This month, I spoke at Parks Associates’ inaugural Future of Video Conference on the ‘Distribution Opportunities and Challenges for Content Producers’ panel.
We had a lively exchange of ideas centered around the complexities facing content producers, ways to balance established and new video distribution avenues, and strategies for companies to drive growth in the changing video landscape.
The skyrocketing growth of streaming audiences demands content producers embrace new formats and types of video. According to Nielsen’s latest OTT TV report, Americans collectively spend nearly 8 billion hours per month consuming content on connected TV devices.
With the advent of new distribution channels and direct-to-consumer options upturning established windowing strategies and partnerships, content producers must evolve and remove their legacy mindset to capitalize on the new opportunities for distributing and monetizing content.
Here are key takeaways from our panel:
Should programmers create niche versus general market content?
Our panelists agreed that OTT services need to fall into either niche or general market content categories. But without the deep-pocketed resources of the streaming giants (Amazon, Netflix and soon to launch Disney and AT&T’s WarnerMedia), content companies will have a difficult time competing in the general market space. Instead, there are tremendous growth opportunities for niche players in the booming ad-supported OTT market. Pure-play and niche OTT networks, such as MLB.TV, Newsy and Tubi TV, are gaining significant traction with attracting growing audiences. Cutting through the competition is one of the big challenges for niche OTT services, so picking the right genre, focusing on the right audiences and have a clear brand proposition will be the key to success.
Where do programmers invest their resources?
The fundamental question content producers should be asking is: In what screen and in what transmission do we invest in? The easy answer is all screens, all the time, but that is an expensive gamble. With the increasing fragmentation of the OTT landscape, content owners are spending exorbitant amounts on app development. Only certain platforms have been able to recuperate that investment. Furthermore, ATSC 3.0 and 5G threaten today’s dominance of traditional cable, satellite, and internet delivery of high-quality video. The winner will likely be determined by proximity to the user (i.e. the device manufacturer like Apple) or the success of bundled services (e.g. AT&T pairing content with a 5G plan).
Consolidation: Do you join forces and with whom?
The rise of mega-mergers is driving more competition with OTT streamers. According to Ampere Analysis, four of every $10 in the United States will be accounted for by Comcast/Sky and Disney/Fox. The growing consolidation will mean less competition for rights for small players and this inevitably impacts their ability to negotiate favorable deals. The cost of marketing services will continue to frustrate small to medium upstarts. As such, aggregators will serve an essential place in OTT’s future for both SVODs and AVODs.
In the end, personalization of both content and experience will be tantamount to success on all platforms. Consumers are the ultimate winners as competitive pressures will drive media companies to forego near-term profits to please users with fresh content on all screens at affordable costs. Someday in the future, consumers will need to shoulder the cost of their increased demands—limited to no-commercials and content delivery on every screen. But, let’s all enjoy the spoils of today’s content wars for now.
US connected TV users reached 182.6 million in 2018, comprising 55% of the US population*. This area will continue to grow as we work to create an urgency about how to follow consumers from traditional TV to OTT.
*Source eMarketer/IAB Video Landscape Report
We’re thrilled to share that Premion received two ABBI (Audience Based Buying Innovation) Awards at Gabbcon’s annual TV and Innovation Week event.
Recognized for our platform innovation, we were awarded wins in two categories: OTT Platform of the Year and Best Audience Based Buying Platform of the Year.
These accolades from Gabbcon speak to the impact that Premion is making on the industry through our differentiated strategy focused on premium branded CTV/ OTT content, highest inventory quality and data innovation. We were honored to be a finalist and a winner amongst a large and impressive group of nominees in each category.
The ABBIs celebrate the very best in audience based buying and were voted on by senior agency executives from Omnicom, RPA and Mindshare and top marketers from Walmart, Hershey and Sony. From the most innovative ad-tech companies, platforms and advertising campaigns to the media leaders who ideate them, the 2018 ABBI Awards celebrates the best of the best.
As the pioneer in streaming advertising, Premion is generating tremendous growth momentum and we’ve reliably delivered billions of impressions, tens of thousands of campaigns, for thousands of clients in more than 200 DMAs.
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Last month, I spoke at NAB’s Small Market Television Exchange (SMTE) Conference on the Demystifying OTT panel to share insights on the challenges and growth opportunities for local broadcasters as viewers shift into the OTT space.
Consumers are embracing OTT viewing options, and the accelerating adoption is projected to put the premium OTT market in the US at $21 billion by 2020, according to a new MTM report. As such, content owners should move quickly to not only follow but also attract viewers.
To succeed today, TV and content providers need to woo audiences with enticing content, enhance the user experience with greater personalization, and be everywhere their viewers are.
Here are key takeaways from the session:
Partnerships are key for broadcasters to speed roll-out of OTT offerings – In many instances, local broadcasters are still playing catch up to their audience, which have shifted, at least a portion of their viewing, to streaming platforms. To overcome distribution challenges, broadcasters should leverage the right partners to get to market faster with new OTT offerings. These may include vMVPDs such as Sling and aggregators like Pluto and Xumo. While owned & operated (O&O) digital properties are crucial for your most loyal viewers, they may garner limited viewership due to difficult discoverability.
Broadcasters need to expand beyond limited shelf-life programming – Many local broadcasters produce content with a brief shelf-life. Any app or service with good content longevity provides time-shifting viewers something to consume at all hours of the day. Building a successful OTT programming strategy requires broadcasters to re-evaluate their programming strategy.
Address scale challenges with product extensions – Achieving scale in premium digital video in local markets remains a challenge. Nimble broadcasters should focus on building out audience extension offerings, which will enable them to sell more inventory and generate more ad dollars. There are premium offerings, like PREMION, which ensure that ads are running in a brand safe and fraud free environment, unlike open exchange products.
Keep pace with the speed of change – Our industry is filled with digital acronyms (SSP, DSP, CPM, eCPM, OTT to name a few) and it’s changing quickly. Beyond speaking the language, it’s important to stay abreast on new capabilities in targeting and measurement to win over advertisers by simply educating them. It’s a great time to be an advertiser as more TV advertising can be measured than ever before.
If you’re not capturing the vast (and growing) streaming audience, then you’re losing them to your competition. How effective is your OTT content and advertising strategy? Let’s have a conversation.
Best practices for OTT success
By every measure, OTT (aka Connected TV or CTV) viewing is the new normal. With three in four U.S. households now consuming content on streaming services, advertisers and brand marketers are shifting bigger budgets into this rapidly growing channel. In fact, 78 percent of marketers plan to buy ad inventory on streaming TV within the next 12 months, according to a SteelHouse survey.
But for some marketers, the complexity and fragmentation of the OTT ecosystem remain hurdles to widespread adoption. To reap the benefits of OTT, you’ll need a deeper understanding of the solutions available.
What are the key considerations for developing an effective OTT buying strategy? Here’s our playbook to simplify the media-buying process to reach the vast and highly engaged streaming audience.
Data is king for OTT targeting
Data is fueling the OTT landscape but targeting and execution capabilities vary significantly among OTT providers. When planning their media buy, marketers need to consider whether they’re buying audience or content. Or maybe both. And when you’re doing data-driven targeting, where is the data coming from and how accurate is the viewer profile?
The latest OTT advancements allow marketers to use audiences instead of content to plan their campaigns. Audience segmentation can be truly deterministic and addressable down to an individual level. Data can be collected based on viewership and matched back to the individual within a household. Using non-personally identifiable viewer data, marketers can analyze content and match it to channel, program and ad placement data to better understand what types of viewers are watching each type of programming and what is triggering their purchase decisions.
In addition, first-party data collection on some OTT platforms offers the capability for online and offline attribution. This can give marketers richer insights on desired actions taken by a viewer that has been served an ad.
Inventory quality matters
Brand safety remains a paramount concern and advertisers need to understand what they’re buying. Since not all OTT quality is the same, determining inventory quality is imperative for marketers. Many providers claim they have directly sourced inventory, but it is important for marketers to know exactly where the inventory is coming from to ensure that their ads are running in a brand-safe and fraud-free environment.
What questions should you ask? Is it a direct buy with a network or ad solution platform, or through programmatic channels that source inventory from open exchanges and non-guaranteed PMP deals? Which is the right combination to give marketers what they need to ensure brand safety and provide the greatest reach?
The midterm elections are heating up. With the 2018 congressional elections generating more attention than past midterms, the stakes are high for advertisers. 2018 is set to be a record year for political ad spending that’s forecasted to reach $8.8 billion, according to Borrell Associates.
The revelations of Russian meddling and fake ads on Facebook has brought a heightened focus on transparency in political advertising. And while both Facebook and Twitter have announced stricter guidelines to curb manipulation, these changes only address part of the issue. Social media platforms are still rampant with bots.
In an unpredictable and hyper-competitive political climate – with hundreds of congressional and gubernatorial races taking place – political advertisers must rethink their midterm media buying strategy to ensure that they are running brand-safe and effective campaigns to reach the right voters.
The rise of connected TV or OTT advertising is a new phenomenon for political advertising, as this was nascent during the 2016 elections. With nearly 200M OTT viewers in 2018, per eMarketer, connected TV is TV.
The exponential growth in streaming audiences bring an entire new medium of opportunities for political advertisers as 78% of U.S. consumers subscribe to at least one OTT service, per PwC. In fact, of OTT U.S. viewers registered to vote, 96% indicated they vote in presidential elections, 86% in stateside elections and 82% in local elections, according to Nielsen Scarborough data.
So how does the connected TV environment address political advertisers’ top concerns and help them to reach the voters that matter?
With constrained budgets, candidates need to be resourceful in their media spend to achieve specific campaign goals — to sway undecided voters and attract financial supporters.
While digital media offers granular targeting capabilities, there is significant brand safety risks. Inventory sourced through a programmatic exchange is often times remnant and advertisers may not even know the placement until after the campaign delivers.
Fraud, in the form of bot traffic and phony web sites, was rampant in the 2016 elections. Viewability is another major issue: a campaign ad that appears at the bottom of a web page may never get viewed if the user never scrolls down. In a digital environment of low transparency and limited safeguards, campaign dollars can easily go to waste.
Unlike digital, in a walled-garden connected TV or OTT platform, advertising runs on trusted networks with authenticated viewers. Content on connected TV devices take up the full screen, making it unlikely an ad is not be fully viewable.
Since OTT viewers are not channel-surfers, as they’ve self-selected the programming, they represent a highly engaged audience.
Avoid getting preempted in a high stakes race
Preempted spots are TV ad spots, both broadcast and cable, that get bumped from the schedule when another advertiser pays more money for a specific time slot. In a high stakes political race, the chances are high for a campaign to be preempted as spending spikes.
When an advertiser gets preempted, they have to pony up more money or scramble to find other ways to advertise or risk derailing their campaign. And since, there’s only a short window to get a campaign message out, a ‘makegood’ (where a missed spot runs at a later date) could end up being a wasted spend.
In this instance, it’s imperative for political advertisers to have guaranteed impressions to be effective. Getting in front of voters and constituents that matter most to a campaign requires more precision in targeting.
OTT is addressable; it has the ability to serve different ads to different audience segments watching the same programming. Political advertisers can leverage richer datasets to target voters by political affiliation, congressional district, income, education level and other interests.
We make OTT Advertising Simple.
Kate Morley (NY) 703-873-6345
Premion simplifies the OTT advertising buying process by eliminating the hassle of working with multiple providers. Through our direct relationships with leading TV networks and media brands, Premion places your ads alongside premium, brand-safe, long-form on-demand and live streaming content – in just one easy transaction.