The advent of live streaming in programmatic advertising is bubbling with potential, yet it’s not without its technical trials.

In a media world where live TV programming is still big business, what role does programmatic have?

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Andrew Casale, President & CEO of Index Exchange, details the challenges and opportunities that await as the industry looks to harness the power of real-time advertising during live events.

The Live Streaming Challenge

“There’s a huge opportunity to bring streaming into programmatic,” says Casale.

The problem, however, is not trivial. “Imagine a live broadcast… every single device goes to break at the same time,” he explains. This simultaneity triggers “unbelievable spikes in requests that come into programmatic,” a phenomenon unprecedented in the digital advertising space.

With millions of users demanding ads at the same moment, it calls for “a rethinking of a lot of the programmatic plumbing.”

Unlocking Opportunities for Buyers

Casale acknowledges the value of live media, calling it “arguably the most valuable new media opportunity that exists.” But to realize its potential, “we’ve got a lot of work to do in standards to get the market to a point where we can do this at huge scale.”

Casale sees a future where “there’s going to be new levels of creative storytelling,” given the shift from pre-programmed buys to real-time purchasing during peak viewership moments.

“The buy side is now comfortable with programmatic and buying television at scale,” Casale points out, and with live, “you’re going to be able to do this when arguably the world is watching.” For buyers accustomed to Connected TV (CTV) and on-demand paradigms, the transition appears to be a natural evolution.

Enhancing Consumer Experience

When it comes to the audience, Casale focuses on the “holy grail for the consumer,” which is “less ad load.”

He envisions a scenario where ads become more addressable and relevant, which could lead to “shorter pods” and a more optimized consumer experience.

“More engaging ads that are more relevant is the ultimate benefit,” Casale argues, aiming for a sweet spot that also satisfies marketers and broadcasters.

The Programmatic Election

Whether election ads add up to a good viewer experience or not, Casale predicts “a programmatic election, the likes of which we have never seen before”, referring to the 2024 US election year.

Preparations are already underway, dealing with ad creatives, review policies, and platform stances on political advertising. “Political ads are going to be running at great scale in programmatic,” he says, anticipating a significant uptick in activity starting in May.

“It’s just going to be an absolute exponential rise,” he adds, highlighting the industry’s readiness for the flood of election-related ad budgets.

Retail Media as a Game Changer

The burgeoning sector of retail media, according to Casale, presents “enormous” opportunities. He sees it as a catalyst for introducing “net new budgets into programmatic,” which would be a boon for publishers and the economics of publishing at large.

Retailers are mostly opting to “partner” rather than build their ad tech stacks from scratch, he thinks. “What’s exciting for Index,” Casale reveals, “is the timing of the launch of our Marketplaces product.” This new offering is poised to serve as a “middle layer” that facilitates frictionless transactions between retailers, publishers, and various DSPs, leveraging retailers’ rich data and budgets.

You’re watching “Anything Is Possible: The Rising Tide of Programmatic Streaming,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series at POSSIBLE 2024, presented by Index Exchange. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.