A+E’s Heftman On Viewer Targeting, Social Distancing – Beet.TV


These days, the lives we lead are increasingly home-bound – and that’s exactly what marketers hope to capitalize on through new connected TV channels.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Senior Vice President, Advertising Sales at A+E Networks, describes two trends focusing on the home:

  • Household-level TV ad targeting, and the quest for even more precision.
  • TV show hosts and production crews making and broadcasting content from their own homes.

“The last 10 months have been really fundamentally groundbreaking in terms of personalization,” Heftman says.

“The idea that, instead of going out into the world, we’re bringing things into our home now that we’ve never been able to bring into our homes before – whether that’s the food we eat, whether that is the products that we buy and certainly the media that we consume.

“The reality is that we’re going to a world where content will be available in the home in the same way that it’s available out in a movie theatre or in other places like that, and the expectation by the consumer is that they can bring whatever they want into the home, whenever it is, that they want it.

“So the speed with which the media world has had to adapt to that, I think has been one of the most amazing things to come out of this COVID environment.”

CTV growing

US cable networks posted strong viewing increases for 2020, after a tumultuous year forced millions of Americans to stay at home.

It was a year in which connected TV services – both SVoD and AVoD – soared to new heights, and in which its demographic profile broadened, as elder viewers switched on.

Beside the SVoD boom, the growth in new ad-supported channels is drawing advertisers with capabilities like targeting, frequency capping and programmatic buying.

As a result, eMarketer expects 2021 connected TV ad spend to grow by 401.% to $8.11 billion, 3.5% of total US media ad spending.

As well as SVoD operations, A+E’s Heftman has a growing raft of ad-supported carriage with the like so Roku, Tubi, Pluto and Samsung.

US Connected TV Ad Spending, 2019-2024 (billions, % change, and % of total media ad spending)

Identity crisis

Next up, Heftman wants to go beyond household-level targeting, and he wants even highly-targeted ads to look seamless, like traditional commercial breaks – but that’s going to be difficult.

“Identity is both the billion-dollar opportunity and also the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” he says.

“There’s a big challenge going from a household identity down to individual person identity, and to get to an addressable future. That is something that really needs to be solved and it’s something that there’s a lot of progress being made on.

“Identity remains really, really challenging. Getting household IDs quantified and standardised across all of the different CTV providers, that is something that is very challenging.”

Heftman is hoping 2021 is the year when identity solutions, already being created to solve for the deprecation of third-party desktop cookies, will also lend a hand to connected TV targeting.

And he wants such things standardized.

Talent at home

Until then, it’s not only viewers who remain at home. TV talent, too, is back to being home-bound.

“(It is) very challenging from a content perspective,” heftman says. “California just announced another production shut-down. Jimmy Kimmel is going back into his home starting this week.”

But, whilst shows may be different, the new limitations have also forced a new creative approach to production.

“The flip side with that is the technology advancements making that possible,” Heftman adds. “Just because you can’t produce in a high-volume way out in the world, doesn’t mean you can’t produce in a high-volume way from the talent’s home.

“It’s really helped us streamline our production capabilities. The days of sending 20 people on a production shoot probably are over for companies like us, because we can produce so much more efficiently with iPads and with Zoom and the quality remains very, very high. I think that, that continues to move forward into the future.”

You are watching “Making CTV Happen: A New Ad Infrastructure Emerges,” a Beet.TV leadership video series presented by Publica. For more videos, please visit this page.



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