Jay Frogameni has spent his entire career in the video advertising industry, first at Comcast Spotlight and now at Frontier, where he serves as AVP for the Advanced Video Advertising Group.
“TV advertising at Frontier had been handled exclusively by third party agreements until we arrived in early 2016. It was exciting to come on board and accept the challenge of hiring a team of talented people that helped us build out our video advertising products we have today.”
“The challenge was getting the traditional linear mindset to think like digital and translate that into our environment. We were a start up in a sense and we wanted to break the mold and start something new.”
What are the industry’s biggest challenges with TV advertising?
We all face the same challenges. Take us for example. With recent acquisitions came a large video footprint in major markets. We were challenged in taking various video delivery platforms and architecting a workflow that would enable all of our video footprint to be used for various advanced video advertising products. With the help of an innovative internal team and great partners like Beachfront this was an exciting journey.
Why VOD though? Are people really watching that much of it?
You’d be surprised at the amount of viewing hours for VOD viewership alone. The level of engagement of viewers selecting quality VOD programming is huge. And the VOD shows have a huge advantage for advertisers–you can’t fast-forward through the ads and you can’t start flipping through the channels. So they’re pretty much guaranteed that viewers are going to watch them.
So why weren’t you selling more of them?
We really didn’t have an efficient way to sell them. VOD needs to be sold like digital because it’s not linear, but the companies who were handling our digital ads and TV ads weren’t covering that in-between space. We needed to find a partner who knew how to handle both TV and digital and make them meet in the middle. That’s why when I first started talking to Beachfront, I knew we were onto something. They got what we needed to do with our VOD inventory, how we needed to automate it and reach new sales channels, and pair that with a highly targeted audience to maximize our inventory yield.
What are you defining and improving audience segments?
Segments are great. In the near future, we’ll take lessons learned from our linear addressable platform and work with partners like Beachfront to plug that into modern VOD workflows.
Where do you see VOD going from here?
From our own POV, we’ve started offering brands buys that combine both linear and VOD. That allows them to get the sort of incremental reach they are looking for on OTT, but within the set top box universe and as part of the same buy. It’s a way for them to make sure they are reaching viewers they may have missed on linear or they can heavy up on users in demos they feel are their best prospects. Either way, it’s a more efficient way for brands to buy advertising from Frontier or from any MVPD.
Where do you see the rest of the industry going with this?
That’s a great question because we’re becoming one of the more interesting players out there, especially when you look across the MVPD landscape. We think that we are all heading in the same direction–and that data-driven or addressable buys on VOD are going to be the future.
We think that VOD is going to continue to play a really major role in terms of MVPD inventory too. The whole notion of being able to watch TV on your own schedule is something that viewers have gotten much more comfortable with and that’s why they’re increasingly turning to VOD. On top of that, the systems themselves are getting much easier to use and much easier to navigate.
And while linear addressable is great–I think we’re going to see a lot more of it thanks to things like Project OAR–I think it will be a while before most linear inventory is addressable. Whereas with VOD, the inventory is addressable by nature and the ability to buy more of it is something that brands are excited about. That’s why we are excited about the future and have developed our platform to plug and play with big players but also new sales channels.
What about the TV industry in general?
Weill I think that the launch of all these new streaming services is going to impact things–it’s got to, right? But I don’t think it means that traditional cable is going away anytime soon. There are plenty of people who like having a range of channels they can flip through and then there’s serendipity, you know, stumbling on a show that you didn’t know existed but really enjoy. And that is still going to be the experience for most consumers. So what we can do is provide them with advertising that is more targeted and thus more relevant to them so they don’t mind watching it.
Remember too that TV commercials have an emotional impact–people remember them, they talk about them with their friends, the actors can become minor celebrities. That’s incredibly powerful for brands and what we need to do is to make it easier for them to reach the right audience, which is what we’ve been doing with Beachfront.
I feel it’s critical that the industry comes together and establish common ground on currency, data standards, ease of execution on buys and delivery, and robust post campaign analytics to match digital.
Most importantly, linear TV is not dead. We’re able to package up a level of granularity which is still not actionable in all advanced TV executions. The authenticated audience is there. The value is there. And it’s almost like a fine wine, we’re getting better with age as we’re layering in data and embracing technology.