Connected TV Players Turn On The Programmatic Pipes

ConnectedLinear TV may not exactly “lean in” to programmatic (yet), but the connected device constituency is proving programmatic TV is more than just futurespeak.

In a series of buy and sell-side discussions at LiveRail’s Video Publisher Forum Tuesday in New York, a number of industry execs agreed connected TV apps, publishers, ad servers and measurement have to come together to further the cause.

“The order goes: connected TV, addressable, then linear,” said Christina Beaumier, VP of product development for Xaxis of the succession of programmatic TV adoption. “We’re actively building a connected TV marketplace that’s not just limited to smart TV, but also includes Roku, Xbox and other over the top devices.”

On the programmer side, A&E Networks 18 months ago approached programmatic “with a great deal of uncertainty,” according to Jason DeMarco, director of yield optimization for A&E. But following a series of early tests to remove sales channel conflict and ensure large-ticket buys still passed through its direct business, A&E is now live with a programmatic private marketplace across desktop, mobile and connected TV apps including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV and Xbox.

“If we look back to the lessons learned from display, I think we can solve the problem [of] overexposure [as] premium publishers by using first party data to find real value,” he said.

Identifying a common user cross-platform is a key initiative as more marketer dollars move to mobile video and connected TV apps, DeMarco said. “CTV is more like digital measurement, but looks like TV,” he said. “You get the benefit of both worlds, but some confusion around who’s responsible for it.”

Connected TV will naturally mimic the audience measurement and cross-device tracking methods of mobile. As dollars continue to shift, change is afoot on the agency side, as well.

“As recently as in the middle of last year, there were a lot of digital budgets that were split to a mobile agency vs. a separate online agency that didn’t have authority to buy mobile, so we’ve had to push things out there a little bit,” said Jonathan Carson, chief revenue officer for VEVO, in a separate interview with AdExchanger. He cited connected TV as commanding 7% of VEVO’s 7 billion active views per month now, a percentage that’s rapidly exploding. “By mid-2014, it’s hard to think of an advertiser that’s not thinking cross-screen and cross-device.”

Carson, formerly head of Nielsen’s digital practice, said the power of the online GRP is that it enables the collapse of the television and digital video marketplace by allowing additional video to conform to television systems and buying standards.

In addition to setting a baseline GRP, there’s the opportunity for greater interactivity, customization, target ability and ultimate addressability, as well as deeper control over buys, frequency capping “and all of these inherent advantages that digital has over a broadcast approach,” he added. “[Digital] really starts to shine once the impression is sitting on the same playing field as broadcast.”

Xaxis’ Beaumier said advertisers demand viewable, measurable impressions and to track the impact of a connected TV app through to display, etc., requires a common currency. “We think of OCR (Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings) as the new CPA. Being able to measure OCR across all publishers is a must have.”


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