LOS ANGELES –  In the pandemic economy, many brands are dialling down their ad spend, not least on awareness-raising TV ads.

Traditional linear TV ads typically target mass demographic groups and offer little in the way of measurement to truly discern return on investment.

By contrast, the new wave of advertising-supported over-the-top (OTT) TV services is trying to make hay during the crisis.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Jeff Quandt, head of programmatic partnerships at Pluto TV, one such service, says he is noticing an uptick.

New buyers emerge

“We’ve really seen things start to accelerate, especially in this work-from-home period that we’ve been in now for a couple of month,” Quandt says.

“We’re starting to see a lot more of the TV buyers come into the marketplace, really complimenting the digital buyers that we’ve seen buying Pluto for the last couple of years.”

Pluto was acquired by Viacom for $340 million in 2019. And, unlike conventional virtual MVPDs, Pluto does not simply retransmit providers’ channels, nor make their shows available as VOD – it curates their shows in to linear feeds. That means it can manage its own ad inventory in between.

Quandt says Pluto TV uses a range of ad selling options:

  • Direct sales to brands themselves, representing the majority of deals.
  • Setting up curated marketplaces with other similar publishers to extend the reachable audiences.

New bidding tech

Next up, Quandt hopes to benefit from header bidding, a technology that online publishers have been using to maximize their ad sales revenue and which is now emerging into the OTT space.

“It’s something that we’re very excited for it,’ he explains. “It’s going to open a lot of doors to us as well as buyers, I think in the really short term here as the technology really starts to grow.”

In header bidding, a publisher’s ad systems can entertain bids from multiple sources simultaneously, thereby increasing sight of best bids all at the same time, an improvement on the traditional “waterfall” sequence.

Head of steam

But Quandt is still hoping that technical barriers which have made it difficult for header bidding to operate in video and TV can be surmounted.

“It’s still starting to take off in the CTV space,” he says. “There’s some complexities around how we call ads and build our ad streams. Some ad serving technology is built for that, some is not.

“For us to deliver a fully optimised ad pod back to a viewer, we’ve been talking with a number of folks in this space, giving our wishlist.

“It’s somewhere where we see a lot of potential just based on current technology limitations around opening the inventory up to more buyers.”

This is from a Beet.TV series titled “The Accelerated Evolution of Programmatic OTT” presented by PubMatic.  for more videos please visit this page