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The 23 people shaping the TV advertising industry in 2020


  • The TV industry is undergoing massive changes as people flee from traditional TV to streaming platforms and advertisers shift big money from TV to over-the-top services.
  • And now, the coronavirus crisis is expected to accelerate viewers’ shift away from traditional TV.
  • Even as viewers flock to streaming services, reaching TV-sized audiences on those platforms is a challenge for marketers.
  • Business Insider identified 23 people from agencies, networks, consortiums, and adtech firms who are at the forefront of helping them navigate these changes.
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The $70 billion linear TV advertising business used to be considered indestructible, but it’s starting to crack.

People are cutting the cord more than ever and moving to streaming platforms like Netflix. Streaming companies are gunning for linear TV ad dollars with new ad formats and measurement.

And now, the coronavirus’ effects have rippled through the TV industry.

The cancellation of big, live sports events — the rare bright spot of linear TV — and a postponed Tokyo summer Olympics have left networks including ESPN, TNT, and NBCUniversal scrambling and billions of ad spend up for grabs.

The major networks cancelled their in-person upfront presentations that are used to pitch advertisers on their programming, which Wall Street firm Cowen expects to cause TV ratings to drop and viewership to move to streaming services.

“While the upfront process that begins in May has been getting less important for several years, the pandemic could be a catalyst for major changes in the process,” John Blackledge, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen, wrote in a recent note. “The combination of deep uncertainty about the economy and the fact that production shutdowns mean there will be little to sell poses a particularly difficult challenge.”

Adtech companies are building tools for marketers to buy, sell, and track their ad spend on digital platforms. And agencies are finding new ways for brands to advertise with networks and publishers.

Still, reaching TV-sized audiences on streaming platforms is a challenge for marketers.

“It had never been too broken that it needed to be fixed, and now it is,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of Simulmedia, an adtech firm that helps advertisers buy and measure TV ads. “Everyone in the ecosystem recognizes it, but I think change is hard.”

Business Insider identified 23 experts from agencies, networks, streaming companies, consortiums, and adtech companies who are working to solve these issues for advertisers. 

This list is based on nominations and our own reporting. These execs are, variously, helping marketers understand the coronavirus’ impact on media consumption, change ad creative to feature appropriate messaging, and move ad spend from sports-heavy networks to other networks or platforms.

Here are the 23 TV insiders to know, listed alphabetically by last name.

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