
At Heineken, Paynter showcased the sensitivity about what they can and cannot buy into. “Context is super important, and I think having a more transparent view of what programming is doing well is super helpful,” she stated.
Feel the Churn: Strategies for Boosting Subscriber Engagement
When each panelist was asked the one thing they think needed to be fixed in order to increase subscriber engagement here is what they had to say:
Jon Giegengack Founder and Principal of Hub Entertainment Research: “Do a better job of showing people things that will interest them and surprise them in lieu of throwing everything at the wall and expecting that you’re going to win by volume.”
Eric Sorensen DIrector of Streaming VIdeo Tracker at Parks Associates: “We talked alout about personalization and I think there is certainly an opportunity to make it a better experience. I think we will see some consolidation that makes that process easier.”
Monica Williams SVP of Digital Products and Operations at NBC Unicersal: “Discovery experience is part of the total content experience, so I hope to see a deeper collaboration between publishers and platform partners in terms of support.”