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Understanding The Value Of Premium Video Inventory

| October 17, 2018

With the surging demand for Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) advertising, separating the “wheat from the chaff” is now table stakes for all.

By Jim Wilson, President, Premion

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MediaPost.

On the heels of Advertising Week, the state of video advertising is among the hottest topics for brand marketers and agencies. With the surging demand for Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) advertising, separating the “wheat from the chaff” is now table stakes for all.

Magna projects that OTT ad spending will jump 40% to over $2 billion this year. The accelerating growth of players and opportunity has resulted in mass confusion and a profound misconception that all OTT advertising is brand safe.

In moving bigger budgets to CTV/OTT ad spending, marketers must first thoroughly vet their content providers to know what they’re buying. While many claim “premium video,” most simply don’t deliver premium inventory quality.

FreeWheel underscores the importance of premium advertising by defining premium video as “professionally-produced video content delivered via curated user experiences, in a brand-safe context to highly engaged audiences.” This translates to making sure that ads run on trusted networks with verified viewers.

The market reality: There is a significant disparity in capabilities and execution among advertising providers and video content in today’s CTV/OTT land grab, especially when it comes to inventory quality.

In evaluating the brand safety concerns, effectiveness and ROI of CTV/OTT ad spending here’s what marketers should consider:

Understand where your inventory comes from

Many recent CTV/OTT entrants claim to have directly sourced inventory, but most actually source their inventory from open exchanges. Directly sourced inventory from open exchanges is a far cry from inventory sourced directly from leading network quality providers.

Marketers that are lured by cheaper CPMs from inventory sourced directly from open exchanges are most likely getting lower quality remnant or long tail inventory from lesser-known content providers, which present greater brand reputation risks.

It’s important to know from the onset: Is it a direct buy with a network or ad solution platform or through programmatic channels, such as a supply-side or demand-side platform, that gets their inventory from open exchanges and non-guaranteed PMP deals?

There is no guarantee on placement on where an ad will run or on brand safety with inventory purchased on open marketplaces.

Transparently buying directly sourced premium video inventory in a closed-market approach versus buying from an open exchange is the only safeguard for advertisers from brand safety, quality and transparency risks.

Embrace pure-play OTT network inventory for reaching growing audiences

Pure-play OTT networks, such as MLB.TV, Newsy and Tubi TV,  are gaining significant traction and attracting growing audiences. Marketers should adopt a holistic approach to media buying by evaluating the content and ad experiences of pure-play networks, as well as traditional TV network inventory.

In today’s on-demand streaming environment, where audience buying is what matters, it’s about reaching the right viewer wherever they are.

Ad placement matters for a positive consumer experience

Too often, consumers are bombarded with irrelevant (and repetitive) ads or they miss out on ads that are truly relevant to them. As a marketer, knowing when and where their ads will run during a pod (a grouping of ads during a program) matters.

Is it at the bottom of the pod or will it appear in the most premium placements among the most premium programming? Marketers should also determine how the provider addresses frequency capping in order to minimize the number of times a viewer views the same ad in the same pod.

In the end, premium quality reigns supreme. Marketers need trusted partners committed to brand safety and provable transparency to advance the CTV / OTT advertising industry. That brings more relevant brand experiences to consumers.

Jim Wilson is president of Premion, a division of TEGNA focused on Over-the-Top video and advertising. He has spent 20 years at the forefront of media and technology, including launching the games business at Universal Studios and serving as CEO of Atari.

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