Why media agencies need a head of TV

Why media agencies need a head of TV

A head of TV understands the advantages of each type of ‘TV’ and can help advertisers navigate this time of convergence.

What constitutes “TV” today will arguably get different answers depending on the person you ask. Whether it be your parents, who are bingeing the latest thriller series from one of their SVOD subscriptions, or your colleagues tuning in to the weekend’s football game delivered live from one of the UK’s broadcasting services.

This range of definitions and experiences also applies to the world of media planning, in which ad buying on the channel previously known as TV has undergone a profound transformation.

Largely as a result of technical innovation and a plethora of new on-demand streaming and broadcast platforms, the TV ad market has become fragmented and deeply confusing — for both sides of the negotiating table.

You only need to look at the range of acronyms used by the industry — AVOD, FAST, UGC, IPTV, CTV, to name a few — to see how in need of clarification things are. 

Opening up possibilities

This isn’t a train that’s slowing down either. According to GroupM, connected TV (CTV) ad revenue is expected to grow 10.4% by 2028 and, with the current rate of smart TV purchase in the UK, viewers will have increasing access to both linear and on-demand services.

While this opens up exciting possibilities in terms of campaign targeting and measurement, it is also creating headaches for media planners trying to decide how best to spend their TV budgets. 

For example, there is currently a significant mismatch between the high number of viewers watching on-demand content and the comparatively low levels of ad revenue being generated by on-demand platforms.

This is largely a result of media buyers being siloed into teams with distinct channel expertise.

Linear TV buyers may have a very different view from someone with a digital programmatic background, with old-school media planners usually suspicious of the reach possible within CTV environments in comparison to tried-and-trusted linear TV. Likewise, programmatic buyers will have little or no experience in buying TV inventory. 

Of course, education initiatives by industry bodies, such as recent efforts by the IAB, will help to dissolve these differences over time. However, lingering confusion around where CTV should sit means it is often falling between the cracks from a media investment perspective.

This represents a serious missed opportunity for marketers to change the game in CTV media performance.

One vision

The best way to remedy this situation is for media planners to appoint an overarching “head of TV” within their businesses. This person has a brief that stretches across all teams that can be classified as “TV” (or AV, as it’s sometimes called), whether that refers to linear TV, CTV or online video. This individual will help advertisers navigate this time of convergence and transition.

The best people to fill this role are those who have an overview of the advantages of each type of TV and can unite these approaches across a coherent omnichannel media buying strategy.

Having this person as a source of TV “truth” makes it easier for brands to plan, activate and optimise their media budgets across these ostensibly disparate channels, as well as ensuring the business is in lockstep and not at the mercy of competing objectives.

These heads of TV can get involved in the early planning stage and help build incremental reach into each campaign. This includes targeting hard-to-reach audiences like light linear viewers or “cord-cutters”.

Moreover, these experts will be able to break down barriers when it comes to opaque reporting — they can ask the right questions of your supply chain partners (such as supply-side platforms or publishers), allowing your organisation to learn more about the channels, platforms, content, audiences and approach you need.


Furthermore, heads of TV can be future-facing. They can investigate emerging technologies that might change the game in CTV performance, such as tech that can determine users’ reactions to content in real time.

Similarly, once measurement and IDs become the norm with CTV, these experts can ensure the business is at the forefront of this revolution, leveraging cross-channel frequency-capping and integrated brand and performance campaigns.

The current issues that media agencies and brand marketers are facing with CTV (fragmentation, complexity, jargon etc) will only be tackled if organisations start to champion the right media buying expertise.

Heads of TV, with a brief to explore the opportunities that all of TV’s existing and emerging channels offer, will be crucial in helping media planners fully leverage the incredible power and versatility of TV advertising in 2024.

Clara De Rosa is head of customer success at Adform

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