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Feb 12
connected tv buying for special events

Connected TV buying for special events | choozlechat ep. #16

In this choozlechat podcast episode, we chatted with Account Executive Samantha Rutishauser about leveraging connected TV for special events like live sports, the Olympics, and more.

We cover:

  • The advantages of CTV over linear TV
  • CTV opportunities for special events
  • Why people are switching to CTV
  • And lots more

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts, and see below for the full transcript.


Key takeaways

4:33 – Why do you think there’s such a big opportunity for marketers to shift from linear or traditional TV to connected TV?
For years, a lot of linear sellers have justified the cost of linear television and the role it still has in the media landscape by saying people are tuning into the news, or they’re tuning into live sports. But now you look at all the different publishers and suppliers who have inventory and news, but also these really high profile events, like you said, March Madness, the Super Bowl, the Olympics. Not only is the media landscape fractured from a viewership perspective, but the advertiser opportunity is more multidimensional than it was five or 10 years ago.

There are plenty of connected TV deals within Choozle’s Deal Explorer that gives you access to the March Madness Inventory across ESPN, Sling TV, AT&T, and more. These deals will allow you to target users while they are watching games either live or recorded. There are also a few deals for display and audio inventory so you can reach March Madness viewers on other devices and channels.  

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10:41 – As a marketer or advertiser, what’s available for them for connected TV around special events and sports?
Yeah, I mean, I think working with a partner like Choozle, as I said earlier, the benefit is we have multiple inventory partners. We’re not just selling Sling TV or Roku because you can access all of those different publishers through a partner like Choozle. It allows us to tap into multiple pools of inventory and execute campaigns around these types of events at scale. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend only looking to buy one specific game through connected TV, just because it’s a little bit too hyper-focused for that kind of platform, I think.

But you can look at March Madness and just the sheer number of games, and you can tap into that inventory across Sling or AT&T.

There are a bunch of different ways that people are watching these games. And because of that, there are a bunch of different ways that we could access that inventory and run a successful campaign.

19:26 – Do we want to dig into some examples of what are considered special events or things that people should think about when they’re putting together their connected TV campaigns?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think I’ve said March Madness and the Olympics a few times. For those two events specifically, for me, I feel like there’s a huge opportunity just because they happen over a longer period of time and just the nature of the tournament and the Olympics, viewership and anticipation builds as we get closer to the NCAA championship.

You just see, at least from a traditional television perspective, those rating points increase and the viewership increase. Say with the Olympics, as we’re following our teams and they get closer to their final matches or their medal contending events, engagement just skyrockets.


Full transcript

Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Megan: (00:54)
Thank you all for tuning in to this week’s LIVE choozlechat. These are quick 20-minute conversations with someone on our team and myself. The goal is to tackle the tactics and strategies that you can use in your digital advertising campaigns.

As marketers ourselves, we definitely understand how much, you know, everything can change. I want to be a resource for you as those changes happen. Today’s topic–and I’m super excited about this one–is digging more into connected TV and the kind of opportunities it unlocks.

In a recent survey from eMarketer, nearly two hundred and two million people will continue to stream or watch television on connected TV at least once a month. Nielsen even extends that further, saying people tune in for more than two hours a day through connected TV streaming devices.

This offers ample opportunity for marketers to get in front of their consumers. This opportunity is even more exciting when you start looking at special events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Olympics, or even the Oscars.

I’m excited today that I’m chatting with Sam from the Choozle team. As a formal traditional TV seller, she has a really unique perspective on why connected TV is becoming the norm, as well insight into how you could capture this opportunity around special events. Welcome, Sam.

Sam: (02:46)
Thanks for having me. I’m super excited.

Megan: (02:49)
Before we dig in, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, and what you do here at Choozle?

Sam: (03:02)
I’m the Northeast Account Executive for Choozle. I joined Choozle about six months ago and previously worked at CBS for a little over six years. So as you said, most of my experience has been in traditional television and linear, but I was really excited to join Choozle because of the way consumer behavior is changing. The shift from eyeballs from linear television to connected TV has been really exciting to be a part of.

Megan: (03:37)
Let’s dig into that. Why do you think there’s such a big opportunity for marketers to shift from linear or traditional TV to connected TV?

Sam: (03:46)
For years, a lot of linear sellers have justified the cost of linear television and the role it still has in the media landscape by saying people are tuning into news, or they’re tuning into live sports. But now you look at all the different publishers and suppliers who have inventory and news, but also these really high profile events, like you said, March Madness, the Super Bowl, the Olympics. Not only is the media landscape fractured from a viewership perspective, but the advertiser opportunity is more multidimensional than it was five or 10 years ago.

Megan (04:33)
What do you think the value that marketers and media buyers are getting when they’re moving to connected TV?

Sam (04:48)
Traditional television is based on unreliable, old school units of measurement. The metric systems haven’t been updated in a long time. But because it’s the norm, there really isn’t any other way to to purchase that inventory and measure its success. I think, one, the tracking aspect of it is huge, especially from a digital marketing perspective, because so much of digital marketing is based on tangible metrics of success, whether it’s impressions or cost per thousand versus television–that’s really more of a reach cost per point basis.

So, there’s the trackability aspect. It’s a much more efficient way to purchase that kind of advertising platform versus when you buy traditional television, you have to go to a rep at the station. You have to work usually unless you’re working with an agency. They have dozens and dozens of reps across the country. There’s just a lot of manpower that goes into not only placing that type of media, but also tracking creative, running pre-logs, and post-logs.

It’s a lot of legwork, and a lot of agencies with internal marketing teams lose productivity based on just how much involvement goes into policing that kind of advertising. With connected TV, especially working with a partner like Choozle, it’s a really efficient, easy way to get those campaigns up and running. And you can also tap into multiple suppliers, multiple channels of inventory through one platform versus having, like I said, dozens of reps, dozens of points of contact that you have to go through to execute that kind of campaign at scale.

Megan: (07:06)
That sounds exhausting to me.

Sam: (07:09)
It is. I mean, every time I’m in the platform–not to be too salesy here–it just blows my mind how much easier it is to get a campaign up and running and then also apply creative. And because there’s so much manpower that goes into executing a linear television campaign, that also leaves a lot of room for error. It’s exhausting and very stressful or it was really stressful.

Megan: (07:42)
I think marketers try really hard to be proactive and plan in advance, but that’s not always going to be the case. Sometimes, you know, marketers can find a really good angle, and it can sometimes be a rush, rush, rush to on a linear buy, or the spots are already sold out for special events, whereas connected TV gives you that flexibility of tapping into those special events and live sports without the manpower as well as the time-sensitivity of planning in advance.

Sam: (08:35)
Yeah, just look at how much digital has changed over the last 10 years and how much engagement pops up around events like March Madness or the Super Bowl. Digital provides so many more opportunities for creative marketing and getting around those types of events, because realistically, very few marketers–or advertisers, I should say–can buy a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl or a 30-second spot in the NCAA championship. But going through these digital channels, you have just a lot of room for a more efficient, targeted buy.

And then a lot of creativity, I think, comes out of that. Now we all watch TV–and when I say TV, I mean everything from CBS broadcast to Hulu–but we’re almost always on our phones while we’re watching TV. When these events come up, people are posting about it. They’re tweeting about. Take March Madness, for example. In the 2018 tournament, there were one hundred or forty-nine million brackets filled out, which to give some perspective on that is only 10 million less than the number of people who voted in the 2020 election.

So people are just watching these types of events. They are engaged with it. They’re talking about it.
To use a really old school expression, it’s like water cooler talk. There’s also just really nothing else going on at that time of the year. And it’s the same with the Olympics. It’s a really big social event in a way, because people are following their favorite athletes now with superstar athletes. There’s a lot of celebrity around the Olympics. People are following their social media channels. They’re all endorsing their own products. There’s just a lot more content available across so many different channels than just watching a game on television or an event.

Megan: (10:41)
Let’s dig into special events and live sports. As a marketer or advertiser, what’s available for them for connected TV around special events and sports?

Sam: (11:02)
Yeah, I mean, I think working with a partner like Choozle, as I said earlier, the benefit is we have multiple inventory partners. We’re not just selling Sling TV or Roku because you can access all of those different publishers through a partner like Choozle. It allows us to tap into multiple pools of inventory and execute campaigns around these types of events at scale. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend only looking to buy one specific game through connected TV, just because it’s a little bit too hyper-focused for that kind of platform, I think.

But you can look at March Madness and just the sheer number of games, and you can tap into that inventory across Sling or AT&T.

There are a bunch of different ways that people are watching these games. And because of that, there are a bunch of different ways that we could access that inventory and run a successful campaign.

Megan (12:34)
Yeah, and I think even when we compare the special events like live sports or the Olympics, there’s that fractured point between demographics, too. I think younger generations are definitely more likely to engage with streaming services to watch sports as opposed to getting a full cable package.

I also think the pandemic has only increased across more demographics and age ranges because so many people have abandoned their cable subscriptions that they’ve just gone to like CBS or Sling to get just those sports packages.

Sam: (13:23)
It’s so true. And the pandemic has affected everyone, obviously, but it really accelerated cord-cutting so much because so many people still justify paying for their cable subscription because they can watch sports. When we didn’t have live sports in 2020, people abandoned their cable packages and stopped buying those services in favor of streaming.

While we did see a lot of live sports return towards the end of 2020, a lot of people didn’t go back to their cable subscriptions because, again, there are just so many other options for accessing that inventory. I couldn’t agree more with your point that younger generations are more likely to stream. We can look at the last NBA championship. I forget when it was in 2020, but it had really, really bad ratings.

The NBA typically doesn’t do super well from a ratings perspective. I was listening to an interview with Mark Cuban and the question was, where was the viewership for the NBA championship? And one of his points was that we had this whole generation of people, of consumers who aren’t cutting the cord. They have never had cable services to begin with. They started watching TV with Hulu and Sling already available.

It’s not even a matter of cord-cutting anymore. It’s a matter of people just aren’t being those customers ever, which is a really interesting, I think, and a very telling example of where the industry is going and then also the opportunity for advertisers because they obviously want to move with where the consumer eyeballs are going.

Megan: (14:54)
Yeah, totally. There are the people that are watching sports live in the moment. But then there’s also video-on-demand. I think the flexibility for people, especially in the time of a pandemic, with many working from home or having to deal with family and different schedules, they want convenience. That’s what streaming offers that cable doesn’t necessarily offer. And more and more people are going to realize they would rather have the convenience of streaming and be able to pick when they watch sports.

Sam: (15:54)
It’s when you look at March Madness, for example, it starts on a Thursday. And there are two rounds where the majority of the games are during the day on Thursday and Friday. In normal times, people are at work. They’re not necessarily at home in front of their televisions. They’re streaming their games on their desktops. This year presents a really, really unique opportunity because we’re still all stuck at home.

There’s going to be a lot less opportunity for social gatherings around these types of events. March Madness, I don’t know the exact statistics, but we would sell, you know, Nielsen numbers for March Madness and those wouldn’t account for people who are congregating in bars.

And I use this example of March Madness at CBS every year. Our station was right across the street from a sports bar and every March Madness, every year, there were people overflowing into the street during March Madness because it’s a social event. People go to the bars to watch it. And that viewership adds almost 30 percent more viewership than the Nielsen ratings can track. This year, because we don’t have bars and restaurants right now with the pandemic, all of those people are going to need to find another way to watch the game.

And then you look at the Olympics. The Olympics are going to be in Japan, which is a 14-hour time difference from New York. By the time a lot of those events have happened, people are posting online. There are going to be replays online. There’s going to be a lot less opportunity there for that kind of television experience that a lot of linear television sellers stand on. In turn, it also presents a huge opportunity for people to tap into that inventory and not just online with that type of content, but also be engaging with the consumer who is choosing to watch it and is a little bit more engaged.

Megan: (18:10)
It’s really interesting to think about, especially, I guess, the relationship of sports and the viewership and sports bars and stuff like that, how that could really change this year. And I think digital gives you a really nice understanding of that because it’s kind of that more one to one for like one to household numbers.

Sam: (18:35)
I’m sure some people will still gather for some events, but there’s going to be such a gigantic percentage of yours that maybe every year they go to their local sports bar to watch March Madness and they don’t have any way to watch it this year. They’re going to be seeking new services. Now, if you just look at it from a cost perspective, streaming services are so much more cost-effective. Cable can be obscenely expensive, and so I think we’re going to just see a huge acceleration and adoption of those streaming services over the next six months, even more so for 2021 considering the circumstances.

Megan: (19:26)
We’ve definitely seen an increase in free streaming services like Peacock, Crackle, and some other ones in the news and special events categories, where everyone has access to them. And that gives you a really great opportunity to tap into an even bigger audience that might not be subscribing to services like Hulu or Sling.

Do we want to dig into some examples of what are considered special events or things that people should think about when they’re putting together their connected TV campaigns?

Sam: (20:20)
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think I’ve said March Madness and the Olympics a few times. For those two events specifically, for me, I feel like there’s a huge opportunity just because they happen over a longer period of time and just the nature of the tournament and the Olympics, viewership and anticipation builds as we get closer to the NCAA championship.

You just see, at least from a traditional television perspective, those rating points increase and the viewership increase. Say with the Olympics, as we’re following our teams and they get closer to their final matches or their medal contending events, engagement just skyrockets.

So, it’s a longer period of engagement. And with that, advertisers have a lot more opportunity to build their reach, build their frequency, rather than a one-off event like the Super Bowl, where they might see your ad once. In this day and age, where we’re all so distracted and have one hundred screens in front of our face, these longer types of events give a little bit more momentum.

Even say with the PGA. The PGA audience is a really desirable audience for a lot of marketers. I want to tap into that type of consumer, and the PGA season stretches from, I think spring to the fall, maybe I like getting my dates confused because everything got moved around in 2020, but there’s the whole season. But then there are these really big events like the Masters and the PGA Championship that are nicely spread apart, so there’s the same kind of opportunity for building that engagement, reaching your target audience more than one time, and just, I think, solidifying that correlation between the event and the brand.

Megan: (22:18)
And I think it also gives the opportunity of bringing in those other channels, such as mobile and desktop and using cost device targeting to make sure that you’re hitting the consumer in multiple different ways, as opposed to these one-time events, hoping that they see the ad and not having that, like, follow up strategy.

Sam: (22:40)
As I said, we’re all on our phones and I think with 2021, this year the other element that’s going to really help increase not only engagement on connected TV but across all different channels is sports gambling, which is becoming legal in a lot of different states.

Those bracket numbers were based on 2019 before sports betting became legal in a bunch of states. You just think about how much more engagement that’s going to build, because now not only are people invested in their own teams and whatever they’re following, but they’re doing their research. They’re picking what teams they want to bet on, and what they want to fill their brackets on. It’ll be, I think, a really interesting time for viewership across all different platforms and a really exciting opportunity for marketers.

Megan: (23:33)
Yeah, and I think sports betting has even gone into the non-sports categories. It’s a huge opportunity across so many–I guess, like the interdependencies of live sports and live TV experience and content with other ways of reaching that consumer and engaging that consumer.

Sam: (23:57)
Yeah, I mean, it’s all entertainment. They even bet on what Meghan Markle was going good name her baby. There are Vegas odds for everything. And there’s always bets for the Oscars. That whole category is just going to blow up so much in the next few years. And you’re so right, it’s not even only sports. It’s any way we can entertain ourselves that’s just going to produce that much more engagement.

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