Serving up monetisable content and making money off advertising knowing that inventory and therefore revenue is ephemeral is the true challenge in today’s publisher landscape.
2020 will go down in history as the year of change. The pandemic made sure that we all had to unlearn and relearn what we thought we knew. The publisher landscape was no exception. While traditional media took a downturn during the pandemic as original content production came to a standstill, digital & OTT platforms experienced unprecedented spikes in consumption that resulted in the rise of subscriptions, ad revenue, and consumers.
Before the pandemic hit, it is not that we did not read the news, listen to music or watch movies and serialised content. The entire connected population went into an insatiable overdrive of devouring content to fill in all the “lockdown locked in hours” we had to somehow fill.
OTT media was already on a steady upward trajectory, so this increase in popularity is not a big surprise. All media companies that want to make advertising revenue have learned the value of customer experience and data. Data management platforms existed in tandem with the entire publisher landscape and so did buying user data from whoever was willing to sell it. So, access to audience intelligence was always a beacon of hope.
Advertisers and audiences on either side of the spectrum are spoilt for choice. Brand safety and compliance are of paramount importance and the whole publisher landscape has been predicting doom and gloom over the death of third-party cookies. The publishers who will thrive are building data moats and strengthening intelligence like there is no tomorrow.
The new word is “addressability”. Every single activity around media buying utters this word like the holy grail. Addressability is the ability to show different ads to different households while they all watch the same programming. Like any great idea, the concept of addressability sounds like it should already be in play without any barriers. However, this has been the case only in digital advertising and it is still the smaller portion of the ad spend pie, while everyone wants more and more.
Streaming platforms have realised that consumers no longer want to stay within a landscape that does not create experiences that matter. That customers have limited attention spans, that the next great show, sale, movie premiere, sporting event, award ceremony is just a click away.
How do you keep your audience engaged and on your platform? How do you make money off the ads that they watch? Cracking addressability is the answer. Screens converging (but not colliding) is the answer. Serving up monetisable content and making money off advertising knowing that inventory and therefore revenue is ephemeral is the true challenge in today’s publisher landscape.
There is truth to certain cliches – big wheels do turn slowly. While digital publishers had the agility of movement on their side, the traditional landscape is experiencing seismic shifts. Their technology was designed to cater to an industry that valued appointment viewing and depended on independent third parties to rate their programming and by extension the ad spot rates. The sooner these TV companies provide unified workflows that can view their audience data and make revenue decisions across screens, the sooner that TV land will catch up to the OTT players who are leaps and bounds ahead, just because they launched later and had better access to real-time data from each impression and each customer.
OTT ad revenue growth, optimisation, and success will hinge on the willingness to:
1. Empower and drive trust, control and execute decisions driven by superlative customer experience and data
2. Unite disparate technology and diverse workflows across teams and stakeholders in ad sales – whether direct or programmatic, integrate with multiple ad servers, and run the entire ad monetisation like a symphony.
3. Make split-second strategic decisions having orchestrated a technology stack that allows singular, unfettered views of revenue in real-time and not an hour, a day, or a month later.
The OTT services that will stay standing are those that will:
1. Conquer Cross Channel Selling by making revenue off every sales deal – whether through a direct sales team or through programmatic partners that are run as skilfully as an in-house team.
2. Harness the power of data across all stakeholders in the company, such as marketing, sales, strategy, tech, finance, and people.
3. Merge strategy and tactics when it comes to ad revenue growth – where no revenue is left on the table and all avenues are thoroughly explored.
4. Manage risk and revenue mathematically but ensure that the process is as creative as an art form.
Voiro helps India’s largest OTT platforms manage several of these challenges.