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TV Advertising is Finally Becoming More Data Driven – Which Means Everything About the TV Ad Business Needs to Change

September 9, 2020



Nicolle Pangis, CEO of Ampersand, discusses how traditional media companies are trying to accommodate brands who want to bring the same kind of targeting they use in digital to TV. But, Pangis believes this shift, along with pandemic, will cause the TV upfront to change radically, while forcing agencies and brands to consolidate many of their ad buying operations. Pangis also talks about how big changes in consumer tracking may upend many norms in programmatic advertising.



Mike (19s):
Hey guys, this is Mike and this week on Next in Marketing I got to talk to Nicolle Pangis, CEO of Ampersand. We talked about why it’s taking so long for the TV industry to start selling ads like digital media, why the pandemic is permanently shaken up the TV upfronts, why both brands and agencies are likely to face a wave of painful consolidation. Let’s get started. Hi, Nicolle.

Nicolle (39s):
Hi, how are you doing Mike?

Mike (39s):
I’m alright. Thanks for joining us today. So I thought an obvious place to start is Ampersand is a company that has been rebranded, it’s a relatively new brand, the company has been around for, in different forms for while, but maybe if you just give us the basic, who are you guys story.

Nicolle (56s):
Yeah, sure. So the company was founded in the early 1980s and really the premise of the company, back then was, you know, cable operators then, and still now each have their own individual footprint. And the company was actually founded in the Boston area and a couple, a husband and wife realize that in order for a Boston-based advertiser who wanted to advertise in Boston and Boston DMA they’d have to work with, I don’t remember exactly the number, I knew this story when I first started, but let’s say it was like 25 different cable operators or 30 different cable operators because everybody had their own <inaudible>.

Mike (1m 30s): Just to target Boston?

Nicolle (1m 33s):
In Boston, exactly. It was some, you know, some large number of cable operators at the time. I dunno if it was 20 or 25, whatever it was.

Mike (1m 41s):
You think cable is just one game in town or something, but it’s not when the town is Boston.

Nicolle (1m 45s):
Exactly. So and so it was like the Boston area and so they started going to all the different cable operators and says, Hey, if we all worked together, we can create an interface on your collective behalf to work with advertisers in the area to effectively bring more money to all of you, right, to create an advertising business in Boston. Long story short, it was successful. They realized that in every, basically, every major DMA, every area in the country, the same problem was the case. And so they just expanded, expanded, expanded long story short, now, even just before I joined, 85 million households, 120 cable networks and all of the major cable operators, but also they folded in over the years, all of the satellite operators and all the telcos as well, you know?

Nicolle (2m 29s):
So the Verizons, the AT&Ts et cetera, you know, <inaudible> dish all the way, you know, so we’re really partners with all the major players. All the MVPDs in the marketplace. When I joined two years ago, we pivoted not just into that sort of multi-region local linear business that had, you know, made the company nearly $2 billion business, believe it or not just in that example that I gave you. But now we also pulled together all the national addressable across Comcast, Cox and Charter, and then Verizon joined us months ago as well.

Nicolle (3m 3s):
And so we’re really pushing into the national addressable space, which is sort of the next frontier of collaboration that all these companies that I just described need to do in order to create, you know, a consistent interface for the buy side to make it again, simpler to buy addressable, which is sort of the new difficult TV place to buy.

. . .

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Meet our host, Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the founder of Shields Strategic Consulting. Shields covered the ad business for over 15 years at top publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Adweek and Digiday.

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