October 17, 2019
Publica’s Ben Antier on “Is TV Dead?

Your panel is tasked with discussing ‘how to best monetize TV or video's future’? Where do you think the solution lies?
This shift to CTV is creating a massive opportunity for media owners and marketers. The ability to run targeted, measurable ads gives brands incredible insights into the effectiveness of their ad dollars. For media owners, that converts into higher-valued inventory. The rise of advertising sold through real-time bidding on CTV is also healthy for all parties: each ad impression is monetized at a fair value. 
This is why I strongly believe the future of TV is programmatic. It’s a win-win for everyone. Advertisers can reach their target audiences with the right message at the right time while media owners can generate more revenue and reinvest the profits into higher-quality content that users love. It’s a virtuous cycle.
What are the biggest challenges in applying programmatic buying to the current marketplace for OTT TV and video?
In our industry, we have the tendency of announcing that’ve fixed problems way before we actually do. Here are the main challenges that remain:
  1. Providing level ad experiences: This is absolutely critical to continue on the trends we’ve discussed (i.e., the shift of audience numbers and ad dollars from traditional TV to CTV). The problem is that most programmatic platforms still cannot properly guarantee that a) the same ads won’t be shown twice to the same user in an ad break; b) competing advertisers won’t have their ads run back to back; and c) full HD ads will run uninterrupted until their completion. At Publica, we’ve invested heavily in solving these problems, even if it means blocking out programmatic partners that don’t provide the necessary parameters to support these features.
  2. Transcoding: Another misconception is that we’ve solved the issues around programmatic delivery. Today, we still see that most connected TV platforms only render about 80 percent of the ads returned. The biggest culprit is the time necessary for transcoding: If a new ad is returned to an SSAI server, by the time the media file is transcoded, the ad break has passed. Techniques exist to solve these problems, but until these have been adopted industry-wide, we cannot completely solve the rendering issue.
  3. Audience Targeting & Measurement - The main advantage of monetizing programmatically is to give advertisers the ability to target audience segments, and to activate measurement on the ads that are delivered. At this point, this is still very much in its infancy, but I have no doubt that considerable strides will be made in the coming year.
What do you expect people will come away from this panel with, in terms of new insights or best practices? 
I think the main message is that OTT is now ready for programmatic advertising, and that publishers of any size can benefit from it, whether they’re smaller publishers struggling to fill their inventory or larger publishers selling directly to advertisers. For the latter, robust audience targeting and measurement solutions will be what ultimately shifts traditional TV budgets to digital.
In that context, I think publishers are probably asking themselves which programmatic partners to work with. The best practice that I can share from my long experience working in the digital space, and now in the OTT sector, is don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket. Video Header Bidding solutions now enable publishers to work with all programmatic buyers, so why do without it?

See more from Ben at NYC Television Week!