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Despite the frequent headlines about declining ratings and measurable drops in adpsend, TV continues to be one of the most compelling media for consumers. And with advertisers shining a light on the murky ad tech supply chain and wanting more transparency and better trust, the future for TV looks brighter. And then there’s a strong push for data driven insights & TV audience targeting that goes beyond simple age and gender demographics, or even just time spent in watching a show on a mobile device vs a bigger screen. So how is TV riding this data wave?

The Drum, in association with TiVo, led a panel to help answer this question. TiVo senior vice president of advanced media advertising, Walt Hortsman said we need to start with what we know: “Television is still the most effective medium in changing consumer behavior.”

Hortsman qualified TV as “premium video that is delivered by any mechanism,” but the industry as a whole lacks a shared definition of when to attribute a consumer’s action to an exposure. Working with consumer purchase data to understand and identify those industry benchmarks can help shape a clearer vision of the future of TV, he said.

“We’ve seen frustrations even within clients, when they don’t have an internal definition of what they want to see and what they would consider successful,” said Viva Metrics founder and CTO Evan Lewis, who cautioned that campaigns are “bound to fail” when organizations analyze data without first outlining a clear and precise goal.

A successful campaign considers a consumer’s entire cross-platform journey without being too broad and aimless, or too focused and exclusionary.

“One risk is getting too narrow,” said Dave Nussbaum, senior vice president of business intelligence at Publicis Health. “I see a lot of people saying we’re going to eliminate waste, and I think that’s dangerous because there’s conversation, there’s next-door neighbors. You want to drive conversation, not just necessarily talk to that individual.”

Lewis explained that it takes a “tricky triumvirate” to achieve such a balance: A media outlet needs to guarantee success on a new metric, a client needs to be courageous enough to dive in, and an agency needs to have the means to execute that plan.

While industry leaders are re-evaluating how they use data today, content creators, too, are championing data in a way that’s changing the economic model of television.

Streaming services like HBO and Netflix are positioning themselves ahead of traditional networks because of their embrace of consumer data, which helps identify commercially viable programs and streamline the greenlighting process.

Understanding that content is king and marrying that now data-driven philosophy with the push to drive consumer purchase behavior in a more measurable way is changing the TV ecosystem.

“Amazon Prime is a great example of that,” said Hortsman, “where [the content] could be thought of as a loss-leader to have you more engaged in the Amazon ecosystem.”

The future of TV is becoming increasingly seamless. Audiences are watching and purchasing indiscriminately of platform. This is not your grandfather’s TV experience, and companies that understand that are coming out on top.