The future of TV is audience plus content — not one or the other, says IRIS.TV

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 their TV ad buys. 

Publishers such as Disney, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS, for instance, have all bolstered their connected TV capabilities. That’s 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. The industry, according to Hyden, would be better served if it took an audience plus content approach.

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 counts GumGum, News Corp, CBS, Comcast, Hearst and Adobe as partners and 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. “It’s basically compatibility of 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. “IRIS.TV doesn’t have people-based data, but 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.

George P. Slefo

Future of TV