"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Nola Solomon, vice president, global programmatic and strategic partnerships, at Dailymotion.
When connected TV (CTV) first came to the fore, brands typically drew from their discretionary test-and-learn budgets or they’d steal from established buckets, such as linear TV or their digital and programmatic budgets.
CTV is scaling and maturing to a point where it now really deserves its own line item on CMO budgets. And publishers have a huge opportunity to play an influential role in getting brands to invest in CTV in a more meaningful way.
If you build it, they will come.
However, that does not mean to run in with guns blazing. Instead, publishers must apply the same strategic, methodical approach they would take with any new business line and build a holistic plan. This includes researching the right markets, identifying the right over-the-top (OTT) platforms and investing in OTT app development.
When deciding to focus on specific markets, , publishers must do their due diligence. It is important to remember not only where the majority of their audiences are located, but also which markets have the best inventory. These factors do not always overlap.
EMarketer predicts that by 2021 there will be more than 200 million connected TV users in the United States. But a global publisher must keep in mind that, outside of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and France, among others, are also quickly growing markets.
After identifying focus markets, the next step is to understand which OTT platforms, within those markets, are being used to consume content. Different OTT platforms have a different share of voice in each market. For example, Roku has 37% of the US market but is less relevant abroad at the moment, with only 8% share in EMEA. Google Chromecast is the dominant over-the-top device in EMEA with 37% adoption among developers, while Apple TV is the second most popular device with developers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with 27% adoption.
Determining which platform is dominant in the chosen market serves a two-pronged purpose. First, it indicates the location of the existing audience, and second, it provides a good overview of the general population, which will help in gaining new audiences.
Once the markets and platforms have been identified, the next step is to invest in the OTT app development.
Investment and expertise requirements
Creating apps that are customized to each OTT platform will showcase the content in the most attractive and engaging way. Remember, user experience is everything and maintaining unique brand synergy across all devices is very important.
Building to multiple platforms while maintaining custom requirements will require multiple layers of engineering and developer talent. Publishers should not skimp on this. Trying to be a major player in CTV with a skeleton crew is a fool’s errand.
When assembling a technical team it will be important to decide whether to keep it in-house or to outsource the development to a third party, such as a freelancer or company that specializes in OTT app development. Since most platforms are unique, nearly every platform should be treated as a custom initiative. There are some instances where multiple platforms are built on the same OS – for example, Android’s OS – but custom work is still needed to create the right viewing experience within the publisher app to match the experience of the platform.
Beyond the technical talent and expertise, a dedicated product management team – or, at least, a product manager – is critical to ensure that there is a perpetual push to evolve the product and grow scale and revenue. There are still many elements to consider even after the app is built and lives in the platform’s app store.
For example, should a publisher offer its entire back catalog or library of content, or should the content available on OTT be curated? What is the content development and user acquisition and retention strategy? It may or may not differ from the company’s existing overall strategy. This remit should not be tacked onto an existing product management team as CTV is incredibly specialized and should be considered a business unit in and of itself.
Lastly, every publisher should dedicate analytics and data science teams to track audience engagement and reaction to content. They should get the right data to perform A/B testing and try different things. Remember that targeting for CTV is focused on the household, as with traditional TV, but is slowly moving toward the granularity that is common in digital advertising.
Change can be daunting, but it can also be exciting and rewarding. The CTV revolution is in full force and publishers can no longer take a wait-and-see attitude. They must act now.