Growing the TV advertising pie

By Brian Fitzpatrick

Research regularly supports this – in July, a YouView study revealed that catch-up on platforms such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player now accounts for a fifth of the UK’s television viewing.

It’s tempting therefore to forecast that the days of linear TV viewing are numbered, but the evidence suggests that more devices mean people are watching more TV. Rather than competing, online and linear channels are complementing each other and co-existing – a fact reflected in TV advertising.’s research report, ‘State of the Online Video Advertising Industry’, released earlier this year indicated that the worlds of TV and online advertising were beginning to merge for the first time. 62% of UK advertising agencies purchasing digital video inventory listed brand awareness (a key aim of TV advertising) as a primary goal for online video advertising, while 23% wanted to extend their TV reach.

This is good news for both broadcasters and advertisers. However, it asks some big questions of the traditional and new sides of the industry, both of which are finding their feet in this rapidly-changing world.

High on the agenda is measurement. Television uses a system of Targeted Ratings Points (TRPs) and Gross Ratings Points (GRPs) in contrast to unique visitors, completion rates, click through rates, etc. of online. Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials (vCE), make good headway by enabling advertisers to evaluate campaigns on a ‘like-for-like’ basis. In the US, up to 70% of campaigns use one or other method and, although take-up is still relatively low in the UK, this is a trend that we will see increase.

Advertisers also need to know that they are getting maximum ROI from their ad spend. Digital display advertising has tended to be response-led, focused on conversions and attributing sales to different channels. Conversely, online video is a brand medium where reaching the right audience with every ad in each campaign is the main objective. This is now possible thanks to recent developments in technology resulting in tools that enable TV advertisers to target specific online audiences, thereby avoiding ‘wastage’ and making campaigns more efficient.

In addition to measurement and price, the online TV industry cannot ignore the issue of quality content, which is currently a limiting factor when encouraging TV advertisers to shift budget online. Much of the online video sector revolves around user-generated content, which of course plays a key role. However, if certain brands are to commit to spending TV advertising budgets online, they need access to premium quality inventory. As with measurement and price, there are encouraging signs that things are changing. In recent months some major broadcasters have started trading their online inventory in a programmatic way, with each of them achieving the sell rates that they would expect. As increasing numbers follow suite, more doors will open for advertisers wanting to reach their specific audience.

About the author and

Brian Fitzpatrick is Managing Director at Europe., a division of AOL Networks, is transforming the way video advertising is bought and sold.’s video intelligence platform, Pathway, helps many of the world’s largest brands, agencies, publishers and ad networks intelligently, effectively and safely plan, buy and measure billions of video ad trades programmatically every month across web, linear TV and mobile video.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, has US offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and international offices in Australia, India, Japan and the UK.

For more information, please visit, or follow on Twitter @Adaptv, Facebook at and LinkedIn at

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