• Understanding the Intersection of Addressable TV and CTV

    The rise of streaming represents a generational shift in consumer behaviors. The pandemic radically accelerated what had been a persistent, long-simmering trend, and now the entire industry is transfixed by the challenge and the opportunity that is advertising on a connected TV (CTV) device.

    The problem is, CTV and streaming are not exactly synonymous. Streaming is content delivered over an internet connection to any device, often via a direct relationship with the streaming service. The concept of CTV refers to the device itself, such as a smart TV, and the concept of CTV advertising covers the full range of opportunities made possible by having a screen that big connected to the digital advertising ecosystem.  Linear TV programming, when run across an internet-connected CTV device, can in theory present media buyers with addressable advertising opportunities on the big screen.

    Marketers can be forgiven for conflating the two, because the fact is, Linear TV inventory has become addressable and programmatic at a slower rate than many expected, at least relative to the meteoric rise of streaming. A crisis of trust in common measurement standards has only slowed progress further. Folks today see CTV and assume streaming.

    This need not be the case. Thanks to Project Open Addressable Ready (OAR), there already exists a technology and protocol for rapidly transforming Linear TV into an addressable medium. The industry just has to come around to using it.
    What is Project OAR?
    Project OAR is an operating standard for converting non-addressable spot linear inventory into premium addressable inventory that looks and feels like CTV.

    The way it works is that networks and programmers watermark their ads using the OAR framework. When a connected TV reads that watermark, it can send it to an Ad Decisioning Server along with Device ID and other valuable information not otherwise available in a standard linear buy.  That, in turn, allows advertisers to activate programmatically into a linear television pod as though it were a digital buy. In essence, the standard can take a single ad spot, to be shown to thousands of households, and break it up into thousands of individually-targetable requests.

    This technology and operating protocol is one of the coolest things going on in our industry today. If implemented successfully, it would drive radically higher yield for networks. On a higher level, it has the potential to completely rewrite the narrative around linear TV’s decline.

    But, as with any new standard, it only works if it gains wide adoption. So, how does that happen for Project OAR?

    CTV manufacturers are the pivotal players here. All of the rich information that accompanies that watermark travels directly from the television device to the exchange. That’s only possible if the CTV device manufacturer takes the steps necessary to interoperate on the OAR standard.

    Currently, OAR is only supported by a minority of the top manufacturers. To my understanding, those that don’t yet support it have no fundamental opposition to their approach; they’ve either been burned by previous addressable attempts or simply lack a compelling short-term incentive to make it a priority.

    Committed, concentrated effort can make the difference here if all parties can get behind the vision.

    It’s high time that we all did. There’s only $70B at stake.  

    Following is a short interview with Daniel discussing his main points from above, and also  sharing thoughts about his upcoming panel at VideoNuze's CTV Advertising PREVIEW: 2022 (virtual) on January 27th, "Publishers Perspectives: How to Win in the Connected Living Room."