Viewing of premium video continues to shift from desktop to the big television screen. Underlying the transition are big increases not only in video views and full-episode player content consumption, but also a surge in watching live sports in over-the-top environments.
Citing the FreeWheel Video Monetization Report for the second quarter of 2017, combined OTT, connected-TV device and set-top box VOD represented 49% of consumption in its ad management platform, says Neil Smith, SVP, FreeWheel Markets.
“It’s really shifted to the actual television screen,” Smith says in this interview at the recent Beet Retreat Miami 2017.
It’s been about a year since FreeWheel and StickyADS.tv came together via acquisition. One of the biggest yields has been a unified solution for publishers that have traditionally sold most of their inventory through direct-sale insertion orders.
Now, having added a programmatic sales channel facilitates “a unified ad decision against any demand that publisher has access to,” says Smith.
As a result, there’s more unification of sales efforts as digital and linear work together. FreeWheel is seeing “a much bigger appetite and focus on programmatic guaranteed deals.” Switching from paper insertion order deals into programmatic pipes “but still fixed price guaranteed,” is how Smith explains it.
Being able to safely deliver programmatic executions in premium environments has led to more opportunities for sellers and buyers.
“We have a number of publishers that have major live sporting events and they’re now starting to use programmatic monetization in those events,” says Smith. “And the reality is it’s a great use case for it.”
For example, if a game goes into overtime, if a series runs to a seventh game, the ability exists to “tap into that impression by impression demand in a way that’s safe and doesn’t disrupt the user experience or cause sales channel conflict with direct-sold ads.”
One of FreeWheel’s main priorities has been extending the programmatic solutions it’s long offered for desktop, mobile, OTT and set-top box VOD into the traditional linear TV realm.
“We’ve got a good idea of what brands and markets are looking for as we move in the next generation of premium video and television. It’s really now a matter of execution,” says Smith.