The whole online video ecosystem is changing, but the biggest changes are from CTV and AI: connected TV and artificial intelligence. In a pair of panels at today’s TV of Tomorrow conference in New York City, advertising insiders looked at how both CTV and AI will shape the future.
Younger people were the first to move to over-the-top (OTT) TV delivery and now older viewers are following suit, noted Adam Lowy, director of advanced TV and digital sales for Dish and Sling TV. The number of households with 2 TVs or fewer is growing. And while online viewing is seeing an increase, most is coming from CTV viewing. The rise in mobile might be getting more attention, but CTV is seeing a lot more action.
Advertisers are happy to see CTV succeed, since there’s no worrying about viewability or completion rates. Completions are just about 100 percent, Lowy said, and they’re about 100 percent in-view, as well.
Mobile viewing has plateaued, echoed Andre Swanston, CEO of Tru Optik. Poor distribution gets some of the blame as major networks still don’t have apps for all platforms. He also noted that churn for SVODs has decreased drastically. While consumers were interested in sampling the various SVODs when the services were new, people today have largely settled into patterns and stick with their choices. Nowadays, most SVOD growth comes on ad-supported channels. That’s a plus for advertisers eager to reach addressable CTV viewers. But, as Swanston noted, the increase in ad-supported viewing is largely because ad-free Netflix is already so dominant in the U.S. that it has nowhere left to grow.
Reach and frequency are still the metrics CTV advertisers care about most, Swanston said, although bigger brands do a lot of work validating return on investment (ROI). One hurdle for programmatic CTV advertising is that devices are often mislabeled, he added. While advertisers pay extra to reach viewers on certain platforms or devices, they don’t always get what they’re paying for.
On the conference’s next panel, Lysa Banks, head of technical and engineering strategy for IBM Watson Media, explained why the use of AI is suddenly exploding: Hardware has finally caught up to the requirements of AI, and the software is now easy enough for anyone. Suddenly, it’s possible to use AI without being an AI expert.
The explosion of big data is helping push AI along, noted Ryan Reed, director of innovation, TV and video, for Lotame. There’s simply too much data for anyone to sift through. “You have to use machine learning to make sense of it,” he said.