Connected TV — A Media Planning Dilemma
The Walt Disney Company recently announced a strategic move by deciding to partner with Google’s advertising platform for its digital brands. The brands include — Disney, ABC, ESPN, Freeform, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars. Disney will bring its entire global digital video and display business onto Google Ad Manager under the multiyear contract. Google Ad Manager will serve as its core ad-technology platform. The deal is across multiple channels such as live streaming and DTC content, and other such offerings.
In 2018, connected TV overtook mobile as the screen on which the most digital video impressions were served. According to the Extreme Reach study, in the third quarter of 2018, 38 percent of video ad impressions were served on connected TV as compared to 31 percent that were served on smartphones. eMarketer estimates that about 182 million Americans watch connected TV, a term that encompasses smart TVs, over-the-top (OTT) devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, subscription services like Hulu, and even gaming consoles. And yet, according to a survey of ANA marketers, only 15 percent companies have connected TV in their media plan.
Concerns Advertisers Have in Including Connected TV in Their Media Plan
Fragmentation: First, even connected TV is highly fragmented. There are several channels that make a single content available. For example, to watch the latest episode of House of Cards — content would be available on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Netflix, etc., and 10 such different channels. This means the buying experience is different for every channel and each platform has its own parameters.
Non-Availability of Inventory for Ads: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and YouTube are the most used and these four apps account for more than 75 percent of the time spent by people streaming videos. Of this, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do not carry ads and the other two are based on subscription. Hence, the amount of inventory with premium video that really supports ads in relation to TV is very limited.
Cost of Inventory Purchase: Connected TV inventory is more expensive than digital video, and is almost equal to traditional TV. The average CPM for connected TV is about $25, and this cost is comparable to or sometimes even higher than traditional TV.
What Procurement Can Do
Many brands still have reservations when it comes to investing in connected TV. This, despite the fact that more than 60 percent of the U.S. population (about 200 million users) will likely become connected TV users by 2022.
- Brands should think of using fragmentation to their advantage. Although fragmentation is considered to be a pain point and people are watching content from every possible channel, it can help meet targets better. The data provider can enable better reporting in terms of updating advertisers with information on the most viewed ad and the devices in which the ads appear.
- Although the cost of buying inventory on connected TV is expensive, it has been found that buying it directly from the media companies themselves is cheaper than buying it via aggregators who pool inventory across various media companies’ apps. Media companies are seen to be using lower prices to maintain their relationship with advertisers who are moving the spend from TV and digital channels to connected TV.