COLOGNE-A year ago, headlines abounded in advertising and media circles about the impending death of television and a skepticism about brand marketers’ need for premium video. “Fast forward 12 months to today and the headlines are literally the exact opposite,” says James Rooke, Chief Revenue Officer at FreeWheel.

Rooke cites two main reasons for the reversal: an increased recognition of the value of ad messages against quality content in a highly engaged environment, and the contribution of data to marketers’ business outcomes.

“I think brand marketers are increasingly savvy and sophisticated in understanding some of the behaviors that were not necessarily in their interests,” Rooke says in an interview with Beet.TV.

Because more advertisers have come to appreciate environments where they can have greater control—whether it’s better spend accountability and greater transparency—and where they believe their advertising message is going to be better received, “the pendulum is shifting back toward the top end of the market,” Rooke says.

The “flip side of the coin,” Rooke explains, is the complexity of unifying reach amid viewer fragmentation across screens.

“What brand marketers want is quality but quality at scale, and creating that scale is increasingly difficult,” he says.

Unifying audiences poses technical, operational and measurement challenges. It’s hard to maximize the value of any given impression while insuring that the controls marketers care about, including the protection of their data and inventory, are in place.

“It’s a very positive story in terms of the value of premium, but also a ton of complexity that comes with actually executing against that,” Rooke says.

FreeWheel’s acquisition of earlier this year is helping it to enable programmers and publishers to access all demand sources while maintaining their desired controls. has “a very shared philosophy in terms of the type of clients they focus on,” says Rooke. “The combination of their technology and our technology, when you bring those together, brings the best of both worlds.”

We spoke with Rooke this week at the FreeWheel European summit in Cologne presented along with Please visit this page for additional videos from Beet’s coverage.

FreeWheel European Summit, Cologne, 2016