By Pippa Nutt, Chief Digital Officer

Video killed the radio star, digital killed magazines and newspapers, and guess what TV? You’re next.

The Mad Men era is over, but is that really such a bad thing?

Here are three ways Digital is changing traditional TV for the good (while continuing to steal those ad dollars!).

Digital is Forcing TV Advertising to be More Direct and Accountable

As digital matures, advertisers are more accustomed to the immediacy and transparency of results, and they are looking to get the same from all channels. TV is still in the dark ages in this respect, Canada in particular. No one wants to wait two weeks for post logs anymore, or for audience numbers to “magically” be confirmed (or even worse — a post campaign GRP analysis!).

Digital is inherently measurable, and therefore intrinsically direct response. More and more advertisers are now looking at TV in the same context. Advertisers are no longer okay with not knowing which 50% of their advertising is not working. It has to be measurable and it has to drive results. Direct Response Television has never looked so good!

TV Measurement Gets Smarter with Addressable TV

In Season Two of Mad Men, Jimmy Barret said “the drunker you are, the funnier I become. ABC did research”. This pretty much quantifies the validity of most standard offline measurement models. The TV industry spends an indecent amount of money on research that supports what they want to hear, and no one questions the validity of how the data is collected (P.S. you didn’t hear that from me). Digital is changing that too.

Digital’s targeting capabilities are extensive (interest, affinity, age, gender, location, language, marital status, recency, viewing behaviour, device — I could go on), and you rarely have to pay a premium to hone in on your target demo. Addressable TV is keying off that, allowing you to customize TV ads to dynamically reach specific households based on comprehensive targeting data. It’s a solid start to bring the best of both worlds together, enabling a similar optimization process that will potentially help improve the efficiencies of traditional TV advertising.

Several Canadian broadcasters are currently dabbling in monetizing an Addressable TV offer, with Corus appearing to lead the charge. They have partnered with Cogeco to deliver addressable TV ads to certain Ontarians using set top box data and third-party data. Testing to date has been limited, but this is definitely worth the watch in 2017.

Programmatic TV Levels the Playing Field / Adds a Layer of Integrity

Programmatic has been around on the digital side for years however, it has only just started permeating the TV advertising industry, and Canada (as always) is lagging behind the US in this respect.

The writing is on the wall: TV ad sales jobs are being replaced by machines and job loss is an unfortunate but certain fate. On a positive note, moving towards an auction-based environment has the potential to level the playing field. With that comes a whole new level of transparency to an otherwise grandfathered industry of “greasy palms”.

Programmatic makes for a more accountable advertising industry as a whole — no more back door deals and buying power that shuts out the little guys. The playing field will become as level as it has ever been, and the playground bully doesn’t get everyone’s lunch just because he is bigger. Programmatic buying will streamline the buying process and enable more robust targeting and insights that were previously only achievable online.

What to look for in 2017? AOL One has partnered with Rogers to roll out programmatic TV in Canada, and Corus has partnered with Visible World (a Comcast Platform).


One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute someone’s running you over with a lawnmower (Mad Men again). That’s life, get over it. Time will tell how programmatic and addressable TV evolve and are successful at rendering the Canadian TV ad buying marketplace more precise and more efficient.

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