In this month’s Partner Spotlight, we sat down with Jeremy Strauss, Tastemade’s Head of Business Development, to learn more about how the global modern media company is thinking about the next era of Connected TV, from the advertising experience for their 300 million monthly active viewers to relationships between digital studios and linear networks when it comes to premium programming across the food, home and travel verticals.
Please tell us about yourself and your role at Tastemade.
I have been at Tastemade for over three years, and have had a long career in the entertainment sector launching and scaling new businesses. As the current Head of Global Business Development, my main responsibilities are to find new ways to expand the distribution of our streaming network and to drive increased engagement, which leads to increased revenue. I am also focused on finding new ways to monetize Tastemade’s content library and brand through various partnerships around the world.
Have we actually reached a tipping point of CTV consumption or do we still have a few years?
Will CTV services continue to grow in the U.S.? Absolutely. As linear TV continues to decline and shifts its viewers from traditional TV environments to CTV viewing, CTV usage will continue to grow. But I think that this consumption will come at the expense of other forms of consumption; I do believe that we are nearing saturation in terms of overall content consumption.
What should we make of the “streaming wars”?
First, we need to understand that this war is not a single war, but rather a series of battles across many dimensions and involving an increasing number of parties. Yes, Netflix, Disney, and HBOMax/Warner Media continue to spend a lot of money on content, but the battlefield is still evolving, and we’re likely to see both new casualties and new players in the mix. Secondly, the outcome is still to be determined: will it be a winner take all or will several players win? Can ad-supported models and SVOD both generate massive scale, and which partners will end up successfully unlocking part of the scale for themselves?
In your opinion, why is lifestyle programming best positioned to succeed in CTV? Why do you believe that lifestyle programming is best for CTV success?
I believe that there are several factors: 1) the programming is brand safe, and 2) the nature of the programming unlocks so much opportunity for additional ad products like in-show placement, take-overs, etc., which may be more challenging with comedy and dramas that are more talent-centric and that invites a slew of issues and complexities.
I also do believe that for offerings like FAST (Free Ad-Supported Television), lifestyle has the unique brand positioning that is better suited for linear consumption than for VOD. Linear consumption invites itself for longer sessions and higher tolerance for ads.
How have scale and targeting capabilities evolved since you first began?
At Tastemade, we have seen massive growth in our streaming network across new channels, new markets (now in over 40 countries), more viewers, and viewers watching more each month. This scale makes our network attractive to advertisers — both brands and agencies buying direct as well as programmatically. With this growth, we continue to refine how we can enhance the value of our inventory by unlocking enhanced targeting based on our content and our audience.
What is the future of relationships between digital studios and linear networks?
This relationship will evolve along two fronts. For most digital studios, the opportunity for linear networks will evolve such that these digital studios are a source of content for those networks that are successful, and thus have an ability to commission new shows – similar to the model that TV has supported for decades – just at different economics.
I do think that for a handful of brands, including Tastemade, there will be an opportunity to significantly scale a linear network business around the globe as users increasingly adopt these services, and new ad products drive increases in revenue.
As an early adopter of TripleLift’s CTV Advanced Advertising Formats, how do you foresee users interacting with these types of ad experiences? And, what will the future of CTV monetization look like?
We’re still learning what enhances the viewing experience for our audience and what is the most compelling brand/product placement that yields strong revenue performance.
We are optimistic about the opportunity, but I do not think it’s the absolute future of ad monetization. There is no one single future; ad monetization in a CTV environment will yield scale across a variety of formats and offerings, and we have to figure a way to leverage them all.
What is the best recipe you have made while stay-at-home orders were in place?