Last week’s Connected TV Ad Summit, with 46 speakers and 14 sessions, was chock full of insights from executives on the front line of connected TV advertising. Importantly, the speakers brought a diversity of perspectives; ad buyers from agencies, ad sellers from content providers, technology providers enabling CTV advertising and analysts studying and forecasting the industry.
As the conference host and curator of all the sessions and questions, it was a golden opportunity to fully immerse myself in understanding the critical industry issues. I’ll be publishing a debrief document with all of my key takeaways, but for today, I just want to share one overarching theme that crystallized: a connected TV advertising flywheel is here, and it's only going to accelerate.
The flywheel concept is well-known to all of us; the idea that when interrelated elements of a business or industry reinforce one another, the momentum of the overall whole is accelerated. For me, the best illustration of the flywheel remains Jeff Bezos’s description of the role video plays in Amazon Prime, in his interview at the Code Conference in 2016. Summing up video’s interrelationship with Prime and the resulting flywheel, Bezos said simply, “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”
Back to the CTV advertising flywheel, the three core components are 1) the large and growing base of households with active CTV devices including players, sticks, smart TVs, etc., 2) the proliferation of ad-supported and hybrid paid/ad-supported streaming services, each one with ever-better content and 3) the robustness of CTV ad monetization itself and how this is driving more spending into the category.
The Connected TV Advertising Summit virtual will be taking place on June 9th and 10th, starting at 1pm ET / 10am PT each day.
Registration is complimentary. If you haven’t registered already, you can do so during the Summit and you’ll receive an email from VideoNuze Events with the Zoom links.
You can also follow along on Twitter at #CTVAds2021. See you at the Summit!
A final reminder, tomorrow afternoon and Thursday afternoon are VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit virtual, featuring over 45 speakers on 14 sessions. Registration for the CTV Ad Summit is complimentary and all attendees will be entered to win a 50-inch Roku TV and Smart Soundbar, generously provided by Roku.
Each afternoon will kick off with a research presentation sizing the massive size of the CTV advertising opportunity. Tomorrow Bruce Leichtman from Leichtman Research Group will share newly released data highlighting, among other things, that CTVs are now in 82% of U.S. homes, with over 400 million devices deployed. On Thursday Eric Haggstrom from eMarketer / Insider Intelligence will share the details of the firm’s CTV ad forecast in the U.S., which it recently increased to over $27 billion per year by 2025.
The conference also features executives from Roku, NBCUniversal, Bloomberg, Tubi, Amplifi/Dentsu, Publicis, LG, Samsung, VIZIO, Vevo, A+E Networks, fuboTV, Crackle, Digitas and many others. They will explore all of the most important topics in CTV advertising, including challenges that still need to be worked out, in transparency, measurement and frequency, for example.
Many thanks to our partners Beachfront, Comcast Technology Solutions, DoubleVerify, Evergent, Extreme Reach, IRIS.TV, Mediaocean, Roku, Verizon Media, Wurl and Xandr.
(If you’ve already signed up, please disregard this message and check your inbox for important Zoom links for the conference.)
Welcome to the second edition of the Inside the Stream podcast with Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up we highlight three stories that hit our radar this week: an upgraded Apple TV device possibly in the works, research on growing SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. and TikTok’s new e-commerce ad formats.
Then we dig into our two main topics this week. Colin explains why smart TV manufacturers have strong incentives to support older units given the promise of high-margin ad revenue. I share details of new research showing advertisers and agencies overwhelmingly plan to move spending into connected TV.
Many thanks to our inaugural Inside the Stream sponsor Verizon Media. When you have quality connections at scale, you’re truly connected.
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57% of U.S. TV households had either Roku or Amazon Fire TV smart TVs or streaming devices in Q1 ’20, according to survey results in the newest Connected Home report from Hub Entertainment Research. The two companies’ combined share rose from 51% in Q1 ’20.
Among just U.S. homes with a smart TV or streaming device, Roku’s and Amazon’s share was a combined 69%. Of this Roku has a 40% share and Amazon Fire TV has a 29% share. These numbers are very close to those in FreeWheel’s recent Video Marketplace Report, which found the companies with a combined 72% share (Roku with 43% and Amazon with 29%). Hub didn’t report findings for smart TVs and players beyond Roku and Amazon.
Topics: Hub Research
Welcome to the 552nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
First up this week Colin and I discuss recent data from Strategy Analytics showing that globally, a record 109 million connected TV devices were bought in Q4 ’20. For the full year of 2020 over 305 million CTV devices were bought, another record. Amazon had the highest market share.
But user experiences across different CTVs still vary, including the presence of traditional grid guides and other content navigation which impact viewer choices. Colin provides a couple of tangible examples of how searching for content can yield sub-optimal results. We explore why this is the case and what might be done to change things.
Listen in to learn more!
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More than 120 million U.S. viewers streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on a connected TV last December, according to a blog post yesterday from Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer. That’s up from 100 million per month that YouTube last revealed in June, 2020 at its Brandcast presentation during the NewFronts. Mohan reiterated that while mobile is still the most popular way to consume YouTube content, CTV is the fastest-growing.
Mohan also said that in December over 25% of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the U.S. watched over 90% of their YouTube content on CTV. Mohan quoted comScore data that 41% of all ad-supported streaming watch time occurs on YouTube, which makes YouTube by far the biggest CTV player.
A record 109.1 million connected TV devices (smart TVs, streaming sticks and boxes, and game consoles) were sold globally in Q4 ’20, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. That was up 9% from the 100.3 million CTV devices sold in Q4, ’19 and up 34% from the 81.5 million sold in Q3 ’20. Amazon led with 12.1% market share for the first time, edging out Samsung, which fell to second with 10.9% share. Following Samsung were Sony (8.2%), Nintendo (7.7%), LG (5.9%) and Roku (5.8%).
Welcome to the 551st edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Vizio filed to go public this week and it’s looking to take a page out of Roku’s playbook. Vizio’s business is dominated by sales of TV sets today, but it wants to ramp up its Platform Plus segment which includes its advertising and data business. Colin and I discuss the opportunity and also what challenges Vizio will face (note, this is not investment advice).
Switching topics, discovery+ accounted for 19% of SVOD signups in the U.S. in January, marking a very strong start for the new streaming service. Looking ahead, we explore whether discovery+ will be able to maintain this pace, and also retain these new subscribers.
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Video ad impressions by device were redistributed in 2020 vs 2019 according to Extreme Reach’s new Video Benchmarks Report which is based on ad serving data from the company’s AdBridge platform. The biggest changes included video ad impressions on desktop increasing from 16% share in 2019 to 22% share in 2020, while video ad impressions on CTVs dropped from 49% share in 2019 to 38% share in 2020. ER said the redistribution occurred as “work from home became the norm” due to the pandemic.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Last Thursday’s Q4 and 2020 earnings reports from The Trade Desk and Roku provide further evidence of connected TV advertising’s surge and also viewers’ significant adoption of streaming video. Because the two companies are heavily invested in connected TV advertising and provide lots of thoughtful insights on their earnings calls (transcripts here and here), their results and sentiments are valuable in gauging the state of the market. Together they provide a holistic picture of the market since The Trade Desk operates on the demand side and Roku on the supply side (primarily).
For some time, The Trade Desk has talked about the rising importance of CTV advertising on its overall business, which continued this quarter with the pandemic accelerating key trends. Founder and CEO Jeff Green said that advertisers’ CTV spending on the platform more than doubled in 2020 (total spend, including CTV, was $4.2 billion with Q4 revenue up 48% to $320 million). Green said “more than 1,000 brands spend at least $100,000 on CTV on our platform” and that “those brands spending more than $1 million on our platform in 2020 more than doubled from a year ago.”
Welcome to the 549th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
On this week’s podcast, Colin and I dig into Roku’s strong Q4 and full year 2020 results which were reported yesterday. As has been the case for the past several years, “platform” revenue, which includes Roku’s advertising business, led the way. Platform revenue reached $471.2 million in the quarter, up 81% year-over-year. The Roku Channel was another bright spot for the company in Q4, with 175 ad-supported virtual linear channels now included.
We discuss these and other topics, including whether Roku’s interest in original content could cause conflicts with existing content partners.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 10 seconds)
Wurl posted record results in 2020, powering free streaming linear TV channels to a variety of popular connected TVs (what Wurl calls its “Wurl Network”). Wurl launched 539 channels in 2020, including 220 in Q4 alone. It now delivers over 700 channels from approximately 150 different content producers and TV networks.
Wurl’s channel model demonstrates that despite all of the attention paid to SVOD viewership (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, etc.), consumption isn’t monolithic; in fact viewers often still crave free, lean-back, programmed TV experiences where they can press play once and then sit back and enjoy. Industry analysts have sometimes called these channels “virtual linear” or “free ad-supported TV” (FAST).
Streaming viewership on smart TVs spiked by 157% in Q4 ’20 vs. Q4 ’19, according to Conviva’s latest State of Streaming report. Smart TV’s growth far outpaced all other device types and was followed by tablets (up 47%), connected TV devices (up 38%), desktop (up 27%), smartphones (up 19%) and gaming consoles (up 16%). Overall time spent streaming rose by 44% in Q4 ’20 vs. Q4 ’19.
TVs were the big winner in Q4 ’20 with 75% of all time spent streaming accounted for by smart TVs, connected TV devices and gaming consoles combined, up from 71% in Q4 ’19. Smart TVs’ share increased from 9% to 17% in the quarter, while CTV devices dropped from 51% to 49% and gaming consoles dropped from 11% to 9%.
Happy New Year and welcome to a new year of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Roku continues to grow, announcing over 50 million active accounts at the end of 2020. On this week’s podcast Colin and I dig into the data that Roku revealed.
The explosion of premium content for streaming no doubt is helping Roku’s account growth and viewership. A recent entrant is Discovery+ and Colin shares his initial review of the service, including a few surprising limitations he found.
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Roku announced preliminary Q4 ’20 results this morning, including that it had 51.2 million active accounts as of Dec. 31st. While breaking the 50 million level is a symbolic milestone, more important, it’s evidence of Roku’s ongoing momentum. Roku increased active accounts by 14.3 million or over 38%, in 2020, up from 36.9 million active accounts at the end of 2019. Roku’s active accounts are up more than 5x in the past 5 years when it reported 9 million active accounts.
While lots of attention in 2020 focused on direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming services, deals announced this first business day of 2021 are a reminder how important third-party distribution remains for premium content. The names and roles of some of these new distributors are different than in the past, but they all underscore how even in a DTC world, third-party partnerships are critical to success.
For example, Discovery highlighted the growing importance of device makers as distribution partners for its DTC discovery+ service which is now live, announcing deals today with Amazon (Fire TV), Apple (iOS devices and Apple TV), Google (Android, Chromecast, Android TV), Microsoft (Xbox), Roku and Samsung (smart TVs).
HBO Max is live on Roku devices, a day after Roku and WarnerMedia came to terms on an agreement. The HBO Max app can be downloaded from the Roku channel store and users can subscribe to HBO Max, which costs $15 per month. Roku users already subscribing to HBO will be automatically upgraded to HBO Max and can use their existing login information.
The Roku-WarnerMedia deal comes after a months-long stalemate between the companies and while terms were not disclosed, it makes lots of sense for both. For HBO Max, Roku’s estimated 46 million active users were a huge hole in its addressable audience. Missing Roku’s user base would have meant that promotions like “Wonder Woman 1984” coming on Christmas Day to HBO Max (and theaters) would have been under-optimized.
Connected TVs are pervasive in American homes and the pandemic has further accelerated their use. As linear TV viewing has declined, traditional TV advertisers have been shifting their spending to AVOD services, where long-form content is largely viewed on CTVs. Top of the funnel linear TV advertisers, driven by reach and frequency goals, will continue to be drawn by CTV’s and OTT’s expanding audience, especially as major TV networks move more of their premium programming online, in turn growing ad inventory.
In the long term, equally exciting for CTV and OTT is appealing to bottom of the funnel, or performance-oriented, advertisers, which have focused on digital opportunities like search, social and display. These advertisers are ROI-driven and are constantly optimizing for desired actions and outcomes like clicks, follows, buys, etc. Because CTV enables digitally-delivered TV ads with rich viewer data, performance advertisers can measure and adjust their CTV campaigns as they always have in digital.
Smart TVs accounted for 14.8% of streaming viewership time globally in Q3 ’20, double their 7.7% share in Q3 ’19, according to Conviva’s new State of Streaming report. Smart TVs’ share was approximately even with Q2 ’20.
Thought smart TVs’ growth was the fastest of all devices Conviva tracked, connected TVs (e.g. Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, etc.) still maintained 50% share of viewership in Q3 ’20, roughly flat from a year ago. Mobile and desktop each declined from 13% to 10% share with tablets and gaming consoles holding steady at 5% and 10% respectively.