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Industry Contributor 24 Feb 2020 - 3 min read

Are Australian agencies, marketers really ready for a converged TV world?

By Liam Walsh, SVP ANZ - Amobee

Australia’s top broadcasters have revealed plans for a joint demand-side buying platform. At the same time, the launch of the new national ‘Total TV’ reporting standard known as Virtual Australia (VOZ) is imminent.


Key points

  • These two milestones could be the beginning of a successful, innovative and lucrative next chapter in the free-to-air TV space. The Australian broadcasters are certainly taking a more active stance on the future of the TV industry than most of their global counterparts, coming together to tackle the fragmentation of audiences. This in itself is a significant step in the world of TV.
  • A concept like OzTAM, Regional TAM and Nielsen’s VOZ, which is set to bring together broadcast viewing on linear TV sets and connected devices to provide all-screen, cross-platform planning and reporting for Australia’s television industry, has been spoken about for years.
  • At the same time, advertisers and agencies are demanding ways to improve how to plan, buy and measure across video and television. In response, broadcasters have announced their intent to build a unified buying interface for media agencies to access their inventory across networks. 
  • Even though it will take some time to get these fundamental plumbing elements right, with the ‘DSP’ moves still not expected to come to fruition until at least 2021, the wheels are in motion.  
  • While all this is going on, ad tech vendors are building automated and data-led tools and marketers are subscribing to their own tech licenses and activating their own data faster than ever. 

Media agencies face some nail-biting choices on how to put the ingredients together to create their own buy-side future. One thing is certain – changing nothing is not an option.

It’s not about taking sides

These new innovations are a huge statement of intent from the Australian broadcasters - they’re looking to control their own future rather than have it dictated to them. 

Right now, there is a mix of excitement and curiosity amongst agencies about what VOZ and other developments might bring. This isn’t enough; we absolutely must create the future of media planning and buying now so that the next generation of TV buying can build on the work done in programmatic in the last 15 years. This includes the application of client data in real time to value an ad impression and inform planning and buying decisions.

With that in mind, VOZ represents a crossroads for our industry. It is what Australian TV buyers have been waiting for. It also means agencies need to take a close look at how they structure teams and execute activity, especially on the buy side.

It’s complicated

For now, agencies have the dream of a simple and easy one stop shop for all broadcast video on demand inventory and measurement, but the situation is much more complex. Agencies have already spent lots of time building out their programmatic businesses and investing in their platform skills. Marrying this control of live data and platforms with VOZ is inevitable. It’s already being discussed but action needs to pick up pace soon.

The alternative scenario - keeping VOZ and buy side tech apart - deprives our industry of combining the best of TV and programmatic. It would be a cruel twist of fate to see agencies lose technology skillsets as broadcast and digital video buys likely move back to TV teams amidst all of the VOZ excitement.

Put bluntly, convergence of teams must happen. It doesn’t have to be a uniform approach. For example, converged planning but diversified execution is one option, while converged planning working with multiformat execution experts is another. There are different ways to cut the cloth.

Agencies will need to make the right moves in order to make the best use of the data and technology available to them so they can lead the future of TV buying.

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Liam Walsh, SVP ANZ


With a career spanning over two decades in the media and advertising landscape, Liam has an absolute passion for digital media.

This passion and expertise has been built up through appointments including leading Fairfax Digital’s sales and commercial arm where he launched several online classifieds and news assets at a time when the digital piece of the publishing pie was skyrocketing. This was followed by launching and growing Microsoft’s advertising arm in Australia to address the structural and inventory changes in digital media.

Liam has also steered Facebook as ANZ Managing Director, in addition to holding various senior adtech and agency appointments. This has given him a broad-spanning view of the issues and opportunities facing technology providers, media platforms, agencies and clients as the industry heads down the path to convergence.

Liam currently drives the ANZ business for Amobee, the world’s leading independent advertising platform.  Liam and his team at Amobee help agencies and clients stay ahead of the fast-changing media landscape and plan for more effective planning, campaign implementation and evaluation.

Based in Amobee’s Sydney office, Liam fancies himself as a pretty handy tennis player and is self-admittedly in denial about his age.

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