2019 APAC video trends: OTT, data activation, transparency

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This year has been a year of record growth for online video in Asia-Pacific (APAC), with overall digital ad spend in the region continuing to grow and become a significant contributor to global ad spend with 5 of the top markets for growth being in the region.

The key drivers of this continual growth were the boom in over-the-top (OTT) video services and connected TV (CTV) devices and the amount of video being streamed on mobile devices, an arena where APAC is a real market leader. As audience targeting improves, and better quality video ad experiences are being offered on connected devices, the spike in video ad spend is set to continue.

Here are our insights on what’s to come in 2019 in the Asia-Pacific region - including new offerings from OTT providers, new data activation technology and increased transparency efforts throughout the supply chain.

The rise of premium, digital, long-form video

Innovation in the TV space is really starting to fire up in Asia, with a steady stream of OTT services from broadcasters, telcos and other media owners hitting the market. Services like Malaysia’s Iflix, Singapore’s Hooq, Indonesia’s Oona, Hong Kong’s Viu, Vietnam’s VTC Now and options like Netflix’s lower-priced mobile only plan are just a few examples.

A true mobile-first region, Asia will see more OTT services focusing on mobile offerings, as well as the transition of SVOD (subscription video on demand) services to AVOD services (advertising-funded video on demand). This creates a new opportunity across the region and also challenges for existing broadcasters to innovate in order to compete and maintain audience share.

The good news? All this means huge growth in premium, brand-safe, long-form content for brands to run video ads against.

The improvement of ad experiences for consumers

Hot on the heels of video-on-demand services, is the uptake of live and linear programming in OTT environments. This growth opens up the opportunity for dynamic SSAI, the technology behind the move to dynamic, personalised ad serving in long-form content. It also represents exciting new personalised advertising opportunities for brands in 2019, as media owners use this technology to stitch pods of ads into long-form content to mimic the TV advertising experience.

The optimisation of video ad sales

As publishers come to understand the real drivers and needs for header bidding, a revolution in buying style will come to pass in 2019. Header bidding has become well established in display over the past 18 months as publishers worked out how to use it to maximise fill and yield. With quality solutions now tailored to the nuances of video ad delivery, it is expected to take off in the video space in 2019.

Buys that were traditionally based on a second-price auction will shift to the first-price auctions (the highest bidder pays their full bid price) of header bidding to ensure a more competitive bidding environment.

The drive behind this? First-price models offer an additional level of transparency that is attractive to buyers by introducing the concept of “you pay what you bid” and holding the seller accountable for charging the agreed upon price. Advertisers want to secure the best video placements on the best publisher sites, for the best price possible. Header bidding using first-priced auctions opens up the best inventory to all, by giving programmatic buyers the same priority as direct sold campaigns. This means the best inventory, which is often restricted in supply, can be accessed by everyone rather than locked away by direct sales.

The heightened focus on transparency

Brand safety concerns are not new in APAC, but the brand safety storm that hit the USA over the past few years is showing signs of migrating. In Japan, Yahoo was caught selling fraudulent ad placements in display on adult sites, and the market is heavily dependent on Google’s DFP. Asian brands have traditionally used ad networks and bought inventory blind. We will see further education and discussion in 2019 around transparency, viewability, fraud and brand safety as the issue becomes even more of a hot topic.

The evolution of data activation

Advertisers are gaining access to more data every day. But, while there is a wealth of data available, there have been long-standing challenges stalling its use.

A publisher’s audience is arguably its most valuable resource, but if the data that comes along with it isn’t leveraged, that value is decreased. With advances in cookie-less targeting for mobile and connected TV devices, all environments are available for personalised ad serving.

For CTV, advertisers should employ a similar strategy as linear TV – less restrictive in terms of execution length than mobile devices. In the near future, there will be increased buying and selling that mimics the way advertisers buy linear TV inventory, but with the ability to target the same consumer with cohesive messages as they access content across different screens.

With significantly more digital video advertising opportunities now available in APAC, and more ads being delivered to consumers than ever before, change in the advertising supply change is happening at a rapid pace. Advertisers and media owners alike need to be prepared to capitalise on the opportunities this represents in 2019.

Gavin Buxton, managing director, Asia Pacific, SpotX

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