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Upfront 2024/25: How Publishers Can Be at the Cutting Edge of Identity, Performance, Measurement, and More

  • - Tara Franceschini
  • 4 min read

All indicators point to the 2024/25 Upfronts generating stronger advertising revenue than the previous season, with Convergent TV and streaming particularly ripe for growth.

By industry estimates, at the end of this year, nearly half of all advertising revenue will be driven by streaming, whether through direct sales or programmatic channels, underscoring the importance of having a comprehensive Convergent TV strategy in place, which will also help companies to make the most of the 2024 Upfronts.

What’s on everyone’s minds

The broader TV ecosystem is seeing a convergence of different, sweeping changes in consumption, and this year’s Upfronts aligns with this convergence.

Stakeholders must keep key trends in mind as they approach this season’s deals, and ensure that each weighs into their 2024/25 Upfronts strategy:

  • Consumers expect more personalized experiences across every interaction: Marketers need to be able to seamlessly activate their first-party data to reach customers and drive better campaign performance
  • Omnichannel marketing needs to power every experience, as well as measurement: First-party data and identity strategies not only enable connectivity to every touchpoint, but allow for better measurement of these touchpoints; when allocating ad spends, marketers will prioritize platforms with better measurement.
  • Retail media has the potential to transform CTV: Data offered by Retail Media Networks (RMNs) offers a transformative tool for the ecosystem to leverage more closed-loop measurement and customer insights than ever before, including conversions.
  • The pressure to drive measurable performance is mounting: As the ecosystem gets more data-driven, publishers need to enable better measurement so that marketers can make informed decisions; better measurement will help publishers to stand out in a crowded field

As such, enabling better targeting and measurement, as well as connecting with RMNs, will be top-of-mind for publishers as they refine their strategy for this year’s Upfront, and data collaboration offers the capabilities they’re looking for.

Publisher priority: Identity

In the Convergent TV landscape, publishers need to be able to connect all of their inventory and offer customers valuable cross-screen packages that can be empowered by first and third-party data. Advertisers want the ability to see value and measure performance across all of their Convergent TV investments to make informed investments.

Identity is the key to unlocking this for the TV ecosystem. Specifically, authenticated identity creates a better understanding of consumer behavior, including their consumption habits, what touchpoints are working best to reach them, and how ad exposures translate into conversions. An identity spine also helps with resolving and deconflicting to develop accurate views at an individual and/or household level, ensuring that ads reach the right targets. Advanced stakeholders can even connect campaign performance to real business outcomes.

Furthermore, by enabling people-based marketing in conjunction with empowering marketers to personalize every touchpoint throughout consumers’ journeys, publishers unlock the ability for marketers to personalize interactions on a 1:1 basis with real people, connecting audience data into individuals and households. This enables more engaging marketing, and drives more value for both consumer and marketer.

As the ecosystem adopts various identifiers to advance connectivity and measurement outcomes, publishers will be most successful when they use interoperable, flexible solutions that allow them to collaborate with any advertiser or partner.

Publisher priority: Performance

Retail Media holds transformative potential for all parts of the advertising ecosystem, and this includes TV.

Identity allows brands to gain a consistent view across all channels while enhancing addressability and improving measurement. In the case of CTV and retail media, identity uncovers the real-time customer intelligence brands need to maximize their investments in these premium channels.

Connecting retail media with Convergent TV unlocks the ability to link TV viewership to purchases, which is perhaps the most critical conversion that marketers are trying to measure. Joining CTV and retail media is an opportunity to bring much-needed transparency and measurable impact to advertisers.

By collaborating their first-party data together, TV publishers and retailers can help marketers unlock an omnichannel view of their customers from exposure all the way to conversion, while improving holistic measurement of these conversions. Access to exposure data that was previously siloed and inaccessible across media partners will allow advertisers to more holistically understand – and better target across – channels and include more enhanced cross-screen measurement capabilities. The publishers that help brands optimize campaigns with a granular understanding of performance will be those that win coveted ad dollars this Upfront season.

What publishers should prioritize for the 2024 Upfronts and beyond

Publishers have clear priorities to build a compelling offering, not just for 2024 Upfronts, but to sustain them this year and beyond.

Building a first-party data strategy is a critical step. Publishers should have an identity solution that can be enhanced with partner data, and is capable of unifying fragments of consumer data and all of the disparate touchpoints a consumer has with them.

In a crowded landscape, publishers will win brand loyalty by selecting interoperable solutions that enable collaboration with brands to happen in the way they want to engage, building win-win relationships that lead to bigger ad investments. Publishers with proprietary IDs should prioritize interoperable functionality across the ecosystem to enable better data enrichment, data collaboration, measurement, and currency enablement.
In tandem with identity, and better understanding of households and individuals, marketers want segmentation that stays intact from targeting to exposure to conversion, through to measurement.

To learn more about the cutting edge of Convergent TV head of the 2024 Upfronts, check out a replay of our webinar with Paramount and Circana.