What a treat to attend a live event for the first time in 18+ months. The buzz and excitement of the event was palpable as people greeted each other with the kind of upbeat energy that’s usually reserved for the first sunny spring day in London.
As sponsors of the Videoweek Roadmap event – a one day conference that’s focused on what to expect in Video and CTV Advertising in 2022 – we and our VIP guests had front-row access to the industry’s most interesting speakers and live conversations about the bubbling video ecosystem. A few key learnings from the event included:
- The economy is having a dramatic effect on our ad tech industry, more than we may even realize.
- Consumption of streamed TV is driving bottom line revenue to record high numbers – citing ITV’s most recent revenue announcement.
- Expect even more walled gardens in the future.
The rising “consuming” class, particularly in countries like China, is driving global growth
Opening the event, Vincent Flood (Chief Editor, Videoweek), presented a number of insightful economic takeaways that were stipulated by a single macro trend: our COVID-accommodated lifestyles have disrupted our spending patterns – no more traveling for work or holidays abroad – and instead replaced those experiences with new consumption patterns. In short, our global population has instead bought a lot of stuff – what the researchers are calling, “binge shopping”.
To reaffirm this point with recent data from the summer of 2021, Flood showed that Americans’ spending on physical commodities had increased by 7% in comparison to pre-pandemic figures, with a large portion of that ‘stuff’ coming from China. A byproduct of this increased spending has been unavoidable inflation (due to supply chain bottlenecks), but also a rising Chinese consumer market. Alibaba and JD.com have smashed Singles Day records with $139B of sales – an outstanding growth considering that only four years ago, that day’s revenue amounted to (a still very significant) $3 billion. To put those figures into perspective, that one day of revenue is more than Tesco and Sainsbury’s combined annual sales. In summary, China is a force in many ways and if the supply chain is disrupted there, it will have a global impact.
So how does this affect marketers today? Well, in the waves of a global pandemic, continued supply chain challenges, and the potential of a new variant sweeping across Europe, it is incredibly important to remain agile in both planning and activation strategies – as marketers’ understanding of their target audience is still ever-evolving – and access to real-time data will ensure creative messaging isn’t blind to the societal and cultural trends of the moment.
ITV’s PlanetV had the most groundbreaking year, ever
After a close look at the global macro environment, the event moved to some, of course, TV-related content: a fireside chat with Rhys McLachlan (Director of Advanced TV, ITV).
In early November, ITV was on track to hit a new record-setting ad revenue figure – the highest ever in 66 years. This success was due to a handful of innovations ITV has launched over the past year including: CTV shopping, opening up access to their data through ITV (and Amobee’s) partner, Infosum, and PlanetV’s widespread adoption.
CTV shopping allows viewers to discover and shop items from its programmes directly on screen – the first service of its kind in the UK – and the clean room-esque infrastructure, provided by Infosum, allows brands to connect their data sets to the valuable ITV subscriber base without directly exposing their data to one another. These safeguarded, but open-source access points are very “on strategy” for ITV who has deployed their self-service PlanetV offering at large to digital and TV buyers in the UK market since October of 2020.
A well said phrase to describe ITV’s strategy was, “It’s programmatic, but on TV terms”, which we (Amobee) as the underlying technology provider for ITV’s PlanetV, fully support.
The disruptive CTV media forces lead to more fragmentation
The digitalisation of TV content is both the driver and the disrupting force for the advertising industry at large. As many companies’ executives have stated before now, “if you don’t evolve you’ll be left behind.”
To address this intersection of challenge and opportunity in CTV, Rhiannon Murphy (Hd of activation, The7Stars) and Richard Brant (Dir. of Advanced TV, Vevo) educated the audience on the heavily fragmented CTV buying experience, inclusive of the growing list of CTV formats and inventory that are claiming to be ‘CTV’. A good example of this came in the form of a simple question; “is TikTok CTV”? While there is no right or wrong answer, it is up to each marketer to decide where they draw the line between CTV and digital video and articulate that to their partners.
Murphy and Brant also discussed the rise of fragmented audiences, and to be fair, the way TV is heading with more walled gardens on the horizon, you’d expect marketers and buyers to be concerned. No one drove this home more than Richard Kramer (MD/ Founder, Arete Research). As an aside, if you see his name listed as a speaker, go to it and enjoy – he is hugely entertaining and extremely insightful. He predicts that we will move from 4 walled gardens – Google, Facebook, Amazon & Apple – to a whopping 30 in the next 12 months. While many are questioning whether those four will remain intact or get broken up by local governments, Kramer reiterated that despite what we read, local governments have too much to gain from the technology giants operating as they are. We’ll all keep a close eye on this developing story, especially with recent developments in Australia.
The fast-paced evolution of the TV industry has driven many hypotheses about the next iteration of the TV landscape. Some propose that all inventory availability will move towards the buying mechanisms of the programmatic open web, while others believe that all premium digital formats will be transacted in a more upfront fashion. For clarity, Amobee’s opinion falls into the latter.
Walking away from the event, I felt even more confident that by working with broadcasters across Europe, we can drive beneficial reciprocal opportunities between broadcasters and advertisers, with a key focus on building products that close the gap between buyer’s wishes and safeguarding broadcasters’ assets.
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