Keen to get money flowing back after a horrific year of pandemic effects, broadcasters are set to open up as many ad buying channels as possible when the annual US season of upfront ad deals begins in the spring.

Amid the ongoing boom in subscription video services (SVoD) like Netflix and Disney+, which are cornering the market for premium catalog, we are seeing the rise of free AVoD services, with acquisitions in tow – Xumo to ComcastPluto TV to Viacom and Tubi to Fox.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Tyler Fitch, Tubi’s VP of advertising partnerships, says the upcoming upfronts could be different.

Upfront reboot

“The interesting thing that we’re going to see in 2021 is that a lot of the major media (now) companies all have their OTT solution, and then they have their linear solution,” Fitch says.

“This year, since last year was kind of a wash in terms of the official (TV ad sales) upfront, everybody’s going to come in with their OTT solution or CTV solution. And how does that work?

“I think that’s going to be really interesting and how each media company is going to come in and present to them to the holding companies and agencies that we’ve never seen before.”

TV ads decling

Total US TV advertising saw a decline of 8.9% to $66.8 billion in 2020, according to market and media research firm Kantar.

Falling below the $70 billion threshold will be a worry for the industry.

But the appeal of traditional TV was already waning before the pandemic, with many viewers switching to streaming and on-demand options.

With the COVID-19 challenge, many ad buyers have taken a keener interest in buying ads that offer viewer targeting and digital-style measurement.

Identity games

Fitch thinks connected TV could benefit from the turmoil currently engulfing digital ad buying, in which the application of user identifiers is being eroded.

“It’s funny because all this came about and really hit the newswires once Google announced their latest policies – but this is a space that CTV has been working in in a long time,” Fitch says, referring to the reality that many connected TV systems have never had equivalent identifiers to cookies.

“We’ve always been cookieless. We’ve always struggled with the idea of that one-to-one relationship when it’s a TV? And how do we have that conversation with an advertiser when they’re looking for targeted advertising?”

Plugging in

One answer is through authenticated, logged-in viewing sessions. But Fitch says Tubi will work with as many as possible.

“We plan to work with anybody really when it comes to an ID that we make sense (of) right now,” he says.

“UID 2.0, The Trade Desk, or LiveRamp’s ATS product and IDL products that are coming out are really getting the most traction first. And we plan on being there originally.”

Sales pipes

It’s all about opening as many ad-buying pipes as possible, at a time when broadcasters have to be as flexible to advertiser needs as they can.

Fitch says Tubi lets buyers buy using methods like Nielsen ratings, programmatic guaranteed or other partners.

“Our job here is to make it as easy as possible, whether it’s a linear budget or a digital budget to go spend,” he says.

“We’re going to allow you to execute any way, whether it’s programmatic guaranteed, whether it’s through an upfront, whether it’s their scatter, we, we’re not going to turn away money right now.”

You are watching “Addressable Advertising: A New Reality for Linear TV,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by SpotX. For more videos, please visit this page.