Connected TV devices and set-top box VOD now account for 57% of all premium video views in the U.S. according to FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report (VMR) released today. It is the first time CTV and STB VOD have driven more than half of premium video views, and is up from 49% in Q2 ’17.
However, the big reason for the jump is due to CTV, which jumped from 29% of all premium video views in Q2 ’17 to 41% in Q2 ’18. STB VOD actually declined over the same period from 20% to 16%. I’ve believed for a long time that CTV viewing of SVOD and other ad-supported on-demand OTT programming would eventually chip away at traditional STB-delivered VOD. The Q2 results appear to show this now occurring.
Video ad tech provider SpotX has announced that it has achieved 100% compliance with the IAB’s ads.txt specification version 1.0.1. ads.txt, which was announced by IAB in May, 2017, is a way of preventing the sale of fraudulent or counterfeit ad inventory. Fraudulent ad inventory have been a constant source of consternation in the video ad business because it undermines the marketplace’s integrity, especially for programmatic, and causes spending waste.
I’m pleased to present the 434th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week, Amazon is said to be planning a free ad-supported video service, similar to Roku’s The Roku Channel. The new service, dubbed Free Dive, would be targeted to the nearly 50 million Fire TV users. Colin and I both like the move a lot, as we see multiple promotional and new revenue benefits, especially if Amazon can attract TV ad dollars. However, a key challenge is finding enough compelling content to make Free Dive interesting to audiences.
We then transition to talking about Hulu. Colin has developed a forecast for subscriber and revenue growth for Hulu through 2020 which he explains. He sees much of Hulu’s revenue growth coming from its Live skinny bundle service, although its profitability will remain challenged due to high programming costs.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 10 seconds)
Add Amazon to the growing list of companies that are gunning for their share of TV ad dollars. According to a report in The Information, Amazon is planning to launch a free, ad-supported video service for its Fire TV users that may be called Free Dive. As described, Free Dive looks to be very similar to Roku’s The Roku Channel, which is available to Roku users and as of a few weeks ago also on the web.
For Amazon, the move makes perfect sense in a number of different ways. First, it’s a great complement to the growing array of paid video options Amazon offers (TV programs/movies in Prime, SVOD services in Amazon Channels, transactional, etc.). Free, ad-supported video gives Amazon its own inventory to promote all of these paid services in various ways.
Video ad tech provider Telaria has integrated Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) with its video management platform (VMR). DAR gives online video inventory TV-like audience metrics including age, gender, unique audience, reach, frequency and gross rating points. This data allows buyers to more easily create holistic TV/video campaigns that achieve their objectives.
Extreme Reach has released its Q2 ’18 Video Advertising Benchmarks report, further supporting the rise of connected TV viewing. In the quarter, CTV accounted for 38% of ad impressions, more than double their share of 18% in Q2 ’17. Mobile followed with a 30% share, down slightly from a 33% share in Q2 ’17. Desktop and table both slumped further, with the former dropping from 35% to 23% and the latter dropping from 15% to 9%.
Topics: Extreme Reach
With last week’s Q2 earnings report, Facebook forecast that margins would slide for the next couple of years into the mid-30% range due to higher costs associated with beefed up security. Meanwhile, quarterly growth will decelerate from the high 40% range (or more) from recent quarters to around 30% for the rest of the year.
Other companies would envy these targets, but given Facebook’s outsized historical growth and profitability, the stock has gotten hammered and dragged the whole tech sector down with it. One key takeaway for me from Facebook’s results and forecasts is that video is more important to the company than ever. Despite its potential, Facebook still doesn’t seem to have a video/monetization strategy. Among the big tech companies, only Apple’s video strategy seems less well-developed than Facebook’s.
Video ad tech provider Cedato has introduced its Contextual Lookalike Targeting technology, which uses machine learning to analyze performance data from billions of videos ads in order to decide when and where to serve a new ad to suit an advertiser’s KPIs. The new technology leverages Cedato’s Predictive Knowledge Graph, which is based on data from 400 billion plus video ads.
More evidence of the boom in connected TV ads: AppNexus reported advertising spend in its connected TV marketplace grew by 748% in Q2 ’18 vs. Q2 ’17, with sequential growth of 69% in Q2 ’18 vs. Q1 ’18. AppNexus said it sees over 20 billion monthly CTV impressions on smart TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles, which underscores the rapid adoption of ad-supported video on CTV.
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.
At the recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, I did a really interesting fireside interview with Hayden Lynch, SVP of Ad Solutions and Innovation at Group Nine Media, which owns well-established passion brands like NowThis, Thrillist, The Dodo and Seeker. Collectively these brands drive over 6 billion video views per month, though just around 50 million are on owed and operated properties.
As Hayden explains, this creates huge challenges and opportunities for Group Nine, and he estimates approximately 10-20% of its current views are monetized. Hayden articulates why the distributed approach makes long-term business sense and what the company is doing to improve its monetization, especially with Facebook. He also describes the company’s strategy to move into linear, why it’s launching a half dozen shows on Snap, and the goals of its recent NewFront, among other topics.
Topics: Group Nine Media
At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, the “Video’s Programmatic Roadmap” session explored how programmatic is becoming more mainstream in premium video, why connected TV is a huge growth area, how brand safety and viewability are being ensured, the various ways data is being used by both advertisers and publishers, plus lots more.
Participating on the session were Melissa Bonnick (SVP, Programmatic Strategy, Affiperf/Havas), Eric Hoffert (SVP, Video Technology, AppNexus), Sean Holzman (Chief Digital Revenue Officer, Bonnier), Keren Katz (Head of Bidder and Buyer Development, Programmatic, Microsoft), with Brian Leder (Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, Promatica Consulting), moderating.
There’s a ton of innovation driving the video industry and video advertising forward. At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, our innovation session focused on areas like voice-activated video search and monetization, mobile/vertical video, optimizing the ad experience, how organizations can build innovative video cultures and much more.
Participating on the session were Corbin de Rubertis (VP of Innovation, Meredith Digital), Henry Embleton (Head of Ad Products and Revenue, Ellation), Kevin McGurn (Chief Sales Officer, Vevo) with Eric John (Deputy Director, Video, IAB) moderating.
Video ad tech provider Cedato has introduced a new video ad format called “IntentView.” The ad appears for 5-6 seconds as a picture-in-picture corner window with audio off as the video content runs. On the desktop if the viewer hovers their mouse over the window, it expands to the full player, initiates audio and pauses the content (on mobile the viewer has to click). In this way the format is entirely opt-in and 100% viewable.
We were fortunate to once again have 2 senior ad agency executives participate in a fireside chat at the recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit to discuss their thoughts on the NewFronts and Upfronts, and what’s ahead in 2018.
Maureen Bosetti (Chief Partnerships Officer, Initiative) and Mike Law (EVP, Managing Director of Media Investment, Dentsu Aegis Network U.S.) were interviewed by Matt Prohaska (CEO and Principal, Prohaska Consulting) on a variety of specific topics, including how their agencies are using data and leveraging technology, their advice for ad tech providers, how technology is impacting their staffing and organizational structures, the role of programmatic and how the next generation of buyers is being educated, plus much more.
As more TV viewing moves to streaming, connected TV is emerging as the most important new source of premium ad-supported inventory. At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug into this unfolding opportunity on a session Rich Calacci (Chief Revenue Officer, Pluto TV), Jim Keller (VP, Sales, Hulu), Frank Sinton (Founder, Beachfront Media), Seth Walters (VP, Demand Partnerships, Roku), with Colin Dixon (Principal Analyst, nScreenMedia), moderating.
The panel explored the key advantages of connected TV ads, including enhanced targetability (at the user level), measurability, in-flight optimization and real-time feedback loops. The panelists also noted that with more cord-cutting happening, CTV is a critical way to reach certain households and build cross-screen campaigns. Still, the panelists noted that it’s relatively early days for CTVs, as virtually all TV will be streamed within 5 years.
Advertising technology is a fast paced business driven by trends in innovation. In the last twelve months, the video industry has been dominated by headlines devoted to the rise of header bidding and brand safety. But what is next on the horizon? For advertisers and media owners, streamlining costs and efficiency in video advertising remains paramount, which is why the latest trend is the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). But what exactly is it and why is it such a hot topic right now?
Skinny bundles are a hot topic in the industry as a bona fide alternative to prospective cord-cutters. One of the big benefits of skinny bundles is that they rejuvenate linear TV viewing in the living room, which can be a potentially enormous new source of targetable TV ad inventory.
At our recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug into this unfolding opportunity on a session with Brendan Canning (SVP and Head of Distribution, Stadium), Samantha Casagrande (Associate Director, Media Investment, Wieden + Kennedy), Andy Hammond (VP, Sales, fuboTV), which I moderated.
A survey conducted by 4C and Advertiser Perceptions indicates that ad buyers are pursuing cross-channel campaigns but remain challenged by a lack of unified measurement. The survey, of 300 ad decision-makers in the U.S. and U.K., found that 75% are running integrated campaigns, with 22% saying they intend to do so within a year, and another 3% saying they have no plans to do so. Video is a key catalyst in driving cross-channel as viewers fragment among platforms.
A critical challenge facing video providers is how to balance distribution of their content on platforms vs. on their owned & operated properties. At the recent VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit, we dug deeply into this topic in a session featuring Trevor Fellows (EVP, Digital Sales and Partnerships, NBCUniversal), Paul Kontonis (Chief Marketing Officer, WHOSAY Viacom), Blake Sabatinelli (CEO, Newsy E.W. Scripps) with Lorne Brown (CEO, Operative) moderating.
Each of the panelists did an excellent job articulating the specific benefits they seek out in platform deals such as incremental reach, enhanced branding and stronger monetization. They talk about how platform distribution deals work and why advertising is central, the role of data and demographic fit, why producing compelling, premium content is paramount, how they choose to allocate finite resources among various platforms and why scale matters so much, among other topics.
For anyone considering how to monetize video everywhere, while maintaining a strong O&O presence, the session is really valuable.