As 2021 Ends, Predictions For The TV Industry In 2022
In the infamous words of the oft-quoted Yogi Berra, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” If the past two years have taught us nothing else (and I hope they have taught us oh so much more), they have shown just how wise Yogi was. So, as we approach this year’s predictions, we do so with humility.
As we look to shape a brighter future for the industry, let me share my personal hopes and beliefs about what’s to come in the TV industry next year.
But First, A Look Back On Last Year
While many of the changes to the TV industry were initiated during the lockdowns of 2020, it was the year 2021 that proved most of changes brought forward then were here to stay.
In fact, we simultaneously experienced change over almost every single dimension of our industry.
These changes included how:
-Video content was distributed (over IP / broadband)
-Audiences consumed video (across multiple apps and services)
-Companies monetized their content (hybrid subscription and advertising supported)
-Advertising was delivered (addressable and audience-based)
-Success was measured (the rise of granular viewing, impression, and outcome data to derive aggregated and de-identified viewing insights)
Mergers were announced. Industry initiatives launched. Investments were made and companies formed. New giants were born while old giants fell. All contributing to move the industry forward in its next phase of growth.
A brave new world was formed.
Looking Ahead To 2022
2022 will undoubtedly bring more unexpected developments, headline-grabbing announcements, M&A activity, and industry partnerships. Knowing that much of the below will be proven wrong (see above), I approach these predictions with some trepidation. At the same time, the best way to predict the future is to state it and help shape it.
For those of us operating at the intersection of TV, advertising, and technology, there is a lot of shaping to do with so much at stake and so many changes underway. And we need to collectively take responsibility for this.
So, without further ado, here are my predictions for 2022.
1. We’ll spend less time talking about collaboration and more time collaborating
Our industry has spoken ad nauseam about the need to collaborate since I can remember. But the step change leaps in consumer behavior, technology, and regulations will force players to work together in meaningful ways not yet seen. Challenges that seemed insurmountable will now be confronted and solved.
For example, expect distributor and publisher partnerships that enable addressable advertising to mature, resulting in more scale for marketers looking to address audiences across multiple endpoints and measure the effectiveness of their media spend across all of them.
2. We’ll spend less time talking about the need for measurement innovation and more time actually delivering better measurement products
2021 was the great measurement awakening. Too long had our industry relied on dated solutions that didn’t take advantage of the vast amount of data that could be used (safely) to measure the effectiveness of TV advertising. Plus, we were limited in the number of platforms we were measuring.
2022 will bring several measurement innovations.
First, the rise of cross-platform identifiers and data collaboration technologies will allow the connectivity of viewing and impression data across the fragmented media landscape. This will allow better cross-platform reach/frequency analysis, while paving the way for true cross-platform attribution.
Second, the rise of clean room-like and data protection technologies will encourage new partnerships to emerge that help marketers measure the online/offline purchase outcomes delivered by their TV ad investments. As retail media hits the prime time, don’t bet on TV getting left behind. Expect new partnerships between distributors and retailers to also serve the needs of a longstanding TV advertising stalwart: the CPG brand.
Lastly, don’t yet count out the role that 3rd party measurement companies have to play. While cross-platform identity and underlying impression and outcome data garner the lion's share of the attention, don’t underestimate the complexity of the landscape and the importance of strong data science and analytics to deliver effective measurement products that make use of all the “ingredients”. Expect the big players in the space to roll out better products, underpinned by enhanced data and identity capabilities, that account for the fragmentation of today’s media landscape.
3. We’ll begin to make sense of fragmentation
The days of gathering around the living room to watch the same show at 7:30pm ET are long gone. And no serious person truly believes that we’re going back to that world any time in the foreseeable future. And yet, TV continues to thrive--in its new form, with more content on more apps and devices than ever before. We’re living in the third golden age of TV, fueled by investments in streaming services and new content that both further divide and further engage us.
This fragmentation has come with a cost – felt most acutely by marketers. Since audiences are so fragmented, and identifiers so varied (and inaccessible), finding a target audience consistently has proven challenging, measuring total reach and frequency even harder, and optimizing effective reach nearly impossible.
Still, the players with the right data and technology solutions are emerging. Most of the content is increasingly delivered by a small handful of distribution companies – MVPD MSOs and Smart TV / OTT Device Manufacturers. And marketers have the right data they can bring to the table through their buy side ad servers.
Technologies that empower marketers and TV distribution players to match their digital and linear ad impression data together at the household level, based on common key identifiers (online or offline), in a privacy safe way, are readying themselves for prime time.
The end result will be a much richer, more accurate set of cross-platform insights that help advertisers and agencies understand which and how many households and individuals were reached, and at which frequency levels, across linear, addressable, CTV apps, and AVOD distribution services. Done safely, with the right data and privacy protections in place, not only does this benefit marketers but, perhaps more importantly, this will lead to better experiences for consumers who will be saved from seeing the same ad over and over.
4. Privacy compliance and data protections will become “table stakes”
Increased privacy regulation appears to be inevitable at this point – at the state, national, and international level.
Organizations who want to take advantage of the power of their data will need to continually invest both in building trusted relationships with their customers as well as in the right technologies and processes that allow them to put their data to work in privacy safe and secure ways.
5. Programmatic will stop being such a “dirty word”
With the right frameworks and technologies in place, programmatic TV will take a giant step forward in 2022. As content owners / ad sellers continue to invest in technologies that protect the value of their supply, and distributors / data owners have the right technologies in place to safely match their data with buy side platforms, expect increased automation, efficiency, and audience-based buying to come to the TV/CTV marketplace.
6. The term “connected home” will enter the industry lexicon
While much attention gets paid to evolution of the “what” is being watched, or “how” it's being watched (apps, devices, and services) – what often gets lost is the “where” it's watched – the (increasingly connected) home.
It is within the home that most TV/video viewing happens--with 4 ½ hours a day spent watching TV and CTV devices. It is also increasingly the place where consumers are making purchases, with the acceleration of e-commerce shopping. And while the growth will inevitably slow in the coming years as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly comes to an end, it is clear that many of the changes to our habits are structural and here to stay.
With the rise of hybrid work and emerging “metaverse-enabling” technologies and platforms, expect the TV industry to start to pay attention to the concept of the connected home and its importance for bringing together all apps and digital spaces – ranging from media to commerce.
Companies who have the ability and consumer trust to understand this connected household accurately will be those that help the industry to navigate its accelerating complexity and fragmentation and empower it to succeed in the future.
Jason Manningham is Blockgraph's CEO and Co-Founder.