LAGUNA BEACH, CA – Between January and October, ad-supported VOD service Xumo saw a 2.5x increase in its user base – but the shape of the audience is not the only thing that is changing.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO of the California company acquired by Comcast in February, says he wants to reboot the form of the TV ad.

AVOD growth

Petrie-Nelson says Xumo seen tremendous growth as audiences locked at home turned to new digital TV services.

“The scale’s enormous,” he says. “The engagement is increasing.

“It’s sort of sad to see it driven by the pandemic, but we’re seeing people build new habits in the space around services like our own.

“We were acquired by Comcast just three weeks before we were all sent home because of the pandemic.”

Re-shaping ads

But there’s something else that is changing, even as the growth of Xumo and similar services beds in as commonplace.

He says broadcasters these days are asking themselves where they should locate ad breaks in programming, whether to use pre-rolls, how long they should be, whether they should pare back to a single ad, and how the type of content affects each of these answers.

“The world has been traditional TV oriented, where you have certain number of minutes, and then that ad break of X number of ads,” he says

“(AVOD) is a fresh start – you don’t have to go with that. We can vary the ad strategy quite dramatically between an old art house movie, short form clips which we’ve curated, live sports. We’re having a lot of fun with that.

“(We are) thinking about new ways to keep the customer engaged, make sure our advertisers are heard and sort of reach their audiences and resonate with them, but make the service generate yield for our partners overall as well.”

In other words, in the new world of ad-supported over-the-top TV, the very nature of the ad break is up for grabs.

Improving experience

In October, Xumo said its user base had soared to 24 million U.S. monthly active users.

The company was acquired by Comcast in February 2020.

It sits alongside Tubi and Pluto TV, in particular, as exemplars of the new ad-supported video (AVOD) services.

Many think those kinds of services are rising alongside SVODs because viewers’ content appetite is stronger than their wallet.

Next up, Petrie-Norris says it is imperative that AVODs solve the twin problems of the same ads repeating to viewers and allowing conflicting or competing brands to advertise in the same pod.

Powering Other Platforms

In addition to its AVOD offering, it has an enterprise business which powers channel guides for manufacturers including LG.

You are watching “Making CTV Happen: A New Ad Infrastructure Emerges,” a Beet.TV leadership video series presented by Publica. For more videos, please visit this page.