TV Will Fuel Ad Tech Deals In 2022; Publishers Cash In On The NFT Craze

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Criss-Cross Media Measurement

CTV ad dollars are expected to double by 2026, according to GroupM’s most recent industry forecast – which means ad tech firms with advanced measurement capabilities could be looking to make acquisitions this year, Business Insider reports.

Measurement companies have their eye on toppling a particular titan (you know who), and growing inorganically could be one way to do it.

Nielsen just announced the alpha product launch of its cross-platform metric, Nielsen ONE. But Nielsen remains on the defensive after losing its MRC accreditation and some broadcast measurement accounts. In November, it sued two TV panel companies for alleged patent infringement. 

But the show must go on. Data and analytics providers are racing to meet the industry’s need for a cross-platform measurement standard – and simply quantifying viewers isn’t enough for advertisers anymore.

Some investors and analysts are betting on startups that know what viewers actually do when they see an ad. For example, the measurement startup EDO links ad exposure to online search activity by following user journeys through to conversions.

All in all, 2022 is shaping up to be a successful year for TV analytics firms with holistic, multifaceted and nimble measurement products.

The Fun In Non-Fungible

NFTs were the hotness last year, and publishers eagerly hopped on the bandwagon.

2021 saw 14.5 million NFTs sold for a total of $13.8 billion, and the number of wallets used to purchase NFTs grew from 87,000 to 1.4 million, Digiday reports.

Despite doubts as to the real and ongoing value of NFTs, they do offer publishers a trendy option for remonetizing old intellectual property and rewarding audience engagement.

Time, for instance, forayed into NFTs with four digital tokens based on famous magazine covers. These four NFTs sold for between $55,000 and $138,000 apiece. An NFT of Time’s 1928 Charles Lindbergh “Man of the Year” cover sold for $463,000.

Decrypt created a set of reward tokens that readers earn by using its app. These tokens could be used to purchase merchandise or access premium content and events. Decrypt also recently launched a content studio for branded NFTs.

The potential for gamification is also attracting publishers to NFTs. Yahoo’s collaboration with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff launched digital outfits that avatars can wear in metaverse platforms. Meanwhile, Blocklete Games, a video game from Turner Sports, creates NFT characters that can be leveled up and resold to other players.

VR You Ready?! (Or Not.)

Facebook bet big on virtual reality in 2014 when it acquired Oculus for $2 billion. And now Facebook is Meta.

But do VR sales justify the metaverse rebrand? 

Oculus was the most downloaded iOS app on Christmas Day, and the company sold between 5.3 million and 6.8 million units last year, The Wall Street Journal reports. That’s up from 3.5 million in 2020 but is well below what VR tech needs to reach escape velocity and go from niche gamer curiosity to mainstream use. 

Amazon faces similar questions as to whether Alexa-based Echo speakers are “worth it,” so to speak.

Amazon Echo devices are perennial top sellers, and 10,000 employees work on the Alexa product, which Amazon spent $4.2 billion on in 2021. 

But retention is difficult, and Alexa devices are still primarily used as kitchen timers or to turn lights or music on and off.

Still, Amazon and Facebook will see returns if they can cement Alexa and Oculus, respectively, as defaults in the voice AI and VR categories. The tech may take another five or 10 years to “marinate,” but the value is there, Greg Gottesman, managing director of Pioneer Square Labs, told Bloomberg.

But Wait, There’s More!

Brandon Silverman sold CrowdTangle to Facebook. Now he helps craft laws regulating social platforms. [NYT]

2022 predictions for mobile marketing from the mind of Eric Seufert. [Mobile Dev Memo]

Programmatic players lunge toward CTV in 2022. [Adweek]

You’re Hired!

Former Walmart Connect VP Stephen Howard-Sarin joins Instacart as VP and GM of retail media. [LinkedIn]

LiveRamp vet Gina Cavallo joins Audigent as CRO. [release]

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