Last week, IAS hosted “Breakfast Bytes: Digital video convergence and the rise of CTV,” a panel hosted by IAS Senior Vice President of the Americas, Harmon Lyons. The proliferation of mobile devices, Connected TV (CTV), and access to the internet are a few driving forces behind this year’s projected 21% increase in US digital video spend. To get a sense of what else is projected for the space, we spoke with panelists from across the industry, including:
- Aaron Goldman – Chief Marketing Officer, 4C
- Jeff Marshall – Vice President of Sales, NBCU
- Shelby Saville – Chief Investment Officer, Spark Foundry
- Kathryn Ferrell – Media Director, Starcom
The conversation began where most CTV conversations must: level-setting on the terminology that can often be misused. It was generally agreed that CTV is any device that is connected to a television via the internet, while over-the-top (OTT) is the content that is delivered via a non-cable service. However, Saville presented a new hybrid term that many panelists continued to use after its introduction, COTV, a mash-up of CTV and OTT. The term puts the focus on the proliferation of content in as many non-traditional places and formats as possible. “We think about it as video, whether it’s digital video, social video, or linear,” she said. “Consumers don’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to watch linear,’ so we try to just reach them on all objectives.”
The discussion then moved to the importance of taming the wild, wild west of CTV by establishing a common measurement source for the content. NBCUniversal’s CFlight, which utilizes existing measurement platforms across NBCU’s distribution channels, aims to make a neutral playing field for measurement. Goldman called CFlight, “A good first step. Too many people want to sit back and wait for it to be figured out,” he said. “We need to all take steps to figure it out together.”
While much of the conversation revolved around the expansion of streaming platforms, panelists looked toward the point of convergence when linear and streaming are no longer considered separate. Marshall highlighted that, “From a growth standpoint, CTV grew 129% from 2018-2019. The biggest growth is Hulu, Sling – those providers that are broadcasting live and on-demand. All those stats start to point toward the consumption of content moving there,” he continued. “The days of calling it linear are coming to an end. Next year digital will be 40%, and maybe the year after that it will be 50%.”
That convergence point will rely on acquisitions and mergers of both content and technology. For Ferrell, this is where the future of programmatic lies, as well. “As we move toward programmatic buying with CTV,” she cautioned, “we need to think about brand safety. There are different challenges when you aren’t buying direct, and we don’t see the same level of transparency on the open exchange.”
The ultimate conclusion of the panel wasn’t a perfect answer; there’s still a tumultuous road ahead for CTV as the landscape continues to evolve. But what everyone could agree upon was that dialogue, sharing data, and taking proactive steps to cooperate will be essential in shaping the C(O)TV future.
IAS is the first and only partner to work directly with the largest video publishers to validate that video ads are played to completion, free from invalid traffic, on CTVs. Download our CTV one-sheet to learn more.
IAS is excited to host future events in the Windy City! Last month, we announced our expansion into the thriving tech scene in Chicago with the Center of Excellence. Located in the heart of Chicago’s business district, the Loop, the office is home to the data scientists and engineers building the next generation of advertising tech.