Adap.tv held a half-day event in London this week to discuss the themes around programmatic video. The agenda was packed with eclectic speakers coming from different ends of the media buying jungle: from programmatic traders to traditional TV buyers. Here, ExchangeWire sketches out the afternoon’s key themes.
Adap.tv is clearly trying to position itself (and doing a solid job) as an agnostic platform player that connects buyers and sellers. Amir Ashkenazi, CEO of Adap.tv, spelled out the challenges that the video industry has encountered to date: too many middlemen, rogue behaviour and practices and too many layers diluting the flow of investment.
In doing so, Amir painted the picture of a consolidated end-to-end video buying stack, unsurprisingly what Adap.tv are able to offer.
The growing involvement of publishers and technology partners has fuelled French programmatic buying progress. StickyAds Video Exchange’s recent integration with TubeMogul’s buying platform has allowed access to French premium video inventory. This is a very positive development for the French RTB market and it is becoming increasingly apparent France will play a key role in the development of programmatic buying across Europe in all digital advertising formats.
As a channel, online video will appeal most strongly to brand marketers and is the fastest growing segment in the French digital market (60% growth in H2 2012). As the Video Exchange only launched recently, I’m eagerly anticipating the next set of growth figures to see the impact that programmatic buying has on this growth. Personally, I am expecting to see stronger numbers than in other markets.
Indeed, such a private environment is the answer video publishers are looking for, with a recent study by AdMonsters and Adap.TV reporting 73% of EU publishers not offering video inventory on RTB due to their fear of pressure on CPMs in open exchanges. However, 30% of publishers surveyed said they will be running a private video ad marketplace within the next 12 months. The continued growth of video, predicted to be 55% of all consumer internet traffic by 2016, will ensure it remains top of the publisher agenda.
The subject of ‘programmatic premium’ may still be surrounded by ambiguity and ill-definition, but the French RTB market nevertheless is driving on with its adoption.
Many saw the launch of La Place Media and Audience Square as the first signs that premium French inventory would be accessible and scalable through the programmatic channels. Platform-based video buying has also been on the end of a significant growth curve, and yesterday saw the addition of even more scale for that opportunity through the launch of stickyXchange by StickyAds. It is fair to suggest that France is majorly invested in defining the future of premium buying via programmatic controls.
In July 2012, the IAB released the latest update to its VAST specification for the serving of video ads; VAST 3.0. Some of the new releases included upgraded functionality and improved reporting. It also included a standard for new ad formats: Skippable Linear Ads and Ad Pods. Georgia Underhill, European Operations Director for Videology, outlines the significance of these new ad formats and what the wider implications are for sequentially serving a sequence of pre roll ads.
Included within the recent release of the IAB’s VAST 3.0 standard is a seemingly minor spec on Ad Pods, or the ability to run more than one advertisement in a sequenced group.
The new functionality is meant to help make third-party adserving of multiple ads in sequence easy, but pods aren’t yet as standard in digital video as they are in traditional TV. The online video industry is still young and is working out how to make the best of what both television and the internet have to offer.
With this in mind, the mainstreaming of Ad Pods should prompt some discussion across the various players in the digital video ecosystem. I’d like to address a few of these key topics:
Getting inventory right
To date, the availability of premium online video inventory has been fairly limited, compared to the appetite for it. Multi-spot breaks could allow premium publishers to create more impressions without needing to increase the number of content streams played or viewers onsite. Unfortunately, they can also create clutter.
ExchangeWire CEO Ciaran O’Kane sat down with Neal Mohan, VP of Display at Google, during a fireside chat at ATS London this past September. In this video, Mohan discusses the process of consolidating the Google stack, what they offer their advertiser and agency partners, and their endeavours towards a holistically-integrated platform comprised of video, mobile and social.
He further discusses big trends currently evolving in the space, including some new publisher business models Google are bringing to market. These include private exchanges and a native audience extension capability built into DFP, which allows publishers to act as buyers. This new capability will begin with inventory in ADX, but eventually aims to extend reach beyond that. Google are still working towards integrating their stack and offering seamless support of video and mobile, as the standards are still evolving. Mohan wraps up with a full breakdown of their open platform and Google’s new bid manager.
Did Videology just become another end-to-end stack? Amidst all the Advertising Week releases, events and industry noise, Videology announced that it was acquiring LucidMedia for an undisclosed amount.
For anyone outside of the US, Lucid Media was a successful ad network that pivoted into a DSP two years ago. The deal is likely to have an impact on the future business for the company, but the biggest implication is that Videology is no longer just a video buying solution.
ATS Paris is just weeks away, and we again look forward to assembling the ad trading community in Paris for our second big event in Paris. A lot has happened over the past twelve month in the French market. We have seen the rise of two publisher exchanges, La Place Media and Audience Squared, the big jump in the number of Independent Trading Desks servicing the French ad market – as well as the increasing dominance of the two big display players, namely Google and Facebook. All of these factors are contributing to huge growth in the local data-driven eco-system – and ExchangeWire looks forward to going to the heart of growth of the market. Agenda and speaker details are now available for the full day on Wednesday October 24. Early bird tickets are now available, but again we have limited space available. For those looking to attend, the full day event will be through both French and English with a full translation service available in both languages throughout the day.
Curt, can you describe The Weather Channel’s (TWC) business for us? What are advertisers buying into?
Here’s how I’d describe our business: on the media side, we’ve got The Weather Channel and Weather Underground. TWC is the leading provider of weather news and information, as well as complementary lifestyle content and entertainment. Our goal is to help our audience make the most of their lives outdoors. And Weather Underground is another leading provider of Web-based weather data, the big difference is that Weather Underground crowd sources their weather data through personal weather stations, and really appeals to the hardcore weather junkie where Weather Channel is much more weather enthusiast focused.
On the advertising platform side, our goal is to provide advertisers with access to our 163 million unduplicated users, and allow them to connect with their audience in meaningful ways across our four screens.
Further, on the B2B side, the role of our professional services WSI and Weather Central is to provide weather data to companies in aviation, energy and other sectors that rely on weather for their business operations. We also power many media outlets including our own.
Advertisers are buying into a few things. First, they understand that The Weather Channel owns local. If they want to reach consumers on a local level, there is no publisher that can deliver that connection more organically than we can, as users have to enter their ZIP or post codes in order to get accurate weather news and information for their location.
Last week TubeMogul released the first in a quarterly series focusing on real-time video advertising trends, TubeMogul finds real-time video advertising is growing rapidly in the UK, with prices falling as inventory expands, and with weekends being the optimal time to buy.
Key findings from the report include:
- RTB Video Growing
Pre-roll video advertising inventory available for real-time buying is expanding rapidly, growing 13.8% per month in the second quarter of 2012 and topping 29.9 million streams per day in July.
- CPMs Declining
Reflecting expanded inventory, CPMs declined to £4.97 in the second quarter from £6.47 in the first quarter of 2012.
- Optimal Time to Buy
Weekends are a relative bargain to video advertisers, representing 29.4% of the week’s video viewing but having the lowest prevailing CPMs at £5.40.
ExchangeWire caught up with John Hughes, President of Products at TubeMogul, to dig a bit deeper and see what this means for the future of video RTB.
What does the report ultimately tell us regarding the state of Video RTB in the UK?
The big picture is growth. Pre-roll inventory available for brand marketers to choose from is growing rapidly at 13.8% per month and averaging 29.8 million streams per day in July. This is three times the rate of growth in the US. The prevailing wisdom that viewing is low on weekends also appears to be wrong, making it a great time to buy.
When it comes to performance, we see that context and ad placement play a key role in getting viewers to watch an ad to its completion. Larger video players also make a big difference in terms of completion rates, whilst surprisingly comScore site rank does not.