Making Cross-Platform Planning a Reality with Data and Technology

By Kevin Maloy

Like most industries, the national broadcasting sector has had to adapt to tremendous change in recent years. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the rise of streaming giants, seismic shifts in how media is being consumed, including an upheaval around measurement, privacy, and identity. This is not to mention additional factors such as platform fatigue, audience saturation, and inventory scarcity. In order to keep up with this rapidly evolving media ecosystem, broadcasters need to figure out how to make significant changes to stay relevant.

Not only do broadcasters need to stay on top of these changes, but so do their advertiser clients. Modern-day marketers must respond to evolving consumer behavior as instant access to massive amounts of content allows consumers to view whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want. Advertisers need to find their audiences and get in front of them wherever they are watching. To stay relevant, broadcasters need to develop a deep understanding of these new complexities and find solutions.

Against the backdrop of these ultra-fast-paced paradigm shifts, it is somewhat ironic that the upfronts are stronger than ever. Upfront transactions, an industry tradition since the 1960s, still fuel the premium video advertising ecosystem today, and they are not going away for the foreseeable future. Both buyers and sellers continue to see the value in a futures market that trades in bulk. Strip away the parties and the presentations, the economic model still works for both sides.

Digital video is already part of the upfronts and has been for some time, but as traditional linear TV companies morph into portfolio companies of linear and digital assets, it becomes increasingly important to represent those assets holistically across an entire portfolio during the upfront. If digital video is not a foundational part of the upfront, the industry runs the risk of bifurcating the buying and selling operation, further entrenching silos for both agencies and sellers.

Even with the continuing presence of upfronts, the changes afoot must be addressed. Media owners must adapt or risk extinction. While the future remains unpredictable, there are two baseline assumptions that forward-thinking, enterprising broadcasters should consider when developing a cross-platform strategy:

  • Digital video will compose an increasingly larger proportion of the total media portfolio sold by traditional media companies. Digital streaming through AVOD, virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), and direct-to-consumer (DTC) applications will account for more and more of the total time consumers spend watching TV.
  • For the foreseeable future, linear TV will persist as a profitable avenue for advertisers to reach consumers with brand messaging. There is no better medium for top-of-the-funnel reach, even with declining viewership. And, with the help of technology, linear TV continues to evolve in accessing the best parts of digital with data-driven linear and addressability.

It's clear that the future for broadcasters needs to be set simultaneously in the virtual content channels of the burgeoning digital space and the traditional distribution platforms of linear TV. To solve this puzzle, broadcasters must find a cross-platform solution that tackles the need for convergence across both linear and digital video. That solution is possible only through the collaboration of meaningful data and advanced technology.

How can technology eliminate the complexities of planning in a world of converged media? The key lies in unification. Unification of audiences, media, and measurement. Getting a holistic view is key to the success of broadcasters and their clients. This means planning disparate buys across platforms and linking as much of that inventory together as possible for a standardized view of cross-platform exposure.

The next step is then activating in a way where your fragmented media buys are aware of each other, and not operating in silos. This allows for optimized reach, frequency, or any other number of metrics across platforms in the most efficient manner possible.

The field of ad tech players is crowded but finding the right technology that provides a holistic view and looks to the future to predictably allocate media across a broadcaster's portfolio will be a game-changer.


The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


Kevin Maloy is the VP of advanced TV solutions at Amobee.