Mondelez, True Digital, Publicis and PubMatic on how CTV can be boosted in APAC

According to eMarketer, digital video viewers in APAC are expected to exceed two billion in APAC in 2022, setting the stage for CTV spending to be a wise investment for marketers and publishers.

As marketers look to spend more in this channel, concerns about scale, transparency, and accountability are still issues that need to be addressed.

For the latest in a series from The Drum and PubMatic on the impact of auction packages on digital media, we asked a series of experts how new technologies and strategies can boost the CTV market.

What are the biggest challenges hindering CTV’s growth from your perspective?

Sachin Dsouza, Director of Programmatic Offer, APAC, Publicis Media

CTV’s audience is growing rapidly in the APAC region. With most marketers adopting an omnichannel strategy to reach consumers, and APAC being a mobile-dominated region, live TV and video are key channels to engage with audiences.

In addition to the larger OTT providers and broadcasters, as video content diversifies across an ever-growing set of channels, the ability to reach these mid-sized CTV/OTT publishers, thereby reaching that additional and unique audience, is critical. The challenge is to ensure addressability and transparency while increasing scale in this environment.

Vijay Kunduri, Regional Vice President, OTT/CTV, APAC, PubMatic

Consumers continue to embrace CTV across APAC, in part due to pandemic-induced consumer habits. That said, from an advertising perspective, CTV is still nascent for several reasons. These include the diverse nature of our region, in terms of CTV providers, languages, government legislation and devices used to consume content. Additionally, challenges such as a lack of audience verification standards, visibility and transparency have impeded CTV’s adoption and growth.

Anuj Dahiya, Global Digital Manager, Mondelez International

As we see constant shifts in consumer viewing habits from linear TV to CTV, there is no doubt that CTV will be the new dominant vertical in the months/year to come.

However, with every new platform or technology there are strings of challenges attached and similarly with CTV there are questions around: audience targeting for personalization (unlike digital advertising), cost premium attached versus regular digital video advertising and the corresponding ROI and measurement are still in the nascent stages of determining the impact on business KPIs.

David Alexander Sky, Director of Advertising Solutions, True Digital

Adoption of smart TV in Thailand has been slow, but there are promising growth trends for CTV. However, linear television is still king in this market. Cord-cutting trends are on the move, but there remain challenges delivering video campaigns at scale, especially once you start targeting particular profiles and data sets. CTV requires creative files of different video resolution compared to mobile, so it was difficult to convince agencies to create different versions for different devices.

Can auction packages help solve these problems?

Sachin Dsouza, Director of Programmatic Offer, APAC, Publicis Media

Auction packages allow us to have control and custody of the inventory we buy on the open exchange. Improved preservation as well as verifiability allow us to provide our customers with the assurance of buying quality at scale.

Vijay Kunduri, Regional Vice President, OTT/CTV, APAC, PubMatic

Yes, predefined and custom auction packages can help solve some of the transparency issues because they allow media buyers to determine what inventory settings they are comfortable with. Auction packages give advertisers the ultimate flexibility to secure premium inventory at scale, with less time spent on negotiation and troubleshooting. They also benefit publishers: they have full visibility into the buyers buying their inventory and enjoy greater control over their audiences, inventory, and data.

Anuj Dahiya, Global Digital Manager, Mondelez International

The auction package definitely brings more transparency and measurement to the entire ecosystem, allowing marketers to better understand their audience and the cost they need to invest to reach those who target the audience, in addition to eliminating waste and advertising fraud.

The auction package would offer a winning combination of audience and context-based buying involving data transparency to analyze video-on-demand inventory and impact optimization tactics. The shift of consumers from linear television to CTV also drives the need to shift from a content-driven to an audience-driven approach, which requires the ecosystem to be transparent.

David Alexander Sky, Director of Advertising Solutions, True Digital

Auction packages would be a great way to solve scaling issues and easily share premium inventory between DSPs. It would also allow easier access around event campaigns, for example Christmas and national holidays, and major sporting events.

What more can we do as an industry to support CTV’s growth?

Sachin Dsouza, Director of Programmatic Offer, APAC, Publicis Media

Supporting mid-size OTT/CTV publishers will be key to having a diverse inventory ecosystem, in addition to reaching engaged audiences in niche contexts and environments.

Vijay Kunduri, Regional Vice President, OTT/CTV, APAC, PubMatic

As budgets move to CTV, they mostly come from linear, so collectively we need to ensure that the CTV experience for consumers and media buyers is consistent with linear.

When consumers watch TV, they don’t differentiate between linear TV and CTV – they expect the same experience on both – which in most of Asia means sustained free content through advertising; the classic “commercial break”. It is therefore very important that CTV publishers invest in the right technology and work with the right partners so that consumers’ advertising experience is as good as, or even better than, on-line. Without the right technology partners, viewers might see ads dabbing and playing consecutively, which is a bad experience for everyone. But with the right technology, delivery can be as seamless as it is linear, and even better because ads can be more targeted and relevant.

Similarly, media buyers accustomed to buying linear ads expect a similar ad buying experience. This means agreeing on a common set of measurement standards and criteria comparable to linear measurement. And media buyers need better transparency about what they’re buying – on the shelf, media buyers know exactly what content they’re buying against, but that kind of transparency is often lacking on CTV, leading to reservations from brands. The transmission of content object data signals and the use of automatic content recognition technology will go a long way to solving this challenge.

Finally, some education is still needed on the benefits of programmatic for CTV. Most CTV is still bought directly rather than programmatically, but for the format to experience real growth, media buyers and publishers must begin to realize the benefits of efficiency and scale that programmatic technology can provide.

David Alexander Sky, Director of Advertising Solutions, True Digital

Collaboration between all market players – buyers, sellers and technology partners – to evolve CTV as an advertising medium. The more the market can come together and help each other understand the challenges on either side, the faster these can be overcome and transformation can proceed at a faster pace.

From our conversations with customers, CTV is still somewhat unknown, customers are just “dipping their toes” or making trial style purchases at this point and not buying consistently and confidently for the moment. A common question we get is “what is the call to action on a CTV ad?”. Perhaps in the future, we’ll start to see more post-campaign research on brand recall to help shoppers understand how effective their campaigns were and who engaged.

In particular, to convince TV buyers to shift their budgets to CTV, there has to be some sort of equivalent of GRP pricing and combined reach reporting in the market, which I believe comes from Nielsen.

Read the first article in the series to learn more about increasing the adoption of auction packages, as well as how it’s driving mobile marketing, in the second article in the series.

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