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Preparing for the future of programmatic OTT: what DSPs and SSPs need to know

As OTT continues to gain popularity, the industry is developing a road map of improvements

As OTT continues to gain popularity, the industry is developing a road map of improvements that will need to be completed before advertisers and publishers can truly achieve programmatic success.

With subscription OTT revenues expected to reach $19.9 billion by 2024 in Asia-Pacific, DSPs and SSPs need to work together to help make transacting on OTT programmatically easier for sellers and buyers.

Here is how both sides of the equation can help.


DSPs must make substantial investments to fully realize the promise of programmatic for TV and capture their share of the growing video market. Many DSPs do not yet have the architecture to apply a programmatic strategy across several impressions, much less a multi-hour viewing session. Moving forward, solving for this problem will be the key to achieving programmatic OTT success.

The following considerations, as well as utilizing the most direct, cost-effective, and transparent path to supply available, will ensure DSPs are prepared to help both buyers and sellers capitalize on the growing opportunities presented by programmatic OTT while creating positive experiences for an evolving segment of TV consumers.

  1. Ad pod organization: as buyers and sellers increasingly demand solutions for competitive separation and frequency capping, bidders can no longer treat each slot in an ad pod or user session independently. Instead, they must consider how one bid will affect the next and change their strategies accordingly. Forward-thinking organizations will rely on DSPs to develop new OpenRTB signals that better communicate ad pod information.

  2. Processing bid requests: in this new TV environment, publishers will expect to be able to request multiple ad pods in advance, whether for user experience reasons, technical limitations or both. Consequently, DSPs may receive gigantic bid requests containing dozens of ad slots and potentially hundreds of deals. If they are unable to process such large requests, they stand to miss out on an entire stream’s worth of premium ad inventory.

  3. Testing through partnership: like most advancements in the programmatic ecosystem, partnership is essential to the future of OTT. To best deliver on the evolving expectations of buyers and sellers, DSPs should be running programmatic OTT tests with preferred partners to surface problems and collaborating with partners to develop OpenRTB signals that will help identify and optimize long-form video inventory.


In order to maximize OTT’s potential for publishers, SSPs need to provide long-term revenue optimization solutions. This includes providing the technical foundation for achieving the following: a viewer-centric strategy, resources for both TV and digital as they converge, and innovation. These traits of an SSP can deliver the tools and insights publishers need to optimize monetization in the long run.

  1. Focus on the viewer: the rapid proliferation of content platforms means SSPs need to help publishers maximize the lifetime value of their viewers. Advertisers expect programmatic OTT to adhere to the same requirements as TV, including frequency management, as well as competitive separation and brand safety guidelines. Focusing on a viewer-centric experience will help win over viewers and advertisers as this experience becomes the standard.

  2. Anticipate future partnership needs: to support the growing shift to streaming TV, many new OTT-focused programmatic platforms have started to emerge, and as TV and digital buying converge, advertisers will look to buy at scale across different platforms. This means SSPs must help publishers navigate both TV and digital.

  3. Prioritize innovation: as publishers compete to win their share of the OTT market, many are finding themselves stuck with legacy partners who seem more interested in maintaining the status quo than supporting innovations. To best support publishers, SSPs must prove they are focused on solving for immediate interoperability with sights set on the future of OTT.

Programmatic OTT technology is evolving quickly as demand increases and more standards emerge to help advertisers understand the ROI of their investments. To protect publisher revenue long-term, SSPs need to enable a viewer-first approach, align with DSPs to ensure a positive end-to-end experience and provide both staying power and a desire to disrupt the status quo.

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