The Power of Partnership: Driving Engagement Within a Convergent Entertainment Landscape

Solution Concepts with Handshake on Chalkboard Background

How the right data and media partnerships will solve advertiser challenges across linear TV, advanced TV and beyond. 

By Mallory Armstrong, Head of Global TV Data Strategy, Yahoo

One of the hottest topics we see in the industry is conversations around convergent TV. With data showing that non-pay TV viewers (cord-cutters and cord-nevers combined) will outnumber pay TV viewers for the first time in 2024. However, as we think of today’s consumer, we should think not only of convergent TV but convergent entertainment, which includes TV, gaming and social options.

With each of these channels come nuances in content styles, optimal ad formats and how to translate between walls often firmly established between each of these media owners. These factors make it even more imperative for marketers to create a connected data “spine” to understand and execute a cohesive strategy across them. But too often, our industry tries to take what worked in one channel and simply replicate it in another.

In today’s convergent entertainment world, this is a crucial mistake. Channels may share the same media formats (e.g., video) or KPIs (e.g., viewable impressions) but this doesn’t mean identical creative will yield identical results.

Fortunately, integrated media partnerships can help advertisers differentiate themselves and create a clear competitive advantage in convergent entertainment. In this blog, I explore how the right data and media partnerships can help drive results for advertisers across linear TV (LTV), connected TV (CTV), desktop, mobile and other channels.

Understanding convergent entertainment

Let’s start with a definition. When our industry talks about the convergent TV landscape, we’re referring to the blurring of lines between media types, devices and platforms between linear to addressable and fully OTT TV options. Convergent entertainment takes that further to include all media channels vying for consumer attention.

How convergence can mean divergence for advertisers

Advertisers face growing challenges as they consider the reality of this convergence and the media owners that operate within it. In trying to maintain a connection to their audiences, comprehensive identity data becomes more challenging to access because dominant media entities across these core channels are often walled gardens, each with its slice of the behavioral data pie.

This lack of connection is especially problematic as demographics have shifted since the advent of digital media. We are finally reaching the long-discussed moment of TV viewership shifting to CTV. This coincides with a compounding effect of having new audiences emerge with a substantial share of voice across generations — the younger of which see their habits transform as quickly as the convergent media landscape evolves.

Creating partnerships with convergence in mind

Each of today’s convergent entertainment players has its unique ability to leverage data on behalf of advertisers. While individually, the data and media within their walled gardens may be very valuable, it’s rarely fully comprehensive. But collectively, these owners have the potential to support:

  • A thorough understanding of consumer cross-channel behavior
  • A dynamic means to engage consumers in nuanced ways that reflect unique channels and consumer characteristics
  • A unified view of cross-screen consumer behavior for more accurate measurement and more actionable insights

Advertisers need a partnership approach to use these insights effectively. That means strategic partners that help them:

  • Refine the roles of their media partners from LTV to OTT and all omnichannel access points to best achieve their goals
  • Access, leverage and measure unified audience data
  • Co-develop products that fill gaps in their media strategy

In this way, they can establish an end-to-end ecosystem — built upon a connected data spine — easily unlocked within their preferred partner platform but with access across channels. When these complementary partnerships exist, advertisers gain true data-driven capabilities that increase the value of every media dollar. Analytics help them get faster, more granular, or more direct insights within the same platform where they plan, activate and optimize their media.

Audience-first advertising puts the consumer first

Perhaps the most critical benefit of this type of end-to-end ecosystem is how it can inform a media strategy that genuinely reflects consumers’ real cross-channel behaviors and preferences. The true challenge is respect: Marketers must build trusted relationships with audiences, with their content and privacy preferences at the forefront. Through these first-party relationships, marketers can build more creative, differentiated and successful campaigns in the long term. The end result: campaigns that offer ad experiences that support the consumer journey rather than disrupt.

The Yahoo advantage

Yahoo has long been one of digital media’s pioneers and most recognizable partners. Our relationship approach offers advertisers a comprehensive connection to consumers across the convergent entertainment landscape built upon a foundation of a trusted, first-party relationship with our consumers. Some examples of how this comes to life include:

  • Our proprietary In-Flight Sales Analysis. Since its launch, it has provided some of the earliest outcome-based measurements across channels, with CTV being available since 2019 and DOOH going live in 2021.
  • Our Advanced TV Suite brought to market one of the first end-to-end cross-screen toolkits for advertisers and agencies. It covers planning, activation and measurement of linear TV to digital for video and all digital formats for the convergent entertainment space to come.

These examples illustrate how complementary partnerships, such as bridging linear TV and digital ecosystems or offline data to online engagement, can solve challenges created by walled gardens that promote data fragmentation.

Ready to dive deeper into the future opportunities of partnerships in convergent entertainment? Please listen to the podcast I did with Screen Wars hosted by Michael Beach, CEO of Cross Screen Media.

Connect with Yahoo today to learn more about tapping into the power of partnerships for advanced TV.