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Week In Review: Facebook and TV: Stuff’s Getting Real; It’s Not Addressable, It’s Addressable Adjacent

1. Facebook and TV: Stuff’s Getting Real

So there’s a story out today about how both Facebook and Twitter are actively engaging on the mean streets of Burbank, trying to secure deals to actually broadcast actual network TV shows. Facebook has even been shopping the notion of the platform as the host to a “skinny bundle” of networks.

You Heard It Here First

 This is something we’ve been talking about for close to a year now: the fact that with 1.5 billion users and intimate knowledge of their likes and dislikes, no one is better situated than Facebook to become a purveyor of television—both other people’s and it’s own.

 It’s a notion that both delights and frightens networks, who are enticed by the notion of finally having census level data about their users, but fear that Zuck and team could then use that data to create a competitive product. Call it the Frog and the Scorpion theory.

 Will the networks actually start selling shows to Facebook? We sort of doubt it. Maybe some one-time event shows, like musicals, maybe some sporting events, but things are still too complicated for them to actually go ahead and make Facebook another MVPD. Clips are another option, something similar to what the networks already do with YouTube and the late night shows.

 Why It Matters

Because we were right, dammit! And because giving Facebook any kind of broadcast rights—even if it’s just clips—is a big deal. Finally understanding who viewers are, what shows they like, what they buy, listen to, wear and root for—that’s huge. And it moves us one step closer to a world where TV is able to move away from its linear roots without giving up most of its $70 billion in ad revenue.

 What You Need To Do About It

 If you’re a network, think about what you want to do if Facebook approaches you, If you’re a showrunner, think about what you’d do with all that data. If you’re a brand or an advertising agency, think about what running commercials on Facebook could do for you and how much targeting you really want to have in the mix.


2. It’s Not Addressable, It’s Addressable Adjacent

 Fox became the second major network this week to announce a data-driven advertising play conveniently launched in time for the Upfronts. Call it “addressable adjacent” because like NBCU’s plan (announced back in January) it’s a step in the right direction but not robust enough to actually be the type of addressable advertising the industry knows is possible.

 The problem, of course, is data. NBCU is getting its data from a newly resurgent TiVo, whose analytics arm is providing them with data based on the limited universe of TiVo users. Fox, on the other hand, appears to be asking users to bring their own data sets. Either way, they seem like Band-Aids, not like the basis of a revolution.

 Waiting For Nielsen

 And waiting and waiting. After waiting for over a year for Nielsen’s OTT measurement service, the announcement came last October: Nielsen would be rolling out it’s shiny new Total Audience Measurement system in late December or early January.

 Only here we are, mid-March, and it’s nowhere in sight.

 When (and we’re being optimists here and avoiding “if”) Nielsen TAM launches, it will change things. All those restrictions the networks currently have on TVE will disappear (they’re there because those views currently go uncounted and are thus unmonetizable, which is not a word, but you know what we mean.)

 Once those restrictions disappear, the MVPDs will start pushing their TVE systems as they make the bulk of their income from selling broadband and more TVE equals more people using broadband at higher speeds. So everybody wins.

 Given that a study out this week from Digitalsmiths, a division of the aforementioned TiVo, found that 60% of users still have no idea that their MVPD even offers TV Everywhere, we’d have to conclude that there’s still lots of room for growth.

 Why It Matters

 Addressable or “Audience Parting” as we like to call it, is coming. In dribs and drabs. One thing that’s really going to move the needle however, is the shift of a large part of the audience to the sort of digital viewing platforms that allow for advanced segmentation. So that if you’re an airline, you’ll be able to reach people who are planning vacations in the next six months. Or people who fit the profile of the sort of people who become frequent flyers. Either way, you are going to need people to shift to digital platforms for all their viewing, which of course involves giving up the traditional QAM set top box.

 The Fox and NCBU efforts are noteworthy because they are steps in the right direction. Sure they’re kind of amorphous and mostly intened to mollify the investor community before the Upfronts, but still… better this than nothing.

 What You Need To Do About It

 Understand what addressable is, what the different stages are likely to be, what sort of segmentation is valuable to you (and why), what the costs will be, what you’ll need to do to make it happen. That’s true whether you are a network, an agency or a brand. Do it now, too, because sitting back and waiting is the best way to remain eternally behind the curve.