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Three Ways Broadcasters Are Losing Money in OTT Without Even Knowing It

A stack of money
(Image credit: ATU Images/Getty Images)

Over-the-top (OTT) video represents one of the fastest-growing advertising opportunities in the global marketplace right now. This growth is apropos, given the opportunities that OTT offers for enhanced targeting capabilities and contextually relevant ad placement, which in turn deliver a better viewer experience. However, OTT and connected TV (CTV) come with their fair share of challenges, as outlined in our recent report on global digital advertising trends (opens in new tab), and there are multiple areas where today’s broadcasters are leaving money on the table. 

Matt Deets, general manager, Smaato

Matt Deets (Image credit: Smaato)

Let’s take a look at three key areas where broadcasters are missing out financially when it comes to their OTT inventory, as well as how they can pivot to ensure they’re achieving the greatest possible return on this growing opportunity. 

Sending Bid Requests Per Slot

As with other forms of digital advertising, OTT inventory purchasing is driven by bid requests, which are essentially lines of code that tell advertisers what they need to know to decide if they’d like to purchase a given piece of OTT inventory. When it comes to bid requests for OTT inventory, broadcasters can send individual bid requests per slot, or they can send per-pod bid requests. 

A pod, in OTT-speak, is simply a commercial break that contains multiple slots, and per-pod bidding lets marketers see the entire ad pod and the slots within it, versus just the individual slots. Right now, most of the industry is operating under a per-slot model. However, per-pod bidding is emerging as a growing opportunity, and it offers a number of benefits — including greater monetization on the broadcaster side. 

With per-pod bidding through certain platforms, broadcasters maintain unprecedented control over their OTT inventory, including the ability to determine individual floor prices for each slot and pod. With this more granular control, broadcasters can maximize the value of each slot. In fact, on our own platform, we’ve found that effective costs per thousand impressions (eCPMs) for podded inventory tend to be more than triple those of non-podded inventory.

Paying for a Third-Party SSAI Vendor

One of the biggest challenges with OTT and CTV is that, like other forms of digital advertising, it can be highly susceptible to ad fraud. That’s because of the extra layers of technology required to enable a dynamic ad buying process that can maximize the value of OTT’s targeting and attribution capabilities.  

In OTT, the fraud risk comes into play when broadcasters use a third-party SSAI (server-side ad insertion) service that sits between the broadcaster and the ad server. Here’s the thing: If broadcasters leverage a platform that handles SSAI in-house, they can not only eliminate the risk of fraud, but also the fees associated with a third-party vendor. 

By leveraging a platform with in-house SSAI, also known as dynamic ad insertion (DAI), broadcasters can also deliver a better experience to users, as in-house SSAI can deliver ads with less latency. Across the board, these benefits provide a better financial outcome for broadcasters — directly through cost savings and fraud reduction, and indirectly through better viewer experiences. 

Failing to Make Omnichannel Connections

Finally, let’s talk omnichannel. To date, a lot of the efforts in OTT and CTV advertising have been happening in a siloed fashion, as is often the case when it comes to building, enhancing and experimenting with new channels. But, as we see with every emerging opportunity, the greatest value can only be realized when individual channels are integrated into the larger advertising picture. In other words, advertisers want to know what role OTT and CTV are playing in their larger marketing strategies when it comes to boosting awareness and, importantly, sales—and they expect broadcasters to be enabling this type of cross-channel understanding.  

For broadcasters looking to maximize the value of their OTT inventory, an all-in-one platform enables them to monetize inventory across different channels and devices. By rolling OTT and CTV in as a part of a single omnichannel platform, broadcasters can get (and provide) better data and insights into how content and its associated advertising is performing wherever it’s consumed. This helps broadcasters make more-informed decisions and better optimize their pricing, offerings and advertising opportunities for marketers. 

OTT monetization for broadcasters is going to evolve and grow in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean broadcasters need to play the waiting game when it comes to ensuring they’re making the most of this emerging channel today. By addressing the above three common missed opportunities, broadcasters can ensure the money they were previously leaving on the table is ending up where it belongs — in their pockets.

Matt Deets is the general manager at Smaato, now a part of Verve Group, a digital ad tech provider that offers a completely omnichannel, self-serve monetization solution and ad server.