What next for connected TV? Innovid gathers industry leaders to explore

The future is bright but we have to be careful to get it right, was the message from industry leaders during a fringe conference on connected TV

Gerry D'Angelo, global media director at Procter & Gamble, paused for a second before speaking. "If we want to get connected TV right, we have to make sure we learn from the lessons of the past. The market has to be easy for advertisers and publishers to enter. Brands have to have confidence in things like the absence of ad fraud. And we need standardisation of formats."

D'Angelo (pictured) was talking at a break-out seminar , hosted by Innovid, on the future of connected TV, held at Cannes. The sessions brought together some of the biggest names in advertising, television and business, including Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital (main image), Bob Rupczynski, corporate VP of global media at McDonald's, Jakob Nielsen, the CEO of Finecast, Randy Freer, CEO of Hulu and P&G’s D'Angelo.

The participants discussed where connected TV goes next, what the industry needs to do to make the most of the new technologies (and avoid the mistakes of past linear-to-addressable transitions). And they touched upon some of the opportunities and pitfalls they see coming in the way of any brand that gets into the connected TV ad markets.

The customer is winning
"The customer is winning," said Randy Freer (pictured), CEO of Hulu. "TV providers are moving from being gatekeepers in a linear world to providing customers with choice. Viewers can watch what they please, cancel, move services, re-subscribe. They are in control."

Now that the consumer is back on his throne, video advertisers need above all else to know what the king wants. Video platforms need to figure out, far quicker than display advertisers did, how to gather data on their consumers, accurately serve personalised and relevant content to them and then measure and optimise that content as a campaign runs.

"All [the benefits of connected TV are] predicated on there being a sufficient and free flow of data from where the impression is happening in those ecosystems to where the analysis can happen", explained D'Angelo. "The big lesson we have to learn, is not to create any walled gardens. They’ve been incredibly popular. But we’ve got to let data flow. Without that, we can’t have even basic layers of accountability."

Know your history
Rupczynski explained McDonald’s recent purchase of personalisation specialist Dynamic Yield. It’s about the company’s instore screens, which customers use to place their orders.

"We got a lot of calls. They wanted to know why McDonald’s was getting involved in tech. We see this as a way to understand the consumer, while keeping that data in-house. It’s a way to accelerate the investment we’ve made in kiosks and the kiosk app. How can we improve the flow? The more we know about the customers, the better we can make the experience."

Asked if this in-sourcing of video and data functions was likely to become a trend, Sorrell was forthright. "It’s not about insourcing. It’s about taking back control. Agencies saw platforms start to exert more control over data and client relationships. So, we tried to surround the client with services. Now, brands can have a more direct relationship with consumers. There’s going to be a battle for control of that direct relationship."

P&G’s D'Angelo stressed the need to avoid repeating the mistakes the industry made in the display market and other digital advertising media. "We need to make sure the market is easy for advertisers and publishers to enter – I’m thinking, for instance, about how we transact – and we’ve got to make sure that we’re on top of things such as ad fraud. You’d think that wouldn’t be a problem. But one of the main ways of detecting fraud in digital space is checking whether a device is moving geographically. Well, set-top boxes don’t move."

The continued importance of partnerships
Despite all parties involved in the connected TV market – including consumers – aspiring to have greater control over the data generated, Nikki Mendonça (pictured), global president at Accenture Interactive, stressed the importance of partnerships. In a market characterised by a growing talent gap – the EU Commission calculates that there are 420,000 more vacancies for tech workers than there are people to fill those vacancies – partnerships give companies access to skills and technologies it would be hard to duplicate in-house.

"We’re having a lot of conversations about building a connected experience," Mendonça explained. "Execution is difficult. That’s why it pays for brands and agencies to work with third parties that are able to help them with the data and the technology. And doing this builds a better customer experience in a way that pays real dividends. By creating a better connected experience, clients see 11% improved shareholder returns."

Kimberly Kadlec (pictured), head of global marketing platforms at Visa, stressed the importance not just of a partnership between businesses but also with consumers. "One of the challenges of connected TV, is that you may well be interrupting someone while they’re watching content they have specifically chosen. So, the content you’re interrupting them with, it has to be as good and relevant. You have to set the bar high for yourself. We can’t think about this as advertising any more. It has to be a value exchange between the brand and the viewer."

Innovid is the world's leading connected TV and video advertising platform, delivering more video than any company across mobile, desktop, connected TVs, streaming devices and social platforms. Innovid partners with brands, agencies, and publishers to deliver new advertising models that increase engagement and time spent in ways that also provide more value to viewers. Our video platform enables personalization of creative, seamless cross-screen delivery, and holistic measurement to fuel next-generation video experiences and grow revenue. Innovid has offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo.