Authored by: Michael Shields, General Manager, Connected TV at TripleLift
The IAB NewFronts – a virtual and physical industry playground – brought streaming platforms, networks, ad tech companies, and publishers large and small together to boast the latest innovations and offerings for advertisers for yet another year. Presentations throughout the week-long event varied across topics and specialties, but there was one shared message throughout that captured our attention: the importance of choice across content, audiences, and formats.
FAST & AVOD lead NewFronts with new content announcements
The NewFronts always highlight industry shifts on the big stage. As the options and mediums for television expand, it’s not just the industry’s biggest players that are delivering new catalogs and original shows for more content choices. The industry’s fastest-growing segment, which makes up the majority of the market unbeknownst to some, is catering to audiences with more premium content options. That segment: the mid-market, is largely made up of FAST and AVOD publishers.
Tastemade, one of the leading AVOD publishers, made a splash during their NewFront presentation with their announcement of Tastemade Home, a channel designed for the new generation of homeowners, along with 27 new original series in 2022 across Tastemade properties including Tastemade Travel and Tastemade Espanol.
Another mid-market player, Canela Media, delivered a presentation focused on efforts to continue to iterate off of what their fans love. Isabel Rafferty, CEO and Founder of Canela Media said, “the insights we have about our passionate fans fuel all of our choices, which is what makes Canela the only real strategic AVOD player for Hispanic audiences”. The media company shared news that these insights directly impacted their decision to launch Canela Kids, a new Spanish-language AVOD destination for families.
Thanks to a focus on curating content catalogs for passionate, loyal fan bases, the CTV mid-market of FAST and AVOD players have maintained deeply invested audiences, yielding lower churn rates and higher engagement. While each of these provides great ways to target niche audiences, it’s the entire mid-market collective that allows buyers to reach their desired scale and KPIs outside of the walled gardens. And the only way to reach them all at once is through programmatic channels which offer the precision of digital with the best of television.
First-party data takes center stage as brands look to reach diverse audiences
Leaders like Samsung Ads and LG Ads, highlighted precision targeting and measurement tools to meet audiences where they are. We also heard from long-time, audience-based measurement solutions like Neilsen and Comscore, to help bridge the gap while the market still deals with fragmentation to reach those desired audiences.
These insights are not only essential to reach the larger population, but also to understand what appeals to diverse audiences. On a panel titled “Diversity in the Creator Community”, Paula Castro, Google’s Multicultural Creative Business Partner said, “what works for a general market audience might not necessarily work for a multicultural audience”. Platforms and brands shared major DE&I investments and partnerships in an effort to drive the industry towards a more inclusive space. Black-owned media companies like Revolt, and Blavity Inc., shared the power of Black-owned media and how brands can take part in solving for Black inequities. Players like A&E announced their new ad-supported FAST channel called “4UV” which takes a thoughtful approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion and will showcase a variety of original content, focused on giving voices to underrepresented communities. Tubi also announced a plan to introduce new original programming next year, with an emphasis on personalized content, where they will use new analysis tools, “Campaign Insights” and “Content Clusters” to gain deeper audience insights to help brands reach diverse audiences.
It is more important than ever to deliver personalized and connected messages through content and storytelling, and CTV offers an opportunity for the most meaningful and dynamic living room experience.
More formats, more choices for brands
It is essential to engage audiences in a way that is additive to their viewing experience, and this rang true after a plethora of non-traditional ad formats were shown in various presentations last week – giving brands the ultimate choice of how they deliver their message. We saw this with NBCU Peacock’s announcement of the Peacock “Frame Ad”, where sponsored ads appear in a “frame” surrounding the content of a show, along with the Peacock “In-Scene Ad”, which integrates a brand or product message into a show using post-production visual effects. Amazon similarly unveiled Virtual Product Placement or “VPP”, which is designed to insert brands directly into Amazon original content. As we continue to see more subtle advertising being integrated into show content, it is clear that the consumer experience is the name of the game, and the future of brand-supported television is upon us.
While:30s spots still reign supreme, new format options have been making headway for a few years. The difference between now and then is the level of sophistication that allows for these branding experiences to feel completely seamless within the content. Alternate format options like Homescreen Native Ads, Pause Ads, and Shoppable Overlays, played off gaps in audience decisions and aim to be complementary to the viewing experience.
In order to push the industry forward toward this new wave of advertising, there are crucial steps that must be taken – securing the rights to content for downstream uses, investing in the right creative assets to deliver the highest quality experience for consumers, and building purchase paths that allow us to assess the reach, frequency, relative value and effectiveness of new formats within the overall media mix. Steps we are already taking at TripleLift.
We’re entering the next chapter of brand-supported television
The 2022 NewFronts showed us that there continue to be more options than ever to reach and appeal to audiences today, but that doesn’t mean inevitable success for streaming platforms and brands. It is imperative to understand your audience and deliver personalized and impactful viewing experiences, and the industry investment in first-party data offers brands and platforms the chance to do so. Large-scale industry giants validated that integrated ad formats will continue to take over the advertising ecosystem, offering brands and audiences alike a better way to experience ad-supported TV. As CTV ad loads continue to shrink, integrated ads are the ingredient that will sweeten the viewer experience and propel us into the next chapter of brand-supported television.