Programmatic yet to find significant traction in advanced TV, Google finds

Google is at the center of an antitrust fight over how it controls YouTube inventory

Despite the rise in programmatic TV offerings, the majority of advanced TV ad impressions are transacted the old school way, according to Google.

In a report analyzing Google Ad Manager partner inventory, Google found that 67% of global advanced TV inventory is bought and sold through either direct sponsorships or traditional reservations, while only 16% of that media is transacted programmatically.

Google defines advanced TV as live, linear or on-demand TV content watched through an over-the-top (OTT) device.

In North America, 75% of advanced TV deals are done traditionally. On the flip side, the EMEA region saw the most programmatic activity at 42%, further dispelling concerns that Europe’s GDPR would eat into digital spend.

Programmatic direct deals represent 52% of all advanced TV impressions sold, with programmatic guaranteed deals accounting for 36% of that number.

Globally, programmers sell most of their advanced TV inventory through open auctions, at 41%. North American programmers go to the open auction the most at 56%.

Google and Facebook make up a digital duopoly of advertising that controls 60% of the market, according to eMarketer, and the search giant is building out its OTT presence too.

YouTube’s fastest growing medium is connected TV (CTV). Inventory from the Google-owned video platform, which has over two billion monthly users, can only be purchased from Google Ads and Google Display & Video 360.

Comcast is claiming antitrust violations, saying Google is limiting access to YouTube supply, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Comcast-owned FreeWheel is bolstering its product team, and Xandr and Roku have both recently made acquisitions to cement their programmatic video offerings.

Advanced TV consumption varies by device. Mobile phones were the most commonly used devices globally at 38%, while CTV only accounted for 19% of activity.

In North America, however, 33% of advanced TV ad requests came from CTVs, the highest mark in any region. Desktop reigned supreme in EMEA at 58%, while APAC and Latin America were decidedly mobile-first.

One thing potentially holding back programmatic advertising in advanced TV is the lack of show-level data programmers make available to advertisers.

In traditional linear TV, advertisers are used to directly buying specific shows. For example, a brand can go to NBC and buy This Is Us. In streaming environments, that’s not the case for programmatic buyers. Depending on programmer, advertisers can see genre, channel or app information, but advertisers can’t buy specific shows programmatically.

Google said its data shows that advertisers place significant value on contextual information, meaning it’s important for programmers to make as much data available for programmatic buyers.

Google said that in 2020 it will allow TV programmers to pass a standardized signal for genre, duration, and content rating through its platform, allowing advertisers more easily plan their campaigns.

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