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TV majors unite for video advertising voice

For the first time, an association will combine the biggest broadcast networks, cable networks, and distributors to advance the power of video advertising. The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) will replace the longstanding Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB). The VAB’s goal in uniting nearly all broadcast and cable networks with MVPDs is to raise the bar on research, data and analytics, and expand the market for advertising in professionally produced video content.

“Our industry is changing rapidly, however one constant is the unquestionable power of television to reach consumers with advertiser messaging,” said Joe Abruzzese, President, Advertising Sales at Discovery Communications and inaugural Co-Chair of the VAB. “By broadcasters, cable networks and distributors coming together in this unprecedented way, VAB members will share expertise and insights, put forward original research and push toward a common goal of elevating television’s leadership in driving product sales and brand affinity for clients.”

In all, the VAB comprises 110 networks and the 11 largest MVPDs. VAB members produce and sell the overwhelming majority of video content, and likewise command the vast majority share of viewer attention. This attention advantage manifests across all screens – TV, desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone – totaling 80 per cent (140 hours) of the 175 hours/month Americans devote to the universe of ad-supported TV, Google/YouTube, AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Facebook.

“The time has come for the TV industry to be represented holistically with the power of the content superseding the differences in distribution,” said Rino Scanzoni, Chief Investment Officer for media buyer Group M. “This will clearly advance the share of voice for the industry and support the initiatives that will provide incremental value to advertisers as technology, data and consumer choice change the dynamics of the medium.”

The VAB’s top priority is commissioning research on two levels – quantifying the primary role that ad-supported TV plays in generating consumer sales traffic, and clarifying attribution in the modern media mix.

“We are proud to work alongside our expanded membership of broadcasters and cable networks at the Video Advertising Bureau to expand the thought leadership on best practices and insights for marketers,” said Joan Gillman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Time Warner Cable Media and inaugural Co-Chair of the VAB. “Our collective goal is to help our clients make stronger connections with consumers where they watch, when they watch, and on any device.”

Content over distribution

VAB members are creating the next ways for advertisers to capitalise on the attention advantage, from data platforms to addressable TV advertising. In unison, the innovations can refine the state of the art of video advertising.

“There is no substitute for quality content in the presence of valuable data and insights,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships at NBCUniversal. “It only makes sense to expand this organization’s focus to reflect the rapidly changing premium video environment and strengthen the research it can provide to content creators and advertisers regardless of platform — it doesn’t matter where the content is consumed, it only matters that it’s great.”The more ways viewers can get video, the more they continue to choose premium TV content. According to researcher GfK’s 2014 UK-US SVOD study, TV content accounts for 88 per cent of all streaming activity in the US.

“The media landscape is changing rapidly but one thing remains a constant: premium TV content is still the most powerful environment for advertisers,” said Jo Ann Ross, President, Network Sales, CBS Television Network. ”We are committed to helping our clients leverage this content effectively across multiple screens, and are pleased to be joining other broadcast and cable networks in this important initiative.”

Cross-screen commitment

Leading the VAB will be the executive team that has run CAB for the past 12 years, during which time cable ad revenues have grown by 80 per cent. Sean Cunningham will be President & CEO; Chuck Thompson, EVP; Danielle DeLauro, SVP/Strategic Sales Insights. Together they will give advertisers one source for the best research, insight and perspective on video advertising. Importantly, this will include new primary research on the impact of TV advertising.

“We congratulate the CAB and the broadcast community as they converge to become the VAB,” said Bob Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers. “Multi-screen TV content is among marketers’ most important assets. The creation and evolution of the VAB will further marketers’ sophistication, insights and understanding of these assets as they seek to improve their marketing and media management and more successfully build their brands and business results.”

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