How Converged Inventory Analysis Bridges OTT And Linear Viewing

By Aaron Martin, Director, Product Management, Forecasting and Inventory Management, Xandr

This article is sponsored by Xandr.

It’s a transformational time for television consumption. The entire industry is focused on finding the best ways to reach audiences across the different delivery platforms used by consumers. Success will require a technological bridge between digital and linear TV – one that’s designed to deliver the benefits of both worlds to not only those who buy and sell advertising, but also those who consume it.

How to get the most out of this merger of viewing modes? Before answering that question, it’s important to define “convergence.” In brief, convergence is bringing together different inventory types for unified buying and selling of ads. As audiences tune in across screens in different ways, it’s getting harder to reach them with a consistent message. Convergence seeks to present that message across all technologies and platforms.

Pulling this off is time-intensive and requires a gradual approach as well as deep industry expertise on both the buy and sell sides of the marketplace. Just as a bridge requires piers to support it across a body of water, bridging digital and linear requires a multistep process – and the first step is converged inventory analysis.

How converged inventory analysis simplifies audience reach for buyers and sellers

At the most basic level, an advertiser’s goal is to find a way to get their message in front of audiences however they’re consuming content, whether through classic linear or streaming TV. It’s never been easy, but in today’s fragmented TV ecosystem, it’s particularly challenging. According to eMarketer’s US Addressable Households & Ad Spend 2020, it’s currently only possible to reach about half of total households through the addressable TV market. That’s why video convergence is so important and why, according to the IAB, 81% of inventory buyers agree that convergence would be a good thing for the industry.

Meanwhile multichannel video programming distributors, who – you guessed it – distribute multiple television channels, need help identifying a single audience across channels to maximize the scale of premium addressable buys. They need a solution that unifies their disparate systems across linear addressable and OTT delivery platforms so they can better manage and sell ad inventory in a holistic way.

Converged inventory analysis offers a way for distributors to identify unique audiences across linear addressable and nonlinear platforms so they can deduplicate those who show up in both worlds. Doing this extends valuable audiences across linear addressable and OTT platforms, thus providing incremental reach and frequency to addressable buys. It also allows distributors to holistically manage inventory across linear addressable and OTT, helping them better forecast, plan and optimize the sale of converged addressable inventory.

Converged inventory analysis understands inventory inflection points, allowing distributors to set holistic pricing across inventory based on a consistent audience. It also provides transparency to see how different options deliver value while creating an even playing field for inventory.

The power of a data-agnostic approach

In today’s crowded landscape, distributors need to understand all potential use cases without putting other deals they have in place (or in the pipeline) at risk. That’s why the ability to be data-agnostic is one of the strongest advantages of converged inventory analysis: By defining the overlap of audiences against viewership, they will see a higher return on investment and can identify the best inventory to meet their needs, regardless of platform or data partner. This allows the right inventory to surface at the right time at the right price point – no matter where audiences are watching.

While it’s a sell-side solution, converged inventory analysis opens up a number of benefits for buyers, too, starting with the ability to reach audiences at scale across delivery platforms. Also, having a unified definition for addressable audiences – including deduplication – translates to a more accurate measure of reach and frequency for buyers. Finally, the industry-leading forecasting, pacing and optimization tools we provide for sellers also help buyers meet their key performance indicators and deliver campaigns in full. The best part: More viewers are seeing ad content that’s more relevant to them.

Both the buy and sell sides of advertising need premium insights to solve the convergence problem fairly and transparently. By offering a unique toolset for analyzing and managing converged inventory, the entire industry takes one step closer to true converged advertising.

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