Premium video consumption is splintering across platforms and services, creating huge challenges for content providers seeking to optimize ad revenues. To address this problem, video ad tech provider Operative has launched a new industry-wide initiative called “Premium at Scale” which aims to enable converged ad buying across linear and digital, based on business outcomes and audiences.
Operative’s CEO Lorne Brown told me in a briefing that Premium at Scale is an open, interoperable framework that will integrate media companies’ existing ad tech stacks as requested. Operative aims to play a central role in streamlining this process, helping transform TV from linear and digital silos to a platform model that will better compete with Google and Facebook.
FreeWheel, an existing Operative partner, is the first to participate in the Premium at Scale initiative. James Rooke, GM, FreeWheel Publishers, told me that the companies have a shared philosophy of enabling converged ad buying, a heavily overlapping customer base and complementary capabilities. FreeWheel’s sister company NBCUniversal is the first content provider signed up for the initiative and will also be part of a new User Council that Operative is organizing.
Both Lorne and James also noted that media companies are looking to reduce the number of video ad tech vendors they use, focusing on those that have a proven ability to scale, execute and integrate with others, with an emphasis on one vendor per function. Lorne and James said the goal is “one sales system, one ad decisioning system” while noting that their partnership isn’t exclusive. Other participants are expected soon.
The companies recognize that this is a multi-year process and a hard thing to solve for. Coming soon is a deeper integration between the two companies that will lead to Operative’s unified product catalog exposing inventory avails to FreeWheel for optimization. As James explained, this will help bridge FreeWheel further into linear TV, using its algorithms to better unify ads to audiences across screens, while respecting potential campaign constraints.
Premium at Scale is the latest initiative to help enable the TV industry help ad buyers plan, manage and optimize campaigns across screens more easily. These efforts are urgently needed as Google (through its YouTube TV skinny bundle) forges further into TV advertising. Facebook’s strategy is less well-developed even though it has clearly identified video as a priority.