Advertising Week NY Panel Summary: Connected TV

10/07 By IAS team

Connected TV: The next battleground for ad fraud

Earlier in 2019, IAS launched its first-ever Connected TV verification solution with Verizon and eight leading video broadcasters, which validates that video ads are played to completion and fraud-free on Connected TV (CTV) devices. IAS expanded the beta program to include more advertisers and publishers in Q4 2019. In the spirit of looking into the future of the overall CTV space, IAS Chief Executive Officer Lisa Utzschneider led a discussion with an esteemed group of panelists at Advertising Week New York on what this new battleground will mean for the advertisers, broadcasters, consumers, and fraudsters involved.

Who Attended:

Michael Reidy, Senior Vice President, Digital Ad Sales, NBCUniversal
Reidy leads the sales organization for NBC digital, as well as programmatic for NBCUniversal. NBC was among the publishers that worked closely with IAS in the closed beta program earlier this year.

Amit Chaturvedi, EVP, Product & Revenue Operations, WarnerMedia
In his role at WarnerMedia, Chaturvedi handles all of the products that are taken to market by ad sales, including the associated logistics and the short and long-term product strategies.

Chris Paul Executive Director, Verizon
Paul looks after digital marketing for Verizon within Verizon’s Corporate Marketing group, and he partners closely with Verizon Media to help better enable the digital ad buying process.


So long, linear?

The panelists began the conversation by applauding the existing advertising opportunities that CTV offers, arguing the inventory may be even more valuable than linear TV at the current juncture. Yet it seems traditional linear TV still has a strong hold on a large segment of today’s viewers.

“How do we introduce the simplicity of linear in a platform that arguably in the next few years will supersede every other platform?” Chaturvedi asked.

There are still a few key factors holding back CTV from ousting linear altogether:

  • User experience: Older generations have a harder time accessing CTV content than younger, more tech-savvy generations. Additionally, a few logistical constraints around user experience and content discovery continue to persist in the CTV environment. Lastly, although monetization is incorporated into most services, determining the best pricing model for different content offerings is still a tricky process, so consumers will need to remain patient and flexible.
  • Media exchange: Panelists also discussed the barrier to entry that currently exists for advertisers looking to enter the CTV advertising space. Unlike linear, no industry measurement standards have been developed yet for CTV, making the media exchange process difficult.

Although not yet perfected, CTV advertising appears promising. Several of the panelists shared the ways they can go beyond the confines of linear and incorporate interactivity in their CTV engagements, as well as the importance of not “annoying” viewers with this new capability.

So what does future measurement look like once we finally see the convergence of these two formats come to fruition? While no one can give the exact answer to this “golden question,” one thing is certain: it will require unprecedented cooperation between all the OTT players, including proprietary platforms and the viewers themselves.

Growing Pains

While still eager to shout the praises of CTV, our panelists shared their concerns over the growing pains the platform currently faces— namely, how new streaming apps and platforms will make the space feel too crowded for the consumer before they eventually usher in the most streamlined viewing and payment experience yet.

“I think it will be up to viewers to decide when they’re ready for streaming everything through a connected TV,” Reidy offered, expressing his understanding that making the jump requires a lot of broadband and technological adoption.

Despite these potential downsides, our guests were confident that the instrumentation underneath CTV is well-established, and the second priority, monetization is being incorporated into most, if not all, platforms. With those key concerns settled, the panelists feel that the industry is finally in a place where user experience, fraud detection, and verification can become the central focus within the space.

Mega Mergers

With two of our panelists recently announcing their own streaming platforms – NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max– mergers were on our mind. What will consolidation mean for OTT?

“I hope that some of these mergers are not just going to mean: ‘Well, now you have to come to me for this licensed content.’ But instead, ‘I’m going to pay that forward and create a simpler and better interactive experience for you.’ I hope that’s part of the transaction,” Paul expressed.

Panelists also have their eyes well-trained on the increased availability of 5G that may come from these mergers, and what it will mean for high-bandwidth ad delivery on CTV. Chaturvedi asked the audience to imagine a world where an entire film could be downloaded onto a mobile phone in 30 seconds or less. NBCUniversal, on the other hand, feels that acquisitions have opened up an international presence— and with it, access to global advertising data.

Fighting Against Fraud

We’ve seen time and again that in the digital landscape, consumers lead, marketers follow, and fraudsters attack. With this knowledge, the industry leaders who joined us echoed their concern over the risk of fraud in OTT. Each offered their best predictions for what will reduce risk in the space:

  • NBCU: Clean, well-lit environments and transparency in both the content consumers are getting and the verification of ad impressions
  • WarnerMedia: Upcoming government regulation and universal standards for data handling, proactive investment in technology by publishers, and participation in industry consortia
  • Verizon: Cooperation between both buyers and sellers, and helping buyers to increase their confidence in investing with more transparency

Thanks to our esteemed panelists, the first of our Advertising Week panels was a huge success. IAS is proud to be a part of the conversations that will shape what this revolutionary platform looks like, and how we can keep it both safe and accessible.


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