Video Essentials

Solving the Technical Challenges in CTV and OTT Ad Delivery

Knowing that she works with digital video ads, the friends and family of Lexie Pike (product marketing manager for Brightcove) have one question for her: Why do we keep seeing the same ad over and over again? While ad tech execs talk about standards, targeted delivery mechanisms, and high-level technical challenges, viewers are more preoccupied with common problems.

Technical Challenges

Lexie Pike of Brightcove and Craig Berlingo of Telaria

Viewers still see the same ads in each ad break when streaming shows, and it drives them crazy. The problem has been around for years, so why isn’t it solved?

Pike spoke at todays Video Advertising Summit in New York City, hosted by the IAB Tech Lab. Fellow panelist Craig Berlingo, vice president of product for Telaria, also addressed the problem of ad repetition.

“if you see the same ad three times in a row, that’s a really bad experience,” Berlingo said. That and other issues like pixelated video and ads that are too loud keep viewers from returning to a platform.

The problem sits somewhere between business rules and consumer expectations. Ad networks have 90-seconds or so to fill, and need to follow a variety of requirements when doing so. For one, brands are concerned with brand safety, and don’t want to run next to their competitors. “The very first thing we try to do with our publishers is understand what’s important,” Berlingo said.

Filling an ad pod becomes more complicated when multiple ad servers contribute to the same pod. Telaria launched an ad server last year, after starting out with programmatic sales, and knows that publishers often work with multiple ad networks. These networks pass a lot of information back and forth to keep all parties informed about the brands and verticals being served, and the rules governing each pod.

The IAB Tech Lab released guidelines for IFA (identifier for advertising) for OTT platforms, including connected TV, in April, and Berlingo sees a lot of promise in that. Early CTV platforms had either differing viewer identifiers or none at all, leaving advertisers unsure who they were delivering to.

It’s still early days for IFA, and CTV won’t provide a one-to-one match like mobile devices do. Still, that’s part of the value of television viewing—the fact that families and groups watch together. As advertisers work to solve their various technical challenges, Berlingo wants to make sure they maintain that fundamental value of TV viewing.

“We really have the toolset to start communicating between all these different platforms, to communicate the opportunity to the advertiser,” Berlingo said.


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