How OTT Platforms Fit Into The Complicated TV Landscape
Pity the OTT ad buyer, who must manage reach and frequency goals while finding inventory across a fragmented TV landscape.
Often, the same inventory is available from multiple sellers – from networks like NBC, Fox and ABC to the actual OTT platforms, like Roku, Samsung or Amazon.
And networks and platforms offer different strengths and weaknesses.
Most OTT inventory is purchased through networks as an IO, said Philip Inghelbrecht, founder and CEO of Tatari. Legacy relationships still flourish at the networks, and while targeting is a challenge, they can provide more control over measurement.
On the other hand, OTT platforms offer better data and targeting, but measurement is usually walled off, and inventory sold as a managed service.
Where an ad buyer purchases their OTT inventory depends on their business objectives. National advertisers may want to leverage relationships with networks, whereas buyers looking for efficiencies and extended reach may value better data and targeting from the operating systems.
Another option is buying through a combination of both, but doing so creates frequency issues without the right media plan, since both avenues often have the same inventory. An ad buyer might purchase an audience through a platform and a show through a network for reach, and end up inundating the viewer with the same ad.
“You have to decide where you’re willing to risk overlap,” said Manny Hernandez, VP, head of display activation in North America at Essence.
Carriage rights make it very difficult to know who’s selling what, complicating reach and frequency management – especially when buying across both the networks and the OTT platforms.
Cable TV operators can only sell two minutes of commercial time per hour of programming while the networks get 18 minutes. OTT platforms get an even smaller slice, at the expense of the cable operators; they can only sell an undisclosed percentage of the network’s inventory within those two minutes.
And when buyers purchase OTT inventory via the platforms, they don’t know what content they ran against, because the platforms aggregate measurement.
Networks sell the first cut of their inventory across all distribution platforms, so many buyers prefer to work with them first.
“Discovery sells Discovery everywhere, as opposed to Roku selling a small percentage,” said Jesse Math, VP of media and OTT lead at digital agency ForwardPMX. “My choice as a buyer is to do a deal with Discovery where I can overlay whatever data I want. That could also run on a Roku.”
With more OTT offerings hitting the market from Disney, NBC and WarnerMedia, fragmentation is only getting worse. But lack of measurement is a bigger concern on OTT, and for many marketers, inability to measure is reason enough not to buy through OTT platforms at all.
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