Adtech Brand Strategy Future of TV

As the TV content boom fosters ‘decision paralysis,’ Samsung thinks big ads can help

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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

July 27, 2022 | 5 min read

An explosion in ad-funded streamers (AVOD) is driving the “decision paralysis” of TV viewers. As a result, Samsung Ads’s director of product marketing thinks it’s time for recommendation ads to step in and ensure discovery on its own platform Samsung TV Plus.

Samsung TV

Samsung smart TVs feature a masthead for content recommendations that can be sponsored by advertisers

The ad-funded ecosystem has been growing exponentially, with services such as Pluto TV, Tubi and Xumo making in-roads in the market – so much so that its execs think viewers need ads to help them find the best, most relevant content. Streaming services are invited to buy up prominent spots in the customer experience (CX) to better push eyeballs to their services and shows on Samsung TV Plus.

A Now survey showed that 49% of UK audiences spent so long looking for content they didn’t watch anything, making discoverability a “big issue” for advertisers fighting for attention. Meanwhile, according to research by Ipsos, 75% of viewers look to their smart TVs to help them with discoverability and recommendations. Based on the insight that “infinite options” will “overwhelm” viewers, Samsung has prioritized discoverability in its latest homepage redesign.

“We are preparing for this boom in more ad-funded apps coming, so this area is becoming more crowded,” says Minai Bui, Samsung Ads’s director of product marketing. “How do we help both advertisers as well as consumers find the right content or find the right consumers to watch that content?”

Bui oversees the product marketing teams in Europe and APAC, having risen through the ranks as a planner at Zenith Media and Mediaedge before an 11-year stint at Google. In her current role, she’s ushering in the new range of Samsung smart TVs, which feature a masthead for content recommendations that can be sponsored by advertisers. “It’s great that the ad experience can now blur into the discoverability experience,” Bui says.

The new format is more prominent and has access to more data to target users, Bui says. Because of the ad’s prominence, “we want to respect that consumer experience and so we are more protective over who we put on there, so we don’t damage the consumer experience.” So the placements “feel a lot more native,” according to Bui.

Going forward, when Samsung “thinks about how to build products, both the UI and the way it makes ad products will be focused around discoverability,” she says. Bui hints that there are more product developments that seek to solve the “choice paradox” coming down the line.

Samsung TV Plus has content deals with properties including American Idol, Hell’s Kitchen and Planet Runway. “We are spending a lot of time and resources really investing in building out our owned and operated channels,” Bui says.

It’s becoming increasingly important to have ownership of the content, she adds. “Having a strong footprint and our own ad-supported service, and owning our own TV operating system. That gives us end-to-end visibility into what is happening on that screen.”

It’s a shift she is seeing across the marketplace, from Roku to Rakuten, as devices and manufacturers can provide a “holistic view ... in a world where there is more fragmentation, and agencies and advertisers are finding it hard to understand what is happening across these different channels.”

Bui did quash the notion that Samsung would be following the likes of Roku by pushing into original content. “Producing your own content is really different to acquiring content – it takes a different shift and focus in terms of company resource and skillset.”

Adtech Brand Strategy Future of TV

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