Cannes Panel Highlights: CTV: Demand Addressability From Your Media

By OpenX in Addressability, Brands & Agencies, Videos|July 21, 2023

At Cannes this year, OpenX took the stage with leading partners and clients to conduct three panels on some of the hottest topics in ad tech. Here are the highlights from our CTV: Demand Addressability From Your Media panel.

Moderated by Tony Katsur, CEO, IAB Tech Lab, the group discussed how close our industry really is to reaching target audiences in high-quality adaptive viewing environments. The panel included:

Tony kicked off the panel by asking for some CTV definitions. Abbie Reichner, VP of Programmatic Strategy and Operations, Fox Corporation, explained that “It’s all becoming television, and so we believe that CTV is the same as the big screen.”

Jay Freedman, CEO, Goodway Group, posited that it’s more about the size of the screen, whether audiences are leaning in or leaning back, and what the targetability is. That way, the definition is less important. Jim Sink, GVP Partnerships, Oracle added that what matters is what you can and can’t do with the combination of the device itself and the device connecting it because it has to do with how you can target and measure.

Tony added that because CTV is not commoditized as much as display ads on programmatic, it’s possible CTV inventory could earn much more money due to the limited supply.

Buyers Want Standardized Measurement

Tony then asked the panel about the role of measurement with CTV taking on a bigger role in the media buy. 

Jay shared that Goodway Group aggregates buying across more than 60 agencies to increase their buying power and that measurement tools are only useful if advertisers do the work to connect them to their initial media goals and approach. He added that there are wildly different metrics for different categories, stages, channels, and personas, which means it’s critical to track measurement backward from the personas and other key indicators. 

Jim added that Oracle looks at measurement and targeting together. For instance, if an advertiser is targeting identifiers for advertising, which are connected to CTV, they can measure well, but they need to connect the measurement back to an element that drove the media buy.

He then noted the challenge of understanding who has the rights to the measurement data. “Clearly publishers should be able to understand the value of their media, but on the other side of the coin, the buyer needs to know what their performance is through the long and complex supply chain,” he said.

Abbie noted that with so many measurement companies, it’s important to manage that to service the client. She added within one publisher, there is a lot of fragmentation, not just across publishers. The Joint Industry Committee, created by a number of top publishers, is focused on common measurement and better standards. 

Abbie continued, “Fox has CTV, linear, digital, and many partners like Sling, Direct TV and that creates some sales confusion.” Each partner has different rules and packages across different channels. Within the need to standardize, there’s also the need to fix the technical issues to reconcile more smoothly.

Geoff Wolinetz, SVP of Demand Platforms, OpenX, asked the group, “If we can’t agree what standards are correct, how will we agree how to measure? There are a number of companies in the measurement space for CTV that are behaving like walled gardens. How can we measure across platforms? At some point, we need to understand what someone is viewing on Roku compared to a viewer on Fox linear or Apple TV.”

He added that OpenX is working to take information about a user as well as other signals and provide the ability to buy based on those signals. The next step is to provide more standardized, intelligent measurement as well.

Tony shared that there is a difference between currency and measurement, adding that the IAB Tech Lab created the Advanced TV “Commit” Group, and are leaning into the ATSC3 watermark to act as a reconciliation token. Creating a common currency for the ecosystem to transact could allow individual measurement providers to then connect to that.

Geoff agreed that everyone will want their own currency, having a “foreign exchange” is what the IAB solution can provide.

Curating Inventory Across Channels

At Fox, curating inventory across digital and linear requires a unified sales team, Abbie shared. Cross-platform plans are in-demand. Taking linear audiences and getting that incremental reach with digital extension as a package is the first step, but having so many different platforms can make it complex.

Abbie noted that, “The ideal state would be to transact on an audience across any channel or screen. Fox is now in the planning stage, but that’s what we’re building toward.”

Jay emphasized that audience is not everything: Content matters and placement matters. Testing can be the best way to understand what placements work the best across audience, content and placement.

The Future of CTV

To conclude the conversation, Tony asked the panel to make a few predictions around upfronts. Jim predicted that the upfronts will still exist in the future, but how buys are executed might change. The upfronts are about the content and getting brands thinking about the value of content.

Jay emphasized that, “You can’t suppress people’s need to create value by creating pre-packaged deals early on. While the upfronts will exist, brands are wanting to talk about value sooner, and that will work its way into the upfronts.” He said he also hopes that incrementality and growth will be the focus.

Abbie shared that she believes that a futures market will still be here, and that the upfronts matter along with TV, not just CTV.

Geoff rounded out the predictions with his thought that linear addressable and CTV will only be cheaper if they can be bought in bulk, adding that highly targeted buying will be more expensive. As a final thought, he added that FAST is also a big growth driver for the space and next year may play a bigger role at Cannes. 

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