I’m pleased to present the 444th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In Q3 ’18, Roku continued its pivot to an advertising and licensing based business model, with “Platform” revenues accounting for 58% of total revenues, up from 46% in Q3 ’17.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I discuss this shift and Roku’s other key metrics, which were all very strong, once again. Roku occupies a unique place in the video ecosystem - at once a device powerhouse with 24 million monthly users, a content provider through its fast-growing The Roku Channel, a connected TV advertising innovator and something akin to a next-gen pay-TV provider offering a la carte access to thousands of content choices.
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Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 31 seconds)
Cadent has unveiled its Cadent Advanced TV Platform, enabling national ad buyers and TV networks to achieve a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness in addressable TV advertising. In a briefing, Cadent’s Chief Product Officer Eoin Townsend and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Alfieri emphasized that today’s national TV ad buyers are looking to shift to data-centric approaches that enable customized, targeted audience segments at scale. This is what Cadent Advanced TV Platform is built to deliver.
Cadent Advanced TV Platform can access 70 million addressable homes (i.e. those with set-top boxes that are individually identifiable and enabled) with ads across cable, broadcast and OTT content. The new platform has integrated all the elements required to make a scaled, targeted buy - choosing specific pay-TV/OTT providers, number of homes, relevant data sources, KPIs, budgets and more and melded them into a cohesive workflow that will feel familiar to most people who have bought digital advertising. Once the parameters are set the platform presents different campaign options to the buyer.
Ranker, a publisher that creates data-driven, list-based content attracting 55 million unique visitors per month, has seen a 70% increase in video ad revenues over the past year, following its implementation of AppNexus’s Prebid Video header bidder solution and the AppNexus Marketplace. The companies have published a short case study on Ranker’s success.
I spoke to Prem Purayil, CTO of Ranker, who explained that the company had been using a traditional tag-based waterfall model. But this approach had led to having 50 demand partners and growing complexity. Ranker had previously and successfully implemented AppNexus’s header bidding solution for display, so it was already familiar. Prem said Ranker activated video header bidding in just a couple of days and needed minimal assistance. Importantly, Prem said moving to header bidding had no adverse impact on user experience.
Beachfront, a leading supply-side platform for video ads, has partnered with MadHive, a data management platform, to enrich and verify audiences on connected devices. Frank Sinton, President and Founder of Beachfront told me in a briefing that the company is focused on validation of inventory quality and audiences, issues that are top of mind for its publisher customers.
Ad tech provider MediaMath is forging strongly into programmatic video and connected TV, by among other things joining the board of the IAB Digital Video Center of Excellence, and seeking to help drive transparency and industry standards.
Mike Fisher, MediaMath’s Head of Video and Advanced TV said, “We couldn’t be more delighted to have a voice in the important conversation around the challenges that come with automated TV inventory, and the opportunity to shape best practices for transacting in the programmatic TV space.”
I’m pleased to present the 439th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
In today’s podcast, Colin and I explore the rise of free, ad-supported online video. While SVOD services like Netflix and Amazon have gained tons of attention, there is a ton of activity in ad-supported as well. Colin highlights The Roku Channel, Pluto TV and others. Amazon is rumored to be launching its own ad-supported service soon as well.
We’re both bullish on the role of ad-supported video for a variety of reasons we discuss, including the growing footprint of connected TVs, the upper limit on how many paid services most consumers will adopt, the explosion of content and the maturing of video advertising in general. We dig into all of this and more.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 57 seconds)
While the “Mad Men” era of TV advertising was characterized by three-martini lunches, the current era is characterized by the push toward efficiency, most notably programmatic transactions that are data-enabled with increased automation. For many, these trends raise the prospect of a future of machine-to-machine only interactions, with minimal human involvement.
But, attending the SpotX Connect half-day breakfast event in NYC yesterday, I heard a very different message from participants on one session after another: contrary to the “automation-is-king” mythology, human relationships and engagement are actually still very much at the core of how things work in today’s video ad business.
SpotX and Tru Optik have announced a partnership that enables video content providers to pre-segment and validate their ad inventory, so that buyers are able to create targeted, audience-based connected TV and OTT ad campaigns. Under the partnership, SpotX’s Audience Management Engine has been integrated with Tru Optik’s OTT Data Marketplace.
In addition, advertisers and content providers will gain access to Tru Optik’s Cross Screen Audience Validation (CAV), which provides deduped household reach, frequency, in-target percentage rates, device delivery confirmation and reporting.
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.