Addressable advertising and the problem of competitive separation

Linear and addressable TV spending growth is expected to soar 33.1% this year as TV networks continue to put money on the table to ensure they reach the right audience. Television networks offering single ad optimization (SASO) campaigns are not taking full advantage of the benefits of addressable advertising models due to fears of breaching competitive separation agreements.

Competitive separation refers to contractual agreements between advertisers and brands, ensuring that competitors’ advertisements do not appear during the same commercial break or possibly during the same program. The competitive separation within the addressable advertising ecosystem is complex. It encompasses multiple critical platforms and systems that must all work together – and one mistake in these interweaving processes can prove fatal to the brand-advertiser relationship.

Because the economic and reputational consequences of failing to adhere to competitive separation agreements could be significant, ad sales teams are conservative in their approach to addressable advertising. However, with every problem comes a solution and with the right addressable television technology stack, television networks can protect competitive separation agreements while reaping the benefits of these models.

Ensure competitive separation, retain existing business models

The addressable advertising ecosystem is fragmented and has historically been an obstacle for linear channels delivering national addressable ads at scale. Benefiting from different systems, it becomes difficult for these elements to work together seamlessly.

A robust ad signaling solution that integrates all parts of the ad ecosystem, allowing information to flow, can overcome the challenge of fragmentation. Ad signaling technology creates data bridges across the chain, helping ad decision systems deliver appropriate ads.

The solution also provides automation at scale that eliminates opportunities for miscommunication and errors within the addressable advertising ecosystem, thereby protecting competitive separation agreements. TV stations have tested competitive separation while honoring their existing contracts, with success.

Harness the benefits of addressable advertising

Large-scale linear addressable television signals a paradigm shift in advertising where television networks can activate their ad inventory to get more bang for their buck and generate new revenue streams.

Competitive separation has been a critical part of the business relationship between advertisers and TV stations – one they can’t afford to get wrong. The good news is that the right technology stacks exist and ensure that TV networks and ad sales teams won’t break a deal.

Ensuring the addressable advertising ecosystem is as automated as possible enables seamless communication between all parties vital to protecting business contracts and customer relationships. Automation and communication across the addressable ad tech stack is critical for media companies looking to future-proof their business. Now is the time for TV networks to invest in technology solutions that allow them to take full advantage of the addressable advertising models of today and beyond.


Roger Franklin is Managing Director, Full-Time Business Unit, LTN Global.

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