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Networks and streaming companies are trying to reinvent TV advertising with new ad formats and buying options, but advertisers see holes in their lofty plans

Networks and streaming companies are trying to reinvent TV advertising with new ad formats and buying options, but advertisers see holes in their lofty plans

Digital companies and publishers want to modernize the decades-old TV advertising industry, but advertisers see problems in their pitches.

During a panel with three big agencies at AT&T's Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara, Calif., execs pointed out that new industry groups and ad formats don't directly benefit advertisers. Separately, new privacy controls set by companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon also could dampen data-sharing by TV networks and publishers, to the detriment of TV networks and publishers.

TV companies are increasingly forming groups like Open A.P., Project OAR and Xandr's Community to help advertisers buy and measure television ads.

David Campanelli, EVP and co-chief investment officer at Horizon Media, said advertisers end up working with individual publishers to create specific deals, though. He called for the groups to involve agencies and marketers in developing their products.

"[It would] allow us to not do one-off tests but allows us to buy at a much larger scale, which for the most part is what our advertisers are looking for," he said. "Scale often prevents us from testing different platforms."

Buying through TV networks' coalitions is further complicated by changing regulation and privacy issues, Megan Pagliuca, chief data officer at Hearts & Science, told Business Insider.

Facebook, Google, and Amazon are clamping down on how data is shared with advertisers. They're pushing advertisers toward using so-called "clean rooms" that aggregate platforms' and advertisers' own data. Advertisers can't pull data out of clean rooms, making it hard for them to compare the performance of digital ads with TV ads.

Google in particular has been pushing advertisers towards its clean room, Pagliuca said. Google has already removed its advertising ID in Europe and plans to remove it in the US next year, which means that advertisers who want to compare data from campaigns have to work within Google's platform.

"What's exciting is that we've been able to tie TV performance data like ACR and set-top box data to digital logs that are always on you," Pagliuca said. "Now that needs to be tied into Google — the walls are getting higher in the walled gardens."

Agencies say new OTT ad formats don't solve broader problems with TV advertising

Companies are experimenting with new ad formats for OTT and streaming devices. Hulu has experimented with ads that take over a screen when a consumer pauses a show and Fox had its six-seconds ads in 2017. Xandr is working on powering ads within WarnerMedia's upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service.

Ad-tech firm TripleLift is trying to mimic so-called native formats for streaming services that are on the drawing board for next year.

Read more: Ad-tech firm TripleLift has hired a top Fox sales exec to shake up the $70 billion TV advertising industry as media giants prepare new streaming services

Evan Hanlon, chief strategy officer of GroupM US, said new ad formats interest marketers, but don't necessarily resonate with consumers.

"I do worry sometimes that we focus on innovation for innovation's sake," he said. "A big missing piece of this conversation pretty much every time is what the creative experience is. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of that in the long run."

Horizon Media's Campanelli said some new ad formats don't solve core issues like TV ad clutter that turns off viewers.

"In some respects, we're correcting mistakes that we made in the past that we probably shouldn't have made in the first place," he said.