Hearst Television expands access to its growing OTT inventory with FreeWheel partnership

Hearst Television and FreeWheel partner as both companies aim to expand OTT offerings

Hearst Television has partnered with FreeWheel to scale out its OTT ad product Hearst Anyscreen.

Anyscreen has become Hearst Television's fastest-growing ad product since its launch in September 2018, said the company's director of ad products Adam Noble. Now it will use FreeWheel's Monetization and Revenue Management platform to expand access to its inventory.

"While our goal with Hearst Anyscreen is to leverage a Hearst-first approach, the reality is that creating a product that can both scale with quality and target audiences requires relationships with other publishers," said Noble.

Because of FreeWheel's direct relationship with publishers, the partnership will provide more transparency to the impressions marketers are buying and allow them to "augment" or change the objective of OTT campaigns.

"We can give [marketers] a greater level of detail into the inventory we deliver. This includes near-real-time transparency into how their campaign is shaping up so that they have the option of refocusing midstream, if they choose.

"Features like these and real-time forecasting allow for Hearst Anyscreen to manage marketers’ campaigns in a fashion more akin to the linear TV buys that OTT buys often accompany," said Noble.

Geoff Wolinetz, senior vice-president of client relationships at FreeWheel, said that keeping ad dollars in the TV ecosystem is of "paramount importance" to Comcast and FreeWheel. This deal will give FreeWheel access to Hearst Television's demand in local markets that sit both inside and outside of Comcast's national reach.

He added that FreeWheel is investing heavily in OTT, which is where the company serves most of its ad impressions.

Wolinetz said over the next 12 months, FreeWheel will have inventory for traditional digital, OTT, set-top box VOD and linear addressable "running through the same set of pipes" as the company aims to unify its measurement and cross-screen audience delivery capabilities.

"When we say unifying that's what we mean: How are we finding the right person for the right time and the right ad on the right platform," said Wolinetz.

Hearst Television and FreeWheel are both part of a consortium to standardize addressable TV advertising.

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