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IRIS.TV — which counts News Corp, CBS and Comcast as partners — says advertisers shouldn’t have to pick between audience-first or content-first strategies, adding that the industry would be better served if it merged the two together.

It’s no secret that ad spend on linear television is declining, while its digital counterpart, connected TV, is “soaring.” This shift has prompted advertisers to rethink their approach when making TV ad buys. 

Take publishers like Disney, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS as an example. Each has bolstered their connected TV capabilities, which in turn has prompted a surge in audience-first strategies among media buyers. It’s also a shift from linear’s content-first approach.

But it shouldn’t have to be one or the other, Richie Hyden, co-founder and chief operating officer at IRIS.TV, tells The Current. In fact, the industry would be better served if it took an audience plus content approach — a relatively new CTV strategy, according to Hyden.  

Advertisers are trying to understand how they can plan a $100,000 CTV campaign without knowing the type of content that’s actually addressable,” Hyden says. “That’s hugely problematic for planning teams.”

The company — which counts GumGum, News Corp, CBS, Comcast, Hearst and Adobe as partners — recently threw its support behind Unified ID 2.0. “What we’re working on is tying together the data based on the individual with the content they’re actually consuming,” says Hyden. Adopting UID 2.0 is “basically about compatibility and how you get two frameworks pulled together.”

Hyden emphasized that equipping buyers with data from both areas would significantly improve media planning, brand suitability and measurement. “When we talk to marketers, what everyone is trying to recreate is not audience versus content, but audience plus context,” he says. “Marketers want to know how they can navigate this new world with as much information as they legally can on the consumer, as well as what they’re watching on the big screen.”   

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IRIS.TV takes video-level data — think those brief descriptions you read when browsing shows on Hulu, for instance — and then captures other information (ie - “video transcripts”) to help contextual data partners determine the context of any given show. The company says it’s able to gather this data by plugging directly into content management systems that are operated by leading publishers such as Tastemade or Verizon.

Equipping buyers with data on both areas would significantly improve media planning, brand suitability and measurement, says Hyden. Buyers, for example, don’t often know what genre their CTV ads ran against, or the specific show their commercial was shown. But capturing that information can potentially improve return on ad spend, for instance, especially when coupled with data-driven capabilities.

Future of TV