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With programmatic TV revolutionising the way inventory is bought, advanced TV is arguably the future of this industry. Will television remain the top media channel once it becomes more programmatically bought?

At The Drum’s inaugural Programmatic Punch APAC, we brought together some of the top players of the region from Telaria, Xandr and Mediacorp to battle it out.

What do we mean by advanced TV?

Advanced TV is the ability to be able to target either a household or an individual user on an IP connected device, whether that be a connected TV, a desktop, mobile or web in app, says Kevin Smyth, general manager of South East Asia at Telaria.

“We’re in an ecosystem now where we’re just seeing an absolute explosion of video content being streamed online whether that be from a broadcaster perspective or whether we’re seeing digital-first companies like the Disney+ of this world, the Hulu’s, whoever it might be.”

For Smyth and Jennifer Chase, head of digital sales and operations, Mediacorp it’s all about what can be done from a targeting perspective.

Smyth adds: “What you can do in an advanced TV world is deal with the really cool stuff and understand the true real-time requests that are coming through. You’re able to actually overlay data in terms of audience segments, understand the audience from device ID perspective and use content metadata.”

Taking that a step further, Chase expresses that for Mediacorp it’s also over-the-top (OTT): which underneath you have different devices like connected TV (your big screen smart TVs at home), in-app (which for Medicorp makes up about 70% of its inventory) and your desktop and mobile web.

“It’s also not all about on demand or catch up,” adds Chase. “We have a big audience that obviously consumes catch up, but there’s also a big audience consuming live content or streaming content. So, we put it in both buckets.”

Tokyo 2020 is creeping in and the brand/broadcaster opportunities are big

Broadcasters need to be able to provide long form content on every single device where the users are spending their time. TV is still huge in this market, says Chase.

Taking it from a micro-level perspective, Samuel Tan, senior director, JAPAC market development at Xandr says Tokyo 2020 will be critical for advanced TV. It will be the opportunity to tune in anywhere, any time of the day to that one sporting moment. “Just being able to tap into that moment in time, wherever you are. That’s incredible,” he explains. “You couldn’t really do that four years ago.”

This major sporting event creates a deadline and tangibility for both broadcasters and advertisers. Getting ready will be the next challenge.

Chase recollected the many hours currently being spent on what Mediacorp is doing for Tokyo. Mediacorp is the first media company in Southeast Asia to secure broadcast rights to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. “This for us is a prime opportunity where you see these huge audiences when it comes to live streaming.”

The event will be broadcast over 13 channels with multiple different sporting genres where viewers can watch live and see a focus on Asian athletes as well. “There’s a real diversity in terms of the content that we’ll be delivering,” she adds.

The big opportunity shows itself in how Mediacorp can help brands take full advantage of this and get in front of every single consumers screen. “We also think about some of the cool ad units or ad formats you can do when it comes to advanced TV. It’s not just about the pre-roll before you get in the stream, it’s about dynamic ad insertion and that’s key. That is something that we’re currently testing.”

Just take a look at what server-side ad insertion can do, says Smyth. “It can take that stream and manipulate it… using that technology to actually insert programmatic ads in real-time, making sure that we keep a user experience on point, helping with latency, helping from an advertiser perspective, so people can’t block the content.

“SSAI is really a major conversation of what publishers, broadcasters should be thinking of to execute their strategy in a broadcaster, programmatic environment.”
 
To conclude on this point, Chase adds that it’s also about other dynamic formats that are available that can intercept the user; like squeeze backs, split screens or ‘L-shapes’. “How can you make that dynamic where it’s both across TV as well as advanced TV, where the user is watching a sporting event and then you come in with that key message.”

Looking to the future

Considering what’s next, Tan believes there will be real advances in the way marketers can bring their own data and get access to inventory in the same way they expect from all the great things that programmatic brings.

“We laugh at video header bidding just because we knew it was going to be a contentious topic. But for Xandr, it’s really about making sure that brands can do exactly what they want to do in amazing premium environments to be able to deliver more of that dialogue to the content creators. It’s a tactic and starts to unlock that opportunity.

“It also solves a lot of really important problems for broadcasters. Think about back to backs, brand conflicts, frequency capping in these environments where it’s really hard to do that if you don’t have a technology like video header bidding to help you overcome these core challenges.”

For Telaria, header bidding is also on the agenda as they can facilitate it. But the challenges arise when starting to think about the user experience; like timeouts, latency etc.

“Video is already very heavy in its format,” says Smyth. “It’s not display. It’s not that easy to deliver an ad to a user in terms of the size and the file that’s already going over to that viewer in the first place. 

“To add header bidding into that can have some challenges for the next foreseeable six to 12 months. However, one advantage it does have is that it can consolidate audio versus programmatic.”

There is a conversation around header bidding, according to Smyth, but what needs to be seen is what it does to the end-user so that it doesn’t affect how they are consuming content and not having bad experiences. 

Telaria and Xandr were partners of The Drum Programmatic Punch APAC 2019. Register your interest for 2020 here.