Platform Communications Views

Reasons to be cheerful in OTT advertising

I’m looking forward to attending Future TV Advertising Global (FTVA) next week, albeit in its virtual format. The event always provides a fascinating view of the intersection between broadcasters, advertising technologies and brands, and it serves as a valuable barometer of where the advertising and TV industries are at.

With 2020 having been a year of such unprecedented disruption, I’m especially interested in hearing about the surge in connected TV (CTV) viewing over the last 12 months. The CTV era is well and truly upon us, which can only be a good thing for ad-funded broadcasters and OTT providers who have an opportunity to recover stronger with more of their audiences being addressable.

Digital video advertising has shown amazing resilience this year. According to IAB UK, it is the only sector of digital advertising that has seen growth in 2020. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that brands have chosen video for their ad spend. Broadcasters can offer a 30-second ad spot in HD quality, with very high view-through rates, on a medium that is held in high regard by viewers – this last point becoming ever-more important as questions of trust surround other online advertising platforms. The main differentiator between them and TV has traditionally been the ability to offer targeting and real-time measurement, but the boom in connected TV viewing is changing that.

A description of one panel at FTVA describes CTV as “a smart extension to broadcasting,” and I think this sums up the technology well. On a household level, advertisers are now able to be much more effective with their budgets than ever before. Does this mean we’re close to a tipping point for TV where the potential of programmatic trading really delivers? That’s a conversation for another day and probably a whole series of blogs!

The proliferation of CTV, which reached 80% penetration in US households this year, is set to go hand-in-hand with a massive surge in ad-funded VOD. Digital TV Research has projected that AVOD expenditure will more than double worldwide by 2025 to be a $53bn business. There is a lot to be optimistic about if you have an interest in OTT advertising.

Beyond VoD, it will be fascinating to hear from my old friends at Yospace and BT Sport on the recovery of sports in the second half of the year and hear their thoughts on how 2021 will play out.

Finally, the other big topic that I expect to hear about next week is the ongoing quest to unify ad sales and measurement across linear and digital TV. The concept of Total Video has been around for a few years now but can a unified approach really deliver? I shall look forward to hearing more at FTVA.

Hopefully see you at the event. Let me know if you’re planning to attend – would be great to catch up.

Platform recently published a report on developing the most effective communications strategies in adtech, which you can download for free here.