Over 48 million homes will shift from linear TV to only connected TV (CTV) by 2021, according to eMarketer. As CTV has gained momentum with consumers, advertisers have invested accordingly. CTV ad spend in the US will reach $20.1 billion in 2020, according to Tru Optik—a growth rate of over 50 percent year-on-year.
As a result, measuring the quality and performance of CTV buys is increasingly critical. However, to do that effectively, it is essential to understand and debunk the most common CTV ad myths among buyers.
To better understand the common misconceptions surrounding CTV advertising, we chatted with Chris Signore, Vice President of Publisher Partnerships at Magnite, the largest independent omnichannel sell-side advertising platform.
Q: Before we dig in, let’s start with an explanation of what Magnite does.
Chris Signore, VP of Publisher Partnerships: We’re the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform that combines Rubicon Project’s programmatic expertise with Telaria’s leadership in CTV. Publishers use our technology to monetize their content across all screens and formats—including desktop, mobile, audio, and CTV. The world’s leading agencies and brands trust our platform to access brand-safe, high-quality ad inventory, and execute billions of advertising transactions each month. We have offices across North America, EMEA, LATAM, and APAC.
Q: The most common misconception we hear is that CTV and over-the-top (OTT) are the same thing. But they aren’t, right?
CS: CTV and OTT aren’t the same but we often see people using these terms interchangeably. OTT encompasses video content that is delivered over the internet on any screen or device, which includes CTV. When we say CTV, we’re referring to a TV set connected to the internet via a streaming device or a smart TV through which viewers can enjoy broadcast-quality, long-form video content.
Q: With the booming growth of CTV adoption, there is the delusion that inventory is scarce, especially in the programmatic ecosystem. Do you see it otherwise?
CS: CTV inventory is far from scarce. Viewing is shifting more towards digital as consumers gravitate towards services that give them greater choice and flexibility. While social distancing has definitely played a role in the uptick in CTV viewing, there are a number of other factors that have led up to this increase. For years we believed that CTV will be the default way that audiences access premium, long-form TV content.
The shift in viewing is followed by a shift in where advertisers are allocating their budgets. eMarketer expects U.S. CTV ad spending to increase by more than 25 percent this year, a bright spot in the 2020 ad market.
The ability to buy CTV inventory programmatically makes it possible for buyers to access inventory across multiple publishers based on the audience they want to reach. This saves time, ensures scale, and is more efficient than managing IOs across individual networks based on content targeting.
Q: Most people know about Hulu or other household streaming brands, but what are other examples of CTV inventory that Magnite has available?
CS: Magnite has direct relationships with dozens of CTV publishers that all offer premium content. This includes XUMO, Philo TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Crackle, Newsy, and many more. One type of CTV content that many buyers (and consumers) aren’t aware of is live CTV, which includes live news and sports. Several CTV publishers including Sling TV and Fubo TV offer this type of inventory.
Q: There is also the misconception that millennials are the only audience that watches CTV. What trends is Magnite seeing as it relates to audience demographics?
CS: Linear TV has been on a decade-long decline–this is not something that happened overnight. Over the past decade, 18-49 ratings have plummeted between 43 percent and 59 percent across the big four broadcast networks according to Nielsen data. A recent CNBC article stated that at least three large U.S. media companies expect the number of U.S. households that subscribe to a traditional pay TV bundle to fall to about 50 million in the next five years. These are not viewing trends that are being shaped by only millennials. We’re seeing viewers of all ages gravitating towards CTV.
Q: Any final thoughts?
CS: The growing number of streaming services can be overwhelming. It’s not realistic to expect brands to know the details of all the inventory available on every platform, but educating them on the various ways they can find and access the content their target audiences are watching is important. Marketers are beginning to see CTV as a core part of their advertising mix rather than as an experimental channel–a rapid evolution from just a few years ago.