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OTT Video Technology

Why the future of programmatic video is cross-platform

By Jonas Olsen, Vice president of video

December 2, 2019 | 4 min read

2019 was a strong year for video – with global viewership growing YoY by 7.2% across all digital video channels to 2.63B according to eMarketer. And with $37.5b pouring into digital video advertising (Zenith), it shows no signs of slowing.


Today header bidding capabilities in digital video – and in CTV especially – are nascent.

However as the format continues to steam ahead, there will be a marked change in the way we consume it. Viewer growth, engagement and ad spend on digital video on desktop and mobile apps are all expected to plateau in the next few years, as emerging formats like OTT and CTV gain a larger foothold.

With the proliferation of screens, devices, platforms, and methods of video content distribution (digital, linear, VOD, streaming apps) the options for how, what, where, and when to consume video content are vast.

As we see the choices for how we consume content grow and the gaps between where time spent with video content begins to close, the tasks of how publishers can effectively retain audiences and how advertisers can efficiently reach consumers become increasingly challenging.

But with challenges, as ever, comes opportunity.

For publishers, video header bidding is the next big win. Just as the introduction of header bidding to display brought huge publisher gains in monetization and workflow, we can expect to see the same for video. But programmatic video monetization has unique challenges vs display, especially as it pertains to video player errors and latency.

Today header bidding capabilities in digital video – and in CTV especially – are nascent. Server-to-server header bidding solves some of the video-specific latency, automation, control challenges, and will be central to a successful cross-platform video monetization strategy for pubs.

Successful partners are those who can provide the teams, tools and tech to help publishers capture the yield and revenue benefits of across all addressable digital video content: desktop, mobile web, mobile app, OTT and CTV.

Cross-platform video is an equally important opportunity for advertisers – providing access to premium audiences in brand-safe, publisher-direct omnichannel environments.

But key challenges exist:

Solving the issue of omnichannel identity in both cookie and cookieless environments

Creating addressable audiences across platforms and devices (omnichannel) requires a multiple pronged approaches. Today no-single solution exists for the open-internet. But a balanced approach incorporates both probabilistic and deterministic methods to solve for identity.

Cross-platform measurement standardization

The same challenges and questions around unified video measurements have persisted for years…How do we define what’s viewable? How do we measure attribution across platforms? As an industry, we need to agree on what to measure and how to measure across all platforms.

This includes a common set of metrics to compare the performance of video to linear, VOD, streaming video on apps, and a shared approach to measurement that is used consistently across vendors, platforms and independent third parties. The good news is Nielsen, Comscore and most recently the MRC has all proposed solutions for the measurement challenge, so we are seeing progress on the technology front.

With efficiency driving consolidation trends, buyers are looking to fewer platforms to better control omnichannel reach and scale and are increasingly favoring single solutions for a holistic audience and investment management.

Partners who can provide brands and agencies with data, transparency and pricing models to optimize video investments across the supply chain and drive efficiency and improve ROI, will stand to win.

Jonas Olsen is the vice president of video at PubMatic

OTT Video Technology

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