The State of Convergent TV: 3 Takeaways from Our Innovating with Intent Event

In its true form, convergence refers to the shift from analog to digital, something that’s been happening for many years. By 2022, Leichtman Research Group estimated that 87% of U.S. households had at least one CTV device. Ten years earlier, that number was just 38%. And pharma—right now—is at its convergent TV tipping point.

Delivering the opening keynote at the second annual Innovating with Intent, our first-of-its-kind event focused exclusively on pharma advertising on connected TV (CTV), DeepIntent Founder and CEO Chris Paquette discussed the massive opportunity convergent TV presents our industry. In his view, it sits at the intersection of several challenges, all of which are rooted in fragmentation.

Content is fragmented across various devices, apps, and platforms. Advertisers also buy impressions in a fragmented way. We lack a standard currency for measurement. TV teams don’t speak the same language.

Chris believes it will take a village. We’ll only solve these issues and maximize the value of convergent TV by working together.

“Health information is one of the most important topics in the public health arsenal. We saw the importance of it during the pandemic when, as an industry, we had to come together and deliver messages to the entire country about the efficacy of drugs and vaccines,” he continued. “The tools we’re developing at DeepIntent bring me a lot of excitement. There’s no better way to connect with patients in meaningful ways than on the big screen.”

The themes of fragmentation and collaboration continued throughout the day. Read on for three of the top takeaways from our exciting panel discussions.

1. Unification Is a Key Component of Convergent TV

About 70% of Americans watch both linear and CTV. Yet, Elsa Castro Blumberg, AVP of Client Analytics and Insights at DIRECTV Advertising, pointed out that two-thirds of executives DIRECTV surveyed work at companies with entirely separate linear TV and CTV buying teams. “When it comes to maximizing reach and frequency, you need both. Addressable helps you get to your full potential reach, but you also need CTV to realize the full scope of the platforms,” she said.

Brendan Garrone, VP of Programmatic Sales and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, added that CTV’s addressability adds tremendous value. Advertisers can target on a one-to-one basis instead of data-driven linear, which is one-to-many. “It creates a sandbox where you’re able to test different segments, which leads to this personalization at scale,” he explained. “Because of unlocking digital functionality, you can also measure in as close to real-time as we can get and then optimize because you’re getting that feedback loop from digitally-powered CTV. It’s a new frontier.”

Media companies want to sell converged audiences just as much as buyers want to buy them. But this viewer fragmentation can seem like putting Humpty Dumpty back together, said Dan Aversano, SVP of Data, Analytics, and Advanced Television at TelevisaUnivision.

And that’s without factoring in the added complexity of the pharma industry. HIPAA adds another layer of data that needs to be unified across channels. But when pharma brands can figure out these problems, convergent TV makes magic happen.

We’ve already seen script lift increasing when users are exposed cross-channel as opposed to singular, bifurcated buys,” said Jen Loga, DeepIntent’s VP of Media Measurement and Analytics. “Taking advantage of that is a big piece and getting people to think about how they buy, and the value they bring to audiences they’re trying to reach.”

2. Clean Rooms Could be the Remedy for Data Collaboration and Audience Fragmentation

Data clean rooms are one of the hottest topics in ad tech. While they offer incredible potential to reach healthcare provider (HCP) and patient audiences in a privacy-safe way, data clean rooms yield more questions than answers at this point.

David Wells, Snowflake’s Industry Principal for Media, Entertainment, and Advertising, said that data doesn’t leave the Snowflake environment. Instead, identities are matched within the platform. Still, data management platform Lotame, 49% of marketers consider privacy to be the biggest obstacle data clean rooms need to overcome.

As healthcare marketers get comfortable with the idea of data clean rooms, there will be a lot of testing and learning. Dave Leitner, EVP, Head of Media at Klick Health, pointed out that data isn’t the barrier to entry as much as trust. “There are great tools and greater precautions, but with all that’s going on — like the My Health, My Data Act in Washington — we’re walking a fine line right now. Companies are OK with being the second mouse, but they don’t want to be the early bird,” he said.

Clean rooms offer pharma advertisers a powerful use case on CTV. They can tap into TV streamers to plan and activate campaigns using first-party data or model it out with third-party data. However, similarly to the fragmentation haunting the convergent TV landscape, interoperability is the only way this will succeed.

3. Convergent TV Can Improve Patient Outcomes

Because people are more likely to be diagnosed with conditions as they age, older patients are an important demographic for pharma brands. In partnership with Roku, we surveyed more than 3,000 adults across every age group. Our goal was to better understand “silver streamers,” or adults 50 and over.

The idea that CTV is a channel for younger audiences is common. It’s also wrong. We found that 79% of adults 50 and over stream, and 52% of them are doing it more than last year.

One key difference between demographics is that silver streamers are likelier to watch linear TV. In fact, 57% of silver streamers stream and watch cable and satellite TV. Another key difference: silver streamers are less likely than younger audiences to find the pharma ads they see on streaming services relevant to their lives.

Convergent TV represents a massive opportunity for pharma advertisers to engage silver streamers. “If I’m sitting in my living room watching these ads on linear TV, I’m being hit by the same ad over and over again with a really high frequency. When you buy with CTV, you can reach a highly exclusive audience,” explained Sue Hyon Jo, Senior Lead, Ad Management, at Roku.

Added John Mangano, DeepIntent’s Chief Analytics Officer, “We’re all in health, which is more than selling something. It’s about getting someone to seek treatment, which CTV can do effectively.”

To learn more about silver streamers, their TV habits, and how pharma ads impact their health and wellness journeys, download the research report here.

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