Comcast’s acquisition Thursday of video ad serving platform FreeWheel generated numerous questions, the most common being: What does this mean for the future of Pay TV and digital video ecosystem?
Beyond anticipating the convergence of linear TV and digital video ad dollars, there’s still tremendous fragmentation between the worlds of the television operator and programmer, the video ad server and content management platform and the third-party video ad network or exchange.
Who Owns The Content?
Emerging digital video solutions promise to deliver audience-based targeting for advertisers. But for the most part, premium TV content is still owned and sold directly through the major broadcast companies – like CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX – using technologies like FreeWheel or Auditude/Adobe Primetime (which NBC Sports uses) to facilitate cross-platform video ad insertions.
“Broadcasters don’t use third-party ad networks or public exchanges to sell that premium content,” said Nick Troiano, president of BlackArrow, a company that helps operators and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House, monetize their content. “A lot of content for premium advertising online [runs through] Hulu or direct-to-consumer on a network site. All other video is broken out between YouTube, which takes about 75% of it and then everyone else.”