Samsung Ads Opens Up Its CTV Video Supply To Programmatic Demand

Samsung Ads is making its CTV video inventory available programmatically for the first time to buyers, via the supply-side platform SpotX. Previously, the only way buyers could access Samsung Ads-represented inventory was through an IO.

Tests started last year and continued though Q1 with a major buyer. Although Samsung Ads hadn’t intended to add programmatic in the midst of a pandemic, the current market conditions caused by COVID-19 are favorable to introducing programmatic.

“The fewer budgets that are locked in ahead of time, the more budgets that are in play on a quarter to quarter basis,” said Joe Melaragno, head of platform sales and agency development for Samsung Ads. “It certainly gives us an opportunity to prove our value.”

Supply is increasing as people stay home and as streaming proliferates over linear TV. Samsung Ads observed a 70% increase in viewing time and 132% in weekly hours after the pandemic hit, compared to the beginning of this year. And buyers are seeking more short-term flexibility and value during uncertain economic times.

Samsung Ads also noticed more buyers purchasing OTT inventory exclusively through programmatic.

“The goal is to provide flexibility to buyers in a way that works best for them,” Melaragno said. “Over the last few years, more and more buyers were moving to the camp of wanting to do their CTV in a programmatic fashion.”

Samsung Ads offers buyers two main types of CTV video inventory. The first comes from Samsung TV Plus, a free service in all Samsung smart TVs that now runs 120 free, ad-supported channels (up from 10 channels at launch), with content from CBS News, Vevo and “This Old House” among others.

The Samsung content network comprises the second type of video inventory. In some native apps in Samsung’s smart TV ecosystem, Samsung Ads holds the rights to sell a portion of inventory.

Samsung Ads chose SpotX as its initial programmatic partner because the SSP offered connections to every DSP it wanted to work with and its video ad platform had reliable tech, Melaragno said.

The integration took just a few weeks, said Mike Laband, SVP of platform at SpotX. Samsung Ads will offer up inventory in both open and private marketplace.

Programmatic direct and IO deals will take priority over open demand, in a waterfall-type setup.

While Samsung Ads plans to continue to privilege buyers that make direct commitments by giving them a first crack at inventory, it eventually wants to offer programmatic connections for all its inventory, Melaragno said.

“Our long-term goal is to make everything available however the buyers want to transact.”

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