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Mass Reach vs. Precision-Play: Do You Have to Choose?

07 January 2014 | Blog

In an article “Addressable TV: Who Are We Really Addressing?” last month, Tracy Gross questions what differentiates addressable TV in a world with plenty of other “precision-play” options. Gross has plenty of complimentary things to say about a technique that’s finally arrived, praising its efficiency, accountability, and insights. But she notes:

“With all of this applied data targeting, what Addressable TV may not deliver is the thing we always looked to television to deliver: mass. Take away “mass,” and I have to wonder what television offers that other digital media options don’t.”

In raising this point, though, she misses the point. In her analysis, you have the mass reach of television on one side, and then a bunch of equivalent precision play options on the other. What she fails to understand is that addressable TV does not fall on one side or the other, but bridges the two. It brings the precision of audience-based targeting to the mass reach of television.

As we’ve noted before, TV continues to be the most popular consumer medium by far. Focusing on targeted TV audiences still results in significantly more reach than equivalent targeted audiences through any other medium. The process may be similar to digital options, but the effect has the potential to be far more powerful.

So when Gross asks “Marketers have had a host of options for utilizing data to hyper-target highly relevant messages to the right audiences for some time now. So what does Addressable TV offer that they don’t?”, she has already answered her own question. Mass.