Broadcasters and networks have one big advantage over pure-play tech providers, according to Levy: the ability to produce long-form, episodic content.
As consumers demand better ad experiences (and in some instances, block ads altogether), Levy claims video providers devoted to short-form video clips and user-generated content will have a harder time convincing a consumer to switch off an ad blocker or to engage with an ad in exchange for commercial-free content.
“In the TV world, the real competitiveness is between television and long-form content versus the massive, low-cost content providers like YouTube and Facebook,” he said. “We want to improve the experience so that watching on ABC and Fox is preferred to viewing our content on another platform. Also, a better monetization stack so you’re earning more revenue for each viewer you get.”
Partnerships with FreeWheel and Hulu have helped True[X] scale reach for its formats, but Fox’s investment has also ramped up resources internally at True[X] in terms of engineering and headcount, Levy said.
On the horizon are more interactive ad formats for connected TV and video on demand, which Levy called a wide-open opportunity. While CTV and VOD have (growing) addressable audiences, formats and targeting haven’t kept up.
Thus, True[X] has new products in the pipeline to fit full-screen, nonskippable ad environments like VOD, “which are arguably annoying to consumers,” Levy said, “but one of the best options for advertisers.”