MarTech Interview with Jason Brown, Addressable Advertising Lead for WarnerMedia Ad Sales

How are consumer interests and intent shifting and how can this impact the way advertisers and marketers plan their overall media mix? Jason Brown, Addressable Advertising Lead for WarnerMedia Ad Sales shares a few trends in this chat with MarTech Series:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Jason, tell us more about your journey through the years and more about your role at WarnerMedia…

My career at AT&T really began through the acquisition of DIRECTV in 2015, when I led national ad sales for the business. That ultimately led to serving as CRO of the advanced advertising company Xandr, where I had the privilege of leading a team that transformed a largely legacy sales model in TV to an audience-first approach across linear and digital. I joined WarnerMedia Ad Sales in September 2020, through the integration of Xandr Media, focused on bringing the best of addressable TV technology to holding company and planning leads spanning WarnerMedia portfolio and DIRECTV (and now DIRECTV Stream, too) inventory. If I could sum up the business of addressable, in my time at DIRECTV/WarnerMedia, it’s that the aperture of addressability has grown. 

We’ve gone from primarily servicing linear to digital and OTT channels, and my focus is on showing the benefits of that for our buyers and helping them access our growing pool of addressable impressions. You’re starting to see this separation of the wheat from the chaff, with the growth and interest in CTV. Buyers want to know where they’ll run, and that they’ll get access to unique insights, alongside premium content, and data insights that prove out attribution. Our unique advantage is that we do have this access to premium content across linear, and OTT, layered on identity, with the ability to power precision, audience-based buys.

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New innovations in data and analytics are changing how advertisers and marketers are planning their TV ad campaigns, can you share a few thoughts and trends in today’s TV ad market and how the industry is slowly moving towards a data first approach?  

We’ve seen the agency community invest significantly over the last few years to acquire data companies and develop offerings built on identity, and to use their segments to activate against all inventory types, including television. We’re motivated and encouraged by that trend because we also have these differentiated, first-party insights, and work with these agencies and planning tools, to connect their audiences and their segments against our inventory to move the business from legacy age and gender to an audience-first approach. 

How do you see the TV ad viewing experience and TV ad industry evolve (from the user point of view) in today’s data and tech driven market? 

One trend streaming has brought to bear is a reset on what the consumer will tolerate in terms of ad load, and relevance of those ads. 

WarnerMedia Ad Sales recently released a report about Intentionalism exploring how consumers’ interests and intent is shifting, especially in an age of streaming and endless content options. Expectations of brands are evolving right alongside, and we found 65% of consumer respondents think more favorably of a brand when they provide fewer commercial interruptions during content they’re viewing. 

With limited commercial loads, you start to gain a better understanding of ad tolerance, and the right ratio of content to ads, and what the right balance is before you start to see churn in consumer attention. For companies that have invested in the technology to enable precision targeting, they’re able to deliver relevant ads to the right households, devices and audiences, and they’re benefiting from delivering a better consumer experience, and at times, even less ads when frequency is managed effectively. 

What are some of the top concerns you see marketers/advertisers struggle with when it comes to executing seamless addressable TV campaigns? 

In TV, there are legacy planning and buying systems, which can make change difficult. It’s also much tougher to control frequency against the same viewer than ever before because of fragmentation.

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How has addressable TV changed the most over the years? 

Addressable was born out of a need to reach less than 35% of the US population for a specific product or service, and to reduce waste. But it’s evolved because its secondary use is really important. In a world of fragmentation, it’s very difficult to achieve reach and scale even off of broad demographics. You can use the technology of addressable to increase reach against light TV viewers or unexposed households and devices. It’s an underutilized solution and tactic, and an insurance policy because it works every time and really helps improve reach and frequency.

A few thoughts on why marketers today can and should leverage advanced TV as part of their traditional-digital marketing mix? 

Buyers are looking for ways to achieve unique distribution against their desired audience target. Putting all of your eggs in one basket or channel does not yield enough reach against an audience target, especially due to fragmentation. If, for instance, you want to reach someone who’s in-market for a vehicle, you really have to look at multiple inventory sources and distribution opportunities to connect with that customer along a non-linear journey. I believe most consumers will ultimately have a baseline package, whether linear or live streaming service such as DIRECTV STREAM, where you can access all your favorite content from a single platform, including news, sports or your favorite show on HBO Max. And then you’ll have your subscription video on-demand platforms, and you’ll see a desire and need from marketers to really connect and unify their audience view across multiple channels. This reality is where audience-based buying really benefits marketers, in helping them achieve a holistic view of their audience target, regardless of the screen.

Some last thoughts and takeaways before we wrap up? 

I’m very bullish on identity and the first-party data advantage, and I believe that those that have that direct-to-consumer connection, will be the ones who prosper in this world in creating more relevant advertising with better frequency caps, and we have that against both linear and digital and OTT. 

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WarnerMedia offers powerful portfolio of iconic entertainment, news and sports brands including HBO, Warner Bros, Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, ELEAGUE, RoosterTeeth and much more.

Jason Brown is the Addressable Advertising Lead for WarnerMedia Ad Sales

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