AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox and other TV execs are secretly gathering this week to discuss a new method of selling TV media that the Internet has engaged in for years: CPA (cost per action).
Specifically: if a consumer saw a TV advertisement (linear, or streaming), and that consumer made a purchase within x number of days…the TV network would get paid a bounty.
Essentially, TV attribution (which has been in market since 2012).
Variety comments TV struggles to catch up to the mountain of measurement and data that digital currently offers.
But those digital metrics are largely wrong (last click, no built-in viewability, iffy cross-device, and lack of fraud controls).
TV measurement hasn’t changed much in 30 years. Because there’s no performance metrics (attribution) offered by TV media companies, ad dollars shift towards digital.
The unfortunate part: TV drives the upper part of the funnel for most advertisers, but digital harvests all that hard work using flawed last click metrics.
Fox no longer views CBS as the enemy: now it’s Facebook, Google, and anything digital or single channel last click.
Now Cometh Thor
There’s a saying: change doesn’t happen until you feel pain.
In local linear: ad revenue for TV is off about 10% on an apples to apples basis.
Pain has arrived.
For Comcast, local is a $2 billion business. Auto is about 25% of that business, which is down 8-10%.
That = $45 million revenue problem. Real pain.
Enter project Thor. Former rivals now gather about the round table to prevent the common pain of revenue loss.
Pain (or slight panic) has birthed Thor. Battling the perception that TV is old, weak, and dying (it isn’t).
TV is getting more addressable, and HH addressable TV may be 6% cheaper than programmatic display.
But Thor is a symbol to the entire media world that TV is still strong.
But before the rush to sell TV media with CPA is chiseled in stone…there is a thorn.
According to Chief Research Officer at CBS Television David Poltrack, TV creative + messaging = 70% of the impact of TV advertising.
Translation: put an awful TV spot in 30 seconds of TV media, and you’ll get an awful result.
But put a great TV spot in 30 seconds of media, and results will be amazing.
So when AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, and more decide to sell media based on a CPA formula…those very TV companies may end up giving away TV for free if the creative does not deliver.
Imagine if an auto dealer in Delaware knew his creative is a 36 index to all auto dealer ads nationwide.
That Delaware dealer now knows it’s not the TV media that has let them down…it’s the creative. TV works: but creative is the key to making TV media work or wilt.
Furthermore, that same dealer might be able to take a look at the dealer in Nevada with a 136 Index and discover what they’re doing right versus giving up on TV and moving more ad dollars to digital.
In the movie Thor, only those “deemed worthy” had the power to lift Thor’s hammer. Those not deemed worthy, could not lift the hammer.
Only TV creatives “deemed worthy” passing a requirement, or creative index threshold should be able to lift the hammer of Thor…if a threshold metric is not met, then that TV advertiser should pay the normal CPM rate.
Thus, the “deemed worthy” requirement or threshold metric places mutual risk on the advertiser and the TV media seller.
Thor can only succeed with a “deemed worthy” creative threshold provision.
But Wait, There’s More
Behavior is a hard thing to change, because change is hard.
Most people and companies want change without the pain…without the effort.
One of the brands mentioned above asked C3 Metrics to develop a lightweight TV attribution product.
A product that could tap into Google Analytics with one click and through an API, go back in history for 25 months and perform TV attribution back in time.
No code to be added to websites, just one click.
No contract was signed, no development fees paid. Just a simple, but obvious understanding that money was bleeding, and the need was obvious. Build it and we will come.
Built, performing, and now live for numerous months.
But that TV company? Tied up in their own shorts, worried about organizational changes.
Change is hard. Change, like Thor, requires strength. Not everyone can lift the hammer of Thor.
So will Thor become animated fiction or a documentary?
Time (or pain) will tell.