Better together: How to fuel the future of total TV



At the recent Future TV Advertising event in Sydney, the industry came together for what felt like the first time, in a long time. As much as it is a forum to look ahead, this moment inevitably took the opportunity to re-state the strengths and challenges of where TV is right now.

With a positive lens, TV has clearly innovated significantly to create some of the most attention-commanding audience viewing experiences available to advertisers - whether we consider the quality of programming content offered, the different screens, devices and platforms where that content is available for consumption, or the emerging forms of data-fuelled, technology enabled addressability.

TV – once considered by some as media in terminal decline – is in fact at a significant point of reinvention. Buoyed by a 2020 that we might refer to as “the year of TV”, viewing behaviour shifted to TV as a source of trusted content, with growth demonstrated across all forms of TV – whether linear / scheduled TV or the various on demand / user-initiated formats. With market forces – both audience and distribution - aligning behind the wider definition of TV consumption, it has a chance to shape its own destiny of transformation.


TV is also one of the most evidentially supported advertising channels in terms of performance and value delivery, and is widely understood to be the most effective form of advertising on this basis – bar none.

It’s hard to ignore or dismiss the volume of high quality, exacting studies that have been undertaken by academic, industry and commercial parties to validate the efficacy of the $200bn TV advertising industry. For marketers, TV is known as the media channel that embodies the very rules and principles of how brands grow, whether measuring long brand building or short term brand activation and sales outcomes.

However, “digital” expectations of planning, buying and measurement now set the operational benchmark for modern marketers and their agencies. Whether we refer to immediacy, accessibility, accuracy or transparency of measurement – and the data that underpins it - TV faces a significant delivery gap that manifests itself through a non-existent “user-experience” of low-touch control, visibility and involvement.

When effectiveness is everything, TV’s problem isn’t its ability to provide value to advertisers. It’s problem is its inability to measure and quantity the value of its effectiveness, and to democratise the understanding, optimisation and extension of that intelligence in real time. Ultimately, TV must now realise significant transformation to solve these problems.


Amidst all the positive ”front end” innovation that is changing the way audiences consume TV, an objective look at the operational layer underpinning this reveals significant challenges that – if left unchecked – will prevent the potential of TV’s future growth, as well as addressing the critical points of measurement and effectiveness.

We all know what these problems are – that are as real in Australia as they are in markets around the world: An often slow and inflexible user experience to buying and planning TV, that hasn’t evolved to reflect today’s modern marketing expectations for real time analytics; A growing complexity in - and lack of interoperability of - enabling technologies and platforms; The inevitable silos in data sets that prevent the necessary integration of measurement across linear and on demand TV.

These should be regarded as very real challenges for the ad-funded TV industry to address – not just because it must raise it’s own game, but because the wider media market will continue to forge ahead, whether this be from the emerging subscription-based TV platforms, or the wider and continued march of the digital walled gardens.

Against this context, a very clear requirement was being placed on the unilateral JIC-initiated solutions like VOZ, to create the new measurement framework for all TV in Australia. But against a backdrop of delays and missed deadlines, there is clearly an emerging sense of frustration and disappointment – some of which is clearly understandable.

But ultimately transformation is hard. And fundamental, highly complex, end-to-end, cross-industry transformation is harder still. These are not small initiatives or temporary fixes to be applied. They are seismic changes to technology, data, and governance to realise the required systematic outcomes we all desire for TV.

But probably most significant in this reflection, a position voiced by Craig Service, Adgile’s Chief Customer Officer, is that “if the TV industry is guilty of anything, it was potentially setting expectations too high and too early – something easily done in the face of necessary action.”  

Adgile also has a unique perspective on the point of timing, having “bootstrapped” the development of our business and its unique Visual AI enabled technology over a 6 year period, It’s only now that we are seen in parallel to market readiness as positive disrupters in enabling an industry shift towards the outcome of true Total TV effectiveness. 


So how do we move forward to ensure appropriate change and progress?  Well, at Adgile, we have always seen things differently, and we believe different thinking is required.

We were conceived and built to bring intelligent, real time visibility and control across linear and on demand TV. We create – not aggregate – unique TV data through our Visual AI enabled technology, enabling users to understand, optimise and extend their TV planning and buying through our Analytics, Attribution and Activation product capabilities.

We call this Total TV Effectiveness.

Total TV is not new language, but we want to bring new meaning to it. We believe it represents more than just the simplistic sum of TV’s linear, VOD and CTV parts.

Embracing Total TV as a category definition is much bigger. This instead looks towards the holistic and integrated management of all TV – uniting the different ways that TV can be consumed, with better ways of measuring and driving effectiveness. This is about improving the quality of data, planning and buying, talent capabilities, business and industry growth.

We are not interested in creating an alternative measurement currency or ecosystem ourselves. Total TV reflects our interest in enabling the industry as a whole to carefully transform the existing “gold standard” measurement approaches and frameworks in place, that will make TV future-fit for a modern marketing era that bridges linear and on demand.

It reflects an ambition for the industry to come together and realise its true potential through safeguarding and promoting TV’s proven strengths (quality of content, viewing experience, effective advertising practice and business outcomes) whilst advancing into a data fuelled, technology powered future that strikes the right balance between mass targeting and addressability at scale.

We know that Total TV requires further change – change in behaviour, data and operations - and this manifesto aims to ignite that positive movement. As a means to provide direction to the debate and actions to the agenda, we wanted to highlight what we believe to be the necessary and actionable changes this industry can make right now:

Collaboration: Put simply, an industry working towards the common goal of Total TV Effectiveness. Working to avoid and dismantle “walled gardens” that might prevent complete advertising outcome measurement, and instead building in interoperability and compatibility of data sharing across platforms. Linear and On Demand TV valued for their different strengths in addressing audiences need states, rather than a binary pursuit of CTV as a replacement for scheduled viewing.

Harmonisation: Achieving the necessary transparency and unification of data across all forms of TV to make it universally accountable. Elevating all forms of data to take a 3D view of identity – moving beyond the pursuit of an audience only definition, to one that includes advertising context and content data as the required constant to enable a single source of truth.

Simplification: Of definition, language and management. Simplicity drives understanding, adoption and advocacy. We reject what we don’t understand. We need to remove unnecessary complexity from the ecosystem and present Total TV as media that meets the needs of modern marketers and audiences – delivering value across the customer journey, building brands over the long term, demonstrating commercial accountability over the short term.

Total TV ultimately creates a better industry for everyone – audiences, brands, agencies and broadcasters - and it’s our obligation to collectively realise this opportunity. We have to move past the current focus on Connected TV as the sole industry solution to effective TV advertising. It isn’t. The answer is about Connecting TV. Collaboration, Harmonisation, Simplification. Let’s Fuel the Future of Total TV.

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