Hershey’s, the iconic chocolate and candy maker, is going all in on Connected TV (CTV) and OTT (Over the Top), planning to increase its ad spending by 9x in 2020 vs its 2019. To do so it is partnering with SpotX as one of its media buying and demand facilitation partners. To learn more about Hershey’s 2020 CTV/OTT strategy I interviewed Vinny Rinaldi, Head of Addressable Media and Technology for Hershey’s and Cassidy Diamond, VP, Brand Partnerships for SpotX. Following is a slightly edited transcript.
VideoNuze: Hershey’s is going “all in” on Over-the-Top (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV) advertising, intending to grow spending in these categories by 9x in 2020, compared to 2019. Why is Hershey’s making this big shift?
I’m excited to announce the Connected TV Advertising Summit on June 11, 2020 in NYC. Please save the date!
Connected TVs (CTVs)* have emerged as a powerful force in the TV and video industries. According to multiple industry research reports, more than three-quarters of U.S. households now have at least one CTV, with many having two or more. CTVs are part of a critical trifecta – along with robust broadband access/WiFi and the proliferation of high-quality Internet-delivered (also called over-the-top or “OTT”) video services – that are re-shaping the living room experience for many viewers.
CTVs are also benefitting from cord-cutting, which reached a new record of nearly 1.8 million U.S. households in Q3 2019. Cord-cutting means millions of pay-TV operators’ set-top boxes are being disconnected annually, with CTVs often taking their place. Younger audiences are especially prone to cord-cutting, or never subscribing to pay-TV at all, which leads to brand advertisers losing access to this coveted segment.
eMarketer recently forecasted that CTV ad spending will jump by 38% to nearly $7 billion in 2019 and double to over $14 billion by 2023, in the U.S. alone. Over 50% of all OTT video ad impressions are now delivered via CTVs.
CTV advertising has enormous potential because it combines the best of traditional TV advertising’s attributes while also offering the targeting, measurement and interactive capabilities of digital advertising.
VideoNuze’s 2020 Connected TV Advertising Summit will bring together senior executives from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and other stakeholders for a full day of high-impact learning and networking. The CTV Ad Summit will be the most focused, in-depth conference of the year on CTV advertising.
Thousands of industry executives have attended VideoNuze events, which have been supported by dozens of industry-leading companies over the past 15 years.
If the future of your business is tied to the growth and success of CTVs, the CTV Ad Summit is a must-attend event.
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities please contact me.
*Connected TV (CTV) refers to any TV that is connected to the Internet and can play OTT video content/ads and also display graphical ads. CTVs have the capability to return user data to device manufacturers, content providers and ad buyers. CTVs support secure transactions such as subscriptions and e-commerce.
Examples of CTVs are smart TVs as well as TVs that are connected to the Internet via streaming media players/sticks (e.g. Roku, Fire TV), gaming consoles (e.g. PlayStation, Wii), DVRs, pay-TV operators’ IP set-top boxes (e.g. X1) and other devices.
Just before the Thanksgiving break IAB UK published an excellent guide to connected TVs (CTVs) and advertising in the UK market, called “Changing the Channel.” Though the guide is specifically targeted to the UK, many of its findings and recommendations are generalizable to other global markets.
Highlighting how omnipresent CTVs have become, the guide cites data from OfCom that 47% of UK homes now have a CTV, with the vast majority having access to broadcast VOD or SVOD services. No surprise 16-34 year olds have the highest likelihood of access and usage of these VOD services. The guide also notes research IAB UK conducted with Differentology to better understand CTV usage and attitudes, plus how advertisers can best capitalize on new opportunities.
Late last week, video ad management platform Beachfront and XITE announced a collaboration in which Beachfront is powering XITE’s VOD ad inventory on IP-enabled set-top boxes. XITE is a Netherlands-founded music video service that reaches 100 million households in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Ben Abbatiello, Beachfront’s VP of Advanced TV explained in an interview that a critical role that the company is playing is empowering XITE with more granular, IPv6-based audience targeting on set-top boxes, an improvement vs. the single home IP address format of IPv4. Beachfront has been investing in cross-screen addressability that bridges STB and connected TV inventory. IPv6 will become more essential for enhanced targeting as consumers add multiple viewing devices in their homes.
Given the current regulatory climate around consumer privacy, many ad industry observers are anticipating a broad move away from audience-based targeting in the digital space, with contextual targeting increasingly being presented as the primary alternative. While this shift might seem logical on the surface, the binary thinking represented in the audience-versus-contextual debate is problematic, particularly as the thinking expands out to emerging channels like Convergent TV.
Topics: 4C Insights
Three key video ad metrics showed ongoing stability in Q3 ’19 according to Extreme Reach’s latest Video Benchmarks Report. Specifically, premium publishers (direct sellers of ad inventory) maintained 80% share of video ad impressions (compared to 82% and 83% in the prior 2 quarters), while media aggregators’ share was 20% (compared to 18% and 17% in the prior 2 quarters).
Given this, it’s no surprise that 30-second spots, TV’s traditional workhorse unit, accounted for 66% of video ad volume in Q3 (comparable to 64% and 69% in prior 2 quarters). 15-second spots accounted for 32% of video ad volume (in line with 33% and 28% from prior 2 quarters).
Topics: Extreme Reach
Last Friday afternoon CNBC reported that NBCUniversal is “leaning toward” making the free, ad-supported version of Peacock, its upcoming streaming service, free, with everyone getting unrestricted access. This would be a change from restricting it to Comcast’s cable and broadband subscribers only, as originally intended. The ad-free version would still carry a fee.
Which direction Comcast decides to go will say a lot about whether it sees Peacock’s primary role as helping Comcast grow and defend its core cable/broadband business, or having NBCU become a bona fide competitor in the “streaming wars” developing with Netflix, Amazon, Disney, WarnerMedia, Apple, etc. How should Peacock’s value be optimized - by restricting access to serve the Comcast’s cable/broadband business, or to be guided by the market and help NBCU build Peacock into a large OTT business?
If you’ve ever waited for an ad to play while watching something online, only to have the ad never end up playing, you’re not alone. According to Conviva’s latest quarterly State of Streaming report, 39.6% of all streaming video ads completely failed to play in Q3 ’19. The vast majority, 35.7%, were ad start failures, with exits before the ad started comprising the remaining 3.9%. In addition, the average ad start time was 1.14 seconds and the ad buffering ratio was .77%.
Ad failures and delays disrupt the user experience and cause abandonment, both harmful to ad-supported video businesses. As Conviva points out, ad-supported video is already an important business model, and will further grow as viewers cap the number of ad-free streaming services they subscribe to.
You don’t have to wait very long for another “Connected TV vs. Mobile” stat to pop up, as industry watchers consider what connected TV growth may or may not mean for mobile video. For example, a recent well-circulated report from Extreme Reach showed that CTVs’ share of video ad impressions has grown to 49%, while mobile’s share of impressions is decreasing. The report pointed to a 60% YOY jump in CTV ad impressions in Q1, also asserting that this growth in CTV ad impressions is “encroaching on mobile devices, whose share of video ad impressions dipped to 25%, the lowest in two years.” Yet the comparison does not acknowledge evolving viewer behavior and the fact that both CTV and mobile video are each growing in terms of overall time spent.
Some marketers hold the misconception that ads on streaming TV can deliver the laser-sharp precision of Facebook combined with the scale of linear TV. Streaming does offer unique advantages, but the medium hasn’t matured enough to beat digital on precision, or traditional TV on scale.
What do we mean by streaming TV?
Over-the-top (OTT) TV is streaming video delivered over the internet, independently of a traditional pay-TV service, irrespective of device. There are subscription-based channels like Netflix, transaction-based channels like Google Play, as well as ad-supported channels like Sony’s Crackle. Hulu blends a couple of those models; you can opt to watch ads or pay for ad-free content. eMarketer forecasts that just over 61 percent of the US population will use OTT services this year.
Connected TVs continued their impressive growth in premium video, according to FreeWheel’s Q2 ’19 Video Marketplace Report, which found that 55% of total video ad views in the U.S. now happen on CTVs. That’s more than the combined share of video ad views on other devices: mobile (17%), set-top box video (14%) and Desktop (14%).
Connected TVs’ growth rate also vastly exceeded those of other devices. CTV video ad views grew by 48% year-over-year, while mobile and STB video each grew 3% and desktop was down 2%. CTVs have taken a central place in TV consumption, with full episodes accounting for 50% of views and live accounting for 47% of views. Even as CTV share had dramatically increased, ad completion rates have remained strong. FreeWheel found an 88% and 98% completion rate on pre-rolls and mid-rolls in full-episodes, respectively and an 87% and 97% completion rate on pre-rolls and mid-rolls in live.
Audiences are fragmenting their viewing more than ever, which is in turn creating more choices for video ad buyers to allocate their budgets. But with these choices has come increasing complexity for how to maximize return on investment and especially which technology platforms to partner with.
Late last week Forrester released its “New Wave: Cross-Channel Video Advertising Platforms” report for Q3, 2019, a really valuable analysis of 13 different technology platforms powering advertisers’ campaigns across a variety of video channels (including traditional TV, addressable linear, streaming, connected TV and online video). Video ad buyers across the spectrum would find the report useful both for assessing the 13 different companies covered and also as a review of all the capabilities needed to optimize video advertising going forward.
Topics: Forrester Research
Video ad spending remains strong on the biggest social platforms, while connected TVs are gaining, according to a new Pixability survey of ad agency executives. 90% of agencies are running video ad campaigns on Facebook, followed by 88% on YouTube and Instagram. Hulu was fourth with 80%. Roku was at 58%, ahead of Twitter (42%) and Snapchat (36%). Amazon Fire TV lagged at 27%. Linear TV is used by 76% of ad executives surveyed.
All platforms look poised for continued success with 63% of agency executives saying they’ll increase video ad spending in 2020 by 1-10%, and another 20% saying they'll increase spending by over 10%.
The final two sessions of the May 29th Video Advertising Summit included an interview with two agency executives discussing the convergence of digital and TV, and then a panel on best practices for monetizing the cross-platform experience.
Below is the agency session, which includes Jeremy Crandall (SVP, Advanced Video Solutions, Publicis Media) and Christine Peterson (Managing Director, Digital Investment Lead U.S., Mindshare), with Matt Prohaska (CEO and Principal, Prohaska Consulting) interviewing.
Below is the best practices for monetizing the cross-platform experience session, which includes Jennifer Cohen (SVP, Entertainment Content Partnerships, Ignite, WarnerMedia Ad Sales), Luis de la Parra (SVP, Partner Solutions, Univision), Gila Wilensky (SVP, Media Activation, North America, Essence) with Eric John (Deputy Director, Video, IAB), moderating.
Late last week, video adech provider Pixability launched its PixabilityOne platform that unifies video ad buying and campaign management across destinations and social media (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram) plus Connected TV (e.g. Amazon Fire). The goals of the new platform are to simplify audience targeting and campaign management at a time when video ad buying is more complicated than ever given the proliferation of viewing destinations.
I’m pleased to present the 473rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Connected TV is one of the hottest trends in the video industry today. So is mobile video, and with 5G rolling out and mobile-first services like Quibi launching, mobile is going to get even more attention.
But there is some conflicting data which Colin and I discuss this week. For example, a report from Extreme Reach this week showed that CTVs’ share of video ad impressions has grown to 49%, partly at mobile’s expense, and that 30-second ads which are CTV-friendly, now account for 69% of video ad impressions. Yet Colin shares Pew data that at least 17% of smartphone users now don’t even have a wired broadband connection, which likely means CTV isn’t meaningful to them. How can CTV and mobile coexist and how should content providers be thinking about these trends?
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 32 seconds)
Longtime VideoNuze readers will recall that nearly 7 years ago I started espousing the benefits of being able to download long-form video to mobile devices, so consumption could continue when offline or when only spotty or expensive wireless connections were available.
TiVo pioneered this capability with its Stream device, which initially let users download programming from their TiVo to an iOS device. As a user, this presented the valuable benefit of unlocking all my recorded content to watch on my iPad or iPhone wherever I was (planes, trains, etc).
Over the years a variety of SVOD providers have enabled downloading; Amazon was an early adopter and Netflix a reluctant, but ultimately innovative, adopter. Others like HBO Now, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, CuriosityStream and Crunchyroll all now allow viewers to download and watch offline. At the recent launch event for Disney+, company CEO Bob Iger said everything in the service will be downloadable (which is going to make long car trips with kids far more pleasurable!). I’m assuming downloading will be a staple of Apple TV+ too.
Nearly half (49%) of online video ad impressions in Q1 ’19 were delivered on connected TVs according to new data from Extreme Reach’s Q1 '19 Video Benchmark Report, which is based on the company’s proprietary ad server. CTVs’ 49% share in Q1 ’19 was up from its 31% share in Q1 ’18. Every other device saw declines in video ad impressions year over year: Mobile from 33% to 25%, Desktop from 24% to 17% and Tablet from 11% to 7%.
As Extreme Reach notes in its analysis, there are multiple tailwinds helping drive up CTV ads: Over two-thirds of U.S. households owned a CTV device by end of 2018, ad-supported services like Hulu, Pluto TV, Tubi, The Roku Channel, etc. are proliferating and growing their usage. vMVPDs like YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, etc are expanding their subscribers and viewing times with linear TV consumption. These and other factors are growing CTVs’ supply, while enhanced targeting/attribution are enticing buyers.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Leading programmatic video provider Cedato recently launched its Video Content Unit (“VCU”) an integrated solution that aims to simplify publishers’ video creation and monetization processes. VCU can be enabled by publishers by adding a line of code to their web sites. Doing so incorporates the fast-loading Cedato video player and content feeds from Cedato’s syndicated video library and the Cedato Video Composer.
The Video Composer is a critical part of the new VCU. The Composer uses AI to quickly create customized video content from the publisher’s assets, and doesn’t require any dedicated editing or setup. The result is a high volume flow of proprietary content that is relevant for users and cost efficient to deliver via Cedato’s lightweight, fast-loading video player. Programmatic video monetization is powered by Cedato’s header bidding solution.
Virtual pay-TV (or “vMVPDs”) providers already deliver live, linear and on-demand programming to millions of subscribers, creating a rich new source of targetable premium video ad inventory, often on connected TVs. But virtual pay-TV is itself in a state of flux, with providers revamping packages, evolving their marketing and raising their prices.
At the recent Video Ad Summit we discussed these dynamics on a session I moderated that included Hannah Brown (Chief Strategy Officer, fuboTV), Chris Maccaro (CEO, Beachfront Media), Matt McLeggon (Senior Director, Advanced TV Growth, SpotX) and
Beth Weeks (VP, Director Media, Digitas North America).
Some of the key takeaways included that virtual pay-TV operators are seeking more scale, especially to help educate ad buyers about why the opportunity is compelling (buy side education and overcoming fragmentation was a big theme), how important automation, content discoverability and viewer experiences will be for virtual pay-TV and how linear/sports remain an important part of virtual pay-TV’s appeal.