Advanced Advertising: Panel Says Advanced Ads Have Place in OTT

New York -- Despite the growing number of consumers switching to ad-free subscription streaming services, a group of advanced advertising executives told an industry audience Monday that advertisers have to go where the audience is.

More and more consumers are watching content on several devices -- Canoe VP of global sales Chris Pizzuro said that 19% of video-on-demand traffic comes from non-traditional set-top devices at the Advanced Advertising Summit Monday. VideoAmp chief strategy officer Jay Prasad added that for some shows, up to 20% of viewing is done on a device other than a TV. And though OTT has been considered to be the last frontier for advanced advertising, buyers and sellers can’t ignore the segment.

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“I think it’s understating the reality that people are moving to OTT,” said Omnicom Media Group chief research officer Jonathan Steuer, citing research his group did two years ago that found half of viewers under the age of 35 didn’t watch linear TV at all.

“It’s a catastrophic shift,” Steuer said, adding his team has spent the past couple of years trying to drive that home to clients. “There are some people you can still reach on linear, some people you can reach in other places and some people you can only reach on OTT.”

Viacom executive VP of advanced media Julian Zilberbrand said that services like Pluto TV -- a free ad-supported streaming service his company purchased earlier this year -- target a large segment of the OTT population -- price-conscious consumers.

“We believe that free is the environment that works well for the consumer,” Zilberbrand said during a panel discussion titled “Putting it Together” moderated by B&C Business Editor Jon Lafayette. “We believe in the ad-supported model that provides. We think it will help with everything that we’re trying to do.”

Denise Colella, NBCUniversal senior VP advanced advertising products & strategy, said the type of ads shown to different segments also plays a big role.

“Very few advertisers will invest enough to really make the most of addressable advertising,” Colella said. “If you’re putting the same creative in front of all the people you’ve targeted, what’s the purpose?“

In an earlier session, “The Big Picture,” moderated by Multichannel News and B&C editorial director Mark Robichaux, Comcast chief revenue officer Brendan Condon said it is important for both buyers and sellers to consider the viewer, not just the content, when deciding where and when to place ads.

Condon cited a white paper his unit recently completed that showed that 68% of viewing is done outside of primetime.

“Viewers are watching all over different day parts,” Condon said, adding that another myth is that advertisers only want to buy live TV, and that means only news and sports. But consumers watch awards shows, live concerts and episodic events with just as much intensity. “Viewership is going deeper and broader."