With the ever-evolving ad market seeing a continued shift of dollars and consumer eyeballs from traditional to connected TV, long-time viewer favorite AMC Networks is taking a “viewer-first” strategy that reaches audiences on whatever screen they’re watching.
Advertisers can then take advantage of AMC’s reach and data to target a highly engaged audience across platforms.
I spoke with Evan Adlman, SVP of Advanced Advertising and Digital Partnerships at AMC Networks, to hear more about the company’s audience-first approach across digital and linear platforms.
Catherine Dale: Viewers have flocked to CTV in the last couple of years, though ad spend has lagged. Why is there this discrepancy? Are you seeing ad spend start to catch up to viewership?
Evan Adlman: Buyers WANT to have the security in knowing where their ads are running and they can do that by using content metadata to target campaigns by show — now we’re able to provide that. COVID-19 is accelerating the shift to CTV and we are seeing ad dollars flowing to CTV and addressable. Advertisers are realizing it’s time to follow the audience to CTV, plus they’re able to take advantage of CTV’s targeting and measurement capabilities that have evolved greatly in recent years.
CD: Tell us more about the AMC audience. Have you seen any shift in viewership behavior as consumer habits have been upended this year?
EA: With shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Love After Lock Up,” viewership at AMC is at an all-time high, and our audience is more engaged than ever. Viewers are streaming across many different distribution channels based on their preferences. AMC strives to produce the top-quality content that users crave and make it available on their favorite platforms, including several AVOD services.
CD: How are you working with buyers to layer data on their campaigns to reach their desired audiences?
EA: As buyers transition ad spend from linear to digital, they’re finding they can get the best of both worlds. Part of our distribution strategy includes not only going where the users go, but also enhancing our audience offering with both first- and third-party data. AMC uses SpotX’s Audience Management Engine to enable these targeted third-party audience segments from DMPs such as Krux and LiveRamp. We help advertisers tap into 1-to-1 audience targeting, as well as contextual targeting, including show-level targeting through content metadata, to make sure they’re reaching their audiences with the right message in the right environment.
CD: You’ve been in this space for a long time and know how difficult the vMVPD landscape can be to navigate. How are you solving for some of those complexities at AMC?
EA: One of our priorities is helping to solve fragmentation by providing one point of access for buyers. Demand path optimization is also important. We’re selecting fewer partners and forming closer, more valuable relationships with each. An example of this is our partnership with SpotX, as your team has such strong expertise in CTV and OTT. We’re focusing on selecting partners that understand the nuances of vMVPDs and can help AMC’s business succeed as we expand onto new distribution platforms.
CD: How does SpotX’s Demand Facilitation Team work alongside your sales team?
EA: We found it important to partner with the SpotX team to further evangelize AMC inventory in the market. Our structure is such that we have complementary conversations and buckets of inventory, which is attractive to multiple decision-makers.
SpotX has such deep expertise in our market, your team can help arm the AMC direct sales team with training and forecasting tools, or insights such as audience overlap on specific segments. This is especially important when it comes to programmatic guaranteed (PG) deals, which we’ve seen continue to grow this year. PG allows for flexibility, 1-to-1 audience targeting, and the benefit of guarantees — truly providing buyers with the best of both worlds.
CD: We recently announced that we’re extending our partnership beyond OTT to monetize AMC’s addressable TV inventory. What is the future of linear addressable at AMC?
EA: We’ve waited a long time for a scalable solution to accelerate the growth of addressable TV. We worked with advertisers to reach their audiences on an individual or household level through our digital spots, but that just hadn’t been possible through traditional TV. Now with our initiatives with SpotX, Project OAR, and others, and with the addition of programmatic, we’ve grown our addressable offering and can extend audience-driven strategies to linear.
As I recently shared with Beet.TV on this very topic, part of the challenge was that linear addressable has historically been available at the local level. We’ve been able to launch and deliver national addressable targeting on our linear channels. That means advertisers no longer need to go to each individual endpoint to stitch together a national campaign, they can now come to us and reach our entire AMC Networks footprint, regardless of the platform on which the consumer is engaging with the content.
Catherine Dale is Regional VP of Platform at SpotX, managing both platform services and business development on the East Coast. Her team cultivates relationships with publishers leveraging the SpotX platform and ensures they maximize fill and yield to capture the utmost value of each capability. Catherine is a programmatic expert across all screens and streams, bringing over seven years of experience from Rubicon Project to SpotX. Catherine has managed mobile advertising operations and in her previous role, led publisher onboarding across EMEA from Rubicon’s London office where she witnessed the evolution of programmatic first-hand, from ad network optimization to header bidding. She is recognized as an industry thought leader and has spoken on stage at Advertising Week New York and MediaWire, and has led several IAB Programmatic master classes. Catherine joined SpotX in 2019 and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in media and design, communications, and media and rhetoric from Northeastern University.