SAN JUAN, PR — Joe Lerner, Executive Director of Advertising Sales at XUMO, has a bone to pick with the complicated jargon of the streaming media space.

Diving into an industry replete with acronyms and blurred lines, he advocates for a more straightforward approach to delivering content to consumers.

Whether on CTV, OTT, AVOD, or SVOD platforms, Lerner’s message is clear: let’s simplify the way we talk about streaming media to focus on what truly matters—the viewer’s experience.

XUMO’s Evolution: From App to Ecosystem

Lerner is on the frontline of this evolving landscape at XUMO, a TV platform that’s been actively “blurring the lines.” Starting as a simple app, XUMO is now a multi-faceted operation offering streaming channels, syndicated content, and partnerships with TV OEMs.

A significant leap forward came with Comcast acquiring XUMO and later forming a joint venture with Charter, strengthening the platform’s reach and capabilities.

As Lerner puts it, XUMO is not just delivering streaming content; it’s supporting other apps, embracing the linear TV model, and launching stream boxes.

Fragmentation: A Gordian Knot for Advertisers

With the proliferation of various touchpoints comes the challenge of fragmentation, making the life of media buyers and advertisers significantly more complex than that of an average consumer looking for their next binge-watch.

Lerner shares an eye-opening statistic: “95% of our viewers are incremental to linear TV.” This means advertisers can’t rely on traditional TV alone to reach XUMO’s audience. Adding another layer, he reveals that “87% of XUMO viewers are not watching on other FAST services,” highlighting the distinct and separate audiences within the streaming universe.

For advertisers, this means diversifying their strategies and working across multiple platforms to create a complete picture of the user base they intend to reach. It’s not just about reach; it’s about reaching right.

The Dream of Integration Amidst a Disjoined Reality

Lerner gives us a glimpse into an industry that’s at odds with itself—eager for collaboration yet handcuffed by the advantages that come with unique, proprietary offerings. The dilemma is of “walled gardens,” where data is hoarded and not shared, hindering industry-wide solutions.

“My wishlist would be that everyone figures out how to collaborate and we come together with some cohesive solution,” Lerner muses, though he admits it’s an uphill battle. He takes pride in XUMO’s efforts to promote openness, propelling the platform as a hub for viewers desiring a seamless experience, and advertisers chasing specific audience segments.

The story Lerner tells is twofold. First, it’s about XUMO’s own journey from an app to an influential player in the streaming ecosystem. Second, it’s a broader commentary on the industry’s state of play—where collaboration is necessary to weave together the fragmented viewing landscape and reconcile the complexity that both excites and unnerves him.

You’re watching Beet.TV’s coverage of Beet Retreat San Juan 2024. This series and event is sponsored by Albertsons Media Collective, Moloco, OpenX and TransUnion. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.