It’s no secret that connected TV devices have made huge gains in the U.S., with penetration at 60% of homes or more depending on the research source. But whereas these devices were initially used mainly for streaming Netflix and other ad-free SVOD services, evidence is building that viewers are also now using these devices to watch ad-supported video, in turn driving a huge expansion of ad inventory.
For example, Roku has been saying for a while that Netflix’s share of overall Roku users’ watch time has been steadily decreasing, with ad-supported channels gaining. And today, Beachfront Media, a video supply-side platform, said that it saw a huge jump in CTV ad requests to over 2 billion in Q3 ’17. Beachfront works mainly with mid-tail and long-tail video providers like WatchMojo, Newsy and Crunchyroll.
Beachfront’s CEO and founder Frank Sinton told me in a briefing that the company has seen completion rates of 97% and viewability of 100% on CTV inventory, the 2 main performance indicators buyers focus on. Measured CPMs are also 3 times higher on CTV than on mobile video and aren’t showing any signs of softening as CTV inventory continues to be in short supply relative to demand.
While CTV combines the best of the big screen experience with the best of digital targeting, Frank said it’s not yet clear to him which budgets CTV spending is coming from, TV or digital. However, he did say that anecdotally he’s hearing more and more interest in CTV and that 2018 is shaping up to be a strong growth year.
As streaming becomes more popular as a way to consume TV programming, Roku is increasing the number of homes in which its devices are used, according to a new report from Parks Associates.
In the first quarter, Roku’s leading share of the streaming media player market in the U.S. grew to 37% from 30% a year ago.
The gain puts Roku further ahead of competitors including Amazon, Google and Apple.
“Roku emerged early as a U.S. market leader for streaming media players, and the company has held firmly to that position,” said Glenn Hower, senior analyst at Parks Associates. “Higher-priced devices, such as the Apple TV, have not been able to keep up with low-priced and readily available Roku devices, which can be found at Walmart for as low as $29.99.”
Amazon’s Fire TV increased it share to 24% from 16% in the quarter. Google’s Chromecast dropped to 18% and Apple TV fell to 15%, according to Parks.
“One-third of U.S. broadband households own a streaming media player,” Hower said. “The growth of the U.S. OTT market provided consumers with unprecedented ease of access to video content. These streaming media devices make for quick and easy access to the top OTT libraries.”
The Parks report, Reinventing CE: Transforming Devices to Service Platforms, looks at how the CE industry has migrated from producing and distributing hardware to distributing OTT content and leveraging advertising models.
Two years after Roku starting working with Nielsen on audience measurement it’s become the first OTT platform to offer demographic guarantees based on Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. “It’s a huge mile marker for our industry,” Jim Lombard, Head of Advertising Sales, says in this interview today with Beet.TV during a break at the 2017 Transformation conference of the 4A’s.
The advancement of Roku’s video ad platform capabilities helps advertisers reach audiences on its 300-plus channels that are drifting away from linear television while using detailed demographic metrics comparable to linear TV. “It allows for advertisers to transact the same way as they would with measurements in the linear space in the OTT space,” says Lombard.
Two years ago, Roku announced that it was working with Nielsen on audience measurement deals. The next logical step was audience guarantees, particularly since they are becoming more popular with linear TV buys.
“Essentially, what we’ve done is Roku registration data is matched with a third-party vendor,” Lombard explains. “The metadata is passed through in the ad call, and then Nielsen uses their measurement tool to be able to verify age and demo against that ad call.”
One of the ways Roku has differentiated itself is that its technology enables its channel partners to do targeting, measurement and interactivity. The company also has its own sales team that sells and monetizes inventory across more than 300 channels.
It’s also the only platform that has both comScore and Nielsen, according to Lombard.
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