Connected TV: Opportunities and Challenges

Today we announced a series of partnerships to bolster Beeswax’s abilities in the Connected TV (“CTV”) space. Beeswax customers have been buying CTV inventory for over a year, and we’ve seen increasing liquidity and inventory over that time. I want to step back from the hype a bit and talk about where this activity is coming from, along with the challenges that remain.

As an advertiser, it is easy to get excited about the CTV opportunity. After all, this is a medium that has all the attributes of traditional linear television — lean back, living-room viewing, sight, sound and motion — along with programmatic buying technologies. But there’s more pushing this than just the opportunity.

Marketers face a very real threat in the form of rapidly shrinking traditional TV audiences, especially among younger cohorts.

(Source: Nielsen Total Audience Report, Q1 2018)

So for brands hoping to reach these disappearing young audiences, CTV is not just an opportunity, it is an absolute necessity.

That said, the operational challenges of CTV are significant, and may take the industry some time to fix. Here’s a quick overview of those challenges along with how Beeswax helps reduce their impact:

  • Lack of Inventory: Some of the most popular CTV apps (e.g. Netflix) don’t run ads, while others don’t yet fully embrace programmatic. Beeswax works with our customers to get access to the premium inventory through PMPs.
  • Lack of Data: The data availability from CTV apps varies a great deal, and the traditional data exchanges haven’t mapped their segments to this new environment. This is why we’re excited about our relationship with Tru-Optik, which helps overcome this challenge.
  • Targeting Shows vs Networks: For long-form content that contains ads, buyers want to be able to buy shows in the same way they do on TV. Most programmatic channels still don’t offer this data, or do so in non-standard ways. Beeswax is working with our supply partners to make this accessible. In the meantime, our commitment to transparency means our customers get all the raw data we do and can understand the inventory they are buying.
  • Integrations: For media companies looking to unify their workflow across CTV, TV, and other programmatic video, Beeswax is enabling seamless order entry between systems to reduce workflow and errors.
  • Costs: CTV inventory is expensive, with good reason. But using a typical DSP, with 10-20% take rates, to buy this inventory makes no sense. Beeswax’s flat priced BaaS system can save buyers millions of dollars annually.

Looking forward, 2019 should be a great year for CTV growth and maturity as the business becomes large enough to solve many of the issues holding it back. We’re happy to be investing in this area on behalf of our customers, and please feel free to reach out with your own opinions and ideas.