The Era of Biddable TV

By Ryan Christopher in Addressability, CTV|March 12, 2024

Cutting the cord

Consumers are fundamentally changing the way they watch TV. The pandemic expedited the shift from traditional linear viewership, with US TV viewers spending nearly three-and-a-half hours every day watching digital video, two of which are viewed on CTV devices. 

As this transformation matures, buyers need to rely on new targeting capabilities to reach valuable audiences across CTV devices in measurable ways while driving deeper engagement and ROI against their media campaigns.

So why are so many brands and agencies still buying this inventory through upfronts via programmatic guaranteed or private marketplaces, mimicking the old-school ways of securing premium video inventory? 

Change is good, if not always perfect

Think back to the early days of buying linear TV. A media buyer would broker individual deals with networks to commit upfront dollars to new programming, helping develop predictable revenue streams for media companies and supporting high-quality programs as they were produced. 

The downside was that if the audiences never materialized, networks were left to navigate makegoods, program cancellations, and poor performance. Conversely, buyers who didn’t get in early would be shut out of some real winners because the inventory was locked up before they even had a chance to make a deal.

In the early years of the digital revolution, the Digital Newfronts emerged. For a while, this seemed to help networks navigate a new era of TV viewership, but buyers began to demand better measurement, stronger guarantees, and more flexibility. Thus, programmatic emerged to not only fill the remaining inventory avails that hadn’t been committed to in upfront negotiations, but to command more efficient CPMs against inventory that wasn’t necessarily first run.

It’s no surprise that these new technologies were recognized as a way to streamline these transactions, with most sellers opting for programmatic guaranteed or private marketplaces to ensure they maintained optimal control over their most valuable inventory. Unfortunately, this perpetuated some of the issues experienced with traditional linear buys: Makegoods persisted, individual deals needed to be set up between buyers and publishers, and CPMs remained flat.       

More transparent and efficient options

No longer do buyers and publishers need to settle for the traditional methods of transacting premium video inventory. Through biddable programmatic TV by OpenX, publishers can rest easy knowing their premium inventory is only being sold directly and alongside other premium content.

Improvements in measurement allow publishers to understand which audiences are deeply engaged, further enhancing the rich targeting biddable provides. The wealth of first-party data means publishers can make better informed programming decisions. Additionally, by passing on some of this information through SSPs like OpenX, they can help buyers deterministically target desired audiences across all media formats.

For buyers, biddable CTV delivers the flexibility to compete on premium inventory based on real-time market dynamics, without being locked into firm budget commitments. This method of buying also eliminates the need to create individual deals with publishers, streamlining campaign setup and activation across the board and saving valuable time.

Additionally, biddable CTV allows brands and agencies to enhance their CTV campaigns by matching audiences through identity resolution tools, effectively delivering their messages to consumers across whatever environments they’re visiting. Because many of these consumers have cut the cord, this delivers incremental reach to audiences that aren’t accessible via traditional linear methods.

Win Win Win with Biddable TV by OpenX

We’re in the early stages of the era of biddable TV, but the benefits are clear. 

To learn more about how TV by OpenX can help you navigate this shifting landscape, reach out to us today or download the one-sheet below.