The popularity of ad-free streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ has led to speculation about the future of ad-supported television. Native advertising that seamlessly integrates product placements within programming is emerging as a viable way for brands to reach consumers.

“We’re looking at providing a more integrated, less interruptive experience that we think is responding to consumer trends as we move from a traditional linear viewing experience to streaming, where consumers are demanding fewer interruptive commercials and less interruptive experiences,” Michael Shields, general manager of advanced advertising at native advertising technology company TripleLift, said in this interview with Beet.TV.

The company has invested in technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze video content, and render product placements that can be customized for individual viewers at scale.

“This allows us to deliver all of those placements dynamically so that different users can see different ad experiences, all with impression-level tracking and all inheriting the same kind of tracking that you’re used to with regular digital advertising,” Shields said.

Programming Suitability

He said that some kinds of programming is better suited for product placements than others. For example, unscripted shows and lighthearted comedies are likely more appealing to brands than science fiction shows about dystopic societies. Consumer packaged goods companies and beverage brands that are familiar with product placements are likely candidates for video native advertising. Split-screen ads have more applications for a variety of advertisers, including those in the financial services industry.

“We’re introducing something to the marketplace that’s never been before: the ability to do integrations in television programming, which is something that brands have always wanted,” Shields said. “This is a really elegant solution that maintains consumer interest in the stream, that allows publishers to lower ad loads and just provides a better consumer experience.”

TripleLift works with companies throughout the supply chain, including producers that license their programming to networks. Those programmers integrate the technology as part of their advertising sales efforts.

Future of Ad-Supported TV

Shields sees the possibility for ad-supported television to thrive as consumers reach their limit on subscription services, and look for other ways to consume content. Major media companies invested in ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) services, which saw a jump in usage during the pandemic as viewers sought fresh programming.

“There are going to be a variety of players, a variety of consumer experiences,” Shields said. “Certainly, brand-supported television is not going away. It’s just finding a new shape. As a result, we need to find a new kind of advertising-based consumer experience for the future of streaming.

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