The growth in households that connect their TVs directly to the internet offers advertisers a way to reach consumers who seek the flexibility to watch linear and on-demand programming. With this year’s launch of streaming service Discovery+, parent company Discovery aims to broaden and diversify its audience.

The launch of Discovery+ preceded this week’s announcement that Discovery and AT&T plan to pool their media assets into a new company led by Discovery CEO David Zaslav. The companies haven’t said whether they’ll keep Discovery+ separate from HBO Max, the streaming platform that AT&T’s WarnerMedia launched last year, or combine them.

In the meantime, Discovery+ is working on creating a positive user experience for its ad-free and ad-light versions, Huda Kazi, vice president of ad technology and operations at Discovery, said in this interview with Beet.TV. The ad-light version currently carries about four minutes of advertising with each hour-long episode.

“We’re focused on things like creative diversity, frequency capping and a seamless transition between advertising and the content playback to ensure that the ads are not a disruptive experience,” Kazi said. “It really should be a complementary experience that helps enhance the entire Discovery+ viewing opportunity.”

The ad-light version of Discovery+ carries a combination of direct-resourced national ads and programmatic ads to help unify its platform for media buyers.

“Unification is key. We’re hyper-focused on creating a large deduplicated supply pool for our advertisers,” she said. “This allows us to provide greater ROI for the advertisers while maintaining the value of our own content.”

Programmatic ads aren’t considered a “backfill solution” to fill remnant time on Discovery+ as advertisers and their agencies automate their media buying, she said.

“We’re a programmatic-first organization. Even to have programmatic running on our premium product, I think that’s probably something not everyone in market is doing,” Kazi said. “We’ve been able to offer our content directly, but then also allow advertisers to find specific users in this very premium environment in real time. They’re able to reserve supply, but then they’re also able to come in and find specific supply that they’re looking for in a brand-safe, premium way.”

Discovery participates in Project OAR, the industry consortium led by smart-TV maker Vizio to promote the adoption of addressable advertising. Discovery also works with ad-tech company Canoe Ventures, which was founded by cable companies Charter, Comcast and Cox to support addressable advertising on national TV networks.

“We’re very excited about linear addressable. It’s a true convergence point, bringing together linear supply and digital execution,” Kazi said. “Linear addressable, it’s a great opportunity to get that reach, the scale that we get from linear TV, but also the digital targeting and measurement capabilities.”

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