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What’s stopping broadcasters from fully embracing programmatic ads?

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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

May 24, 2022 | 4 min read

The barriers preventing broadcaster adoption of programmatic ads are starting to come down, but there is still work to be done, says Magnite CTV managing director Ed Wale.

Even today, European broadcasters still haven’t fully embraced programmatic advertising, Wale tells The Drum. “Their heritage in linear means they want to enable programmatic on their own terms, but the appetite from the buy-side to transaction this way is clear, and we are seeing examples of broadcasters making their inventory available,” he says.

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Can broadcasters fully adopt programmatic?

As managing director of CTV EMEA for the global sell-side ad platform, Wale is “investing heavily” in breaking down the barriers to help broadcasters fully embrace programmatic.

So, what is holding broadcasters back from full-scale programmatic adoption?

Broadcasters are still bundling their BVOD inventory in with their linear and, as Wale explains, linear and programmatic aren’t typically compatible since linear is traded on an upfront guaranteed basis. This isn’t an issue with online FAST services that already trade with flexible programmatic ads. According to Wale, “enabling programmatic for the broadcasters is something we need to do in a way that suits the broadcasters.”

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Then there are the Clearcast rules that ads on broadcast must adhere to. Broadcasters must ensure that programmatically-inserted ads meet ad quality requirements set by Clearcast, which is harder to guarantee than manual trades. “We [Magnite] are trying to build high-quality tools so that when broadcasters take the plunge into programmatic we have incorporated solutions that can help them to adhere to the various regulations,” Wale says.

“Those barriers are starting to come down, but that hasn’t ruled out those challenges we need to get past,” he adds.

Next phase of CTV education?

Wale likened his early work in CTV to playing an “evangelism-type role.” He explains: “For many years there has been a lot of talk about the growth of CTV and changes in consumption habits, but we [EMEA] looked to the US market as the most advanced in cord-cutting, and for years we talked about how that is going to play out in Europe. We did a lot of work to evangelize the trend of audiences moving to CTV.”

Wale says now EMEA is catching up with the US, CTV education is moving into the next phase. Wale says the big question now is, “how can we increase investment in CTV and how can make sure the investments that are being made in that channel are as efficient as possible?”

Magnite’s current CTV agenda is to help brands understand what level of investment they should be putting in CTV. Wale references that 70% of European audiences are watching a hybrid of linear and digital, which he says, “puts brands and advertisers in a difficult spot to figure out what level of investment should they put in CTV and what audiences are present there and what audiences are still watching on linear.”

Magnite has put some of its early learnings into the IAB’s guide to CTV Targeting and Measurement, which it helped publish.

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