What. A. Year.
When it comes to our industry - the business of buying and measuring TV and streaming - we experienced the upending of the programming calendar, the evaporation (and return) of live sports, sharp reductions in advertising demand, huge surges in viewership, the postponement and virtualization of the upfronts, the launch of services like Peacock, HBOMax, and Disney+, and a generational shift to online commerce. All of this takes place against the backdrop of a global health crisis, a reckoning with racial injustice, and a presidential election. 2020 might be over soon, but it’s probably too early for true 20/20 hindsight. The social and economic disruptions wrought by the pandemic are still with us, and they remain, at the time of this writing, largely unresolved. There’s still a lot to process and a lot from which to recover.
2020 may however very well mark a turning point for TV advertising. Many of the adaptations that COVID-19 forced upon the industry were actually (long) overdue. Brands need more flexibility in the way they buy media (agility, not upfront commitments), more accountable and disciplined ways to measure the true impact of TV (outcomes, not impressions), better transparency into inventory, and a fresh approach to making linear and streaming TV investments working together. Corona has brought about an imperative, and willingness, to do things differently. Different has been Tatari’s philosophy and approach from the start. But we couldn’t have done it alone.
Our DTC customers (or broadly speaking, new-to-TV advertisers) were bold enough to embrace the media market turmoil (as opposed to running for the hills). Tatari’s more established brands (e.g. in 2020, we had over ten public companies join us, and we picked up product lines across Unilever, Clorox and Procter & Gamble) demonstrated an appetite to experiment with Tatari’s approach of buying and measuring TV. And when the pandemic struck clients the hardest, TV networks and publishers took the concept of true partnership to a new and unprecedented level. They adjusted inventory pricing fast, allowed clients to flexibly rejig campaigns, and provided credit when needed. We partnered with creative production companies, integrated with other measurement companies, made industry alliances, collaborated with leading research firms, and could count on our clients & consultants to sing Tatari’s praises when we needed it the most. Navigating 2020 was a true team effort - thank you to all our partners.
The Tatari team itself rose to the challenge, too. We worked long, often weird, hours in the most uncomfortable situations or locations with unremitting distractions from all sides.
Meanwhile, Tatari also grew from 65 or so in 2019 to a whopping 130 employees today. Without much opportunity to meet in-person, the team delivered stellar work. We launched view-through and incremental TV measurement, data products, Return on Ad Spend metrics, agile TV buying tools, deep partner integrations and so much more. The Tatari client services team rewrote the playbook on brand advertising (by injecting a dose of data science) whilst our media buyers published their own manual on handling COVID-19. And I am particularly proud and thankful that in addition to the long, and hard hours, the Tatari team never forgot to give back. We were nominated as a Best Workplace in 2020 by both AdAge and Inc., and (indulge my bragging), well-deservedly so.
The path toward (world) recovery has been laid down, and with vaccines on the horizon, I am cautiously optimistic. Above all, I am excited about the future. The 2021 plan is mostly written at Tatari (not only do we deliver, but we also like to plan, as early as October!) and it promises to be an exciting New Year. We are ready to forget 2020, but will never forget how fortunate we are to work with you as clients, partners, colleagues, and fellow humans. Thank you!