Introducing OTT Smart Auction, bringing longform video monetization to the modern age

Introducing OTT Smart Auction - longform video monetization

Verizon Media is excited to announce the release of OTT Smart Auction, a server-to-server integration that introduces header bidding-like capabilities for long-form OTT video publishers.

Video consumption on OTT and CTV devices has been growing, even before the Covid-19 pandemic pushed this trend into overdrive. While growth isn’t just limited to subscription video on demand (SVOD) providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+, the dizzying increase in SVOD options has slowed the rate of new subscribers as we reach the ceiling of what consumers are willing to pay for these services each month.1

average streaming spend per month

This has opened up opportunities for the ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) market, and the growth of AVOD service providers like Pluto.tv and Xumo, or broadcaster direct offerings like Disney’s Freeform channel or NBCU’s Peacock service, is projected to increase dramatically. Pre-pandemic, AVOD revenues were projected to triple between 2018 and 2024 2, and the increase in media consumption in 2020 alone could push that growth even further.

ad supported vod

While viewers have quickly become hooked on the quality and ubiquity of these services, the advertising user experience remains frustratingly rudimentary. Poor fill rates, repetitive ads, latency, and inconsistent ad quality are common issues. Most importantly for publishers, yield optimization remains a work in progress, limited by the inefficiencies of the ad waterfall. 

Longform video needs are unique

The streaming and monetization needs of AVOD services and publishers that run long-form video are distinct and unique, especially compared to the needs of web publishers who mainly focus on short-form, pre-roll monetized video clips.

  • Upfronts are a big deal Upfronts, the period of “up front” reservation of ad buys for upcoming television seasons, represent a significant percentage of broadcast and cable networks’ available inventory 3. Total upfront ad revenues were about $21B in 2019, with about 20-25% of that sold digitally 4. This means the percentage of “open” inventory that advertisers typically see with short-form video publishers is more limited. It also means any monetization solution needs to be able to properly balance and prioritize the demand coming from different channels.
  • Preroll doesn’t translate to longform video Replicating the venerated TV commercial break experience in OTT means an SSP needs to support advanced midroll capabilities, including support for ad pods, handling competitive separation rules, respecting frequency caps, avoiding repetitive ads, supporting house ads as fallback, and integrating with a publisher’s SSAI partner to enable seamless ad delivery with minimal latency. This process is exponentially more challenging when supporting live video streams, and very few technology platforms are adept at this.

OTT Smart Auction modernizes long-form video monetization

Programmatic publishers are intimately familiar with header bidding and the positive impact running real-time, unified auction has on yield, regardless of ad format or channel.

OTT Smart Auction takes that real-time, unified auction mechanic and tailors it to the needs of long-form OTT video publishers. Verizon Media helps long-form content providers optimize yield by:

  • Being compatible with a publisher’s existing ad server, ensuring bids into our container can compete with reserved demand, as well as bids that are sent directly to the ad server
  • Offering built-in support for midrolls and ad pods, including competitive separation, deduplication, frequency capping, and more
  • Allowing publishers to easily access unique demand from the Verizon Media DSP and SSP, as well as the 120+ demand partners already integrated with Prebid

Bringing OTT Smart Auction to your business

We understand the needs of large-scale video publishers better than anyone in the market. Verizon Media is the only end-to-end solution for integrated video services, from streaming, delivery, and security, to monetization. In addition to powering our owned and operated properties like Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports, we’re also a mobile home for live NFL games. OTT Smart Auction represents our solution for delivering smarter, better, more effective ad solutions to premium long-form video providers.

OTT Smart Auction is also the first ad monetization product integrated with Verizon Media Platform’s Smartplay Prebid solution. Verizon Media Smartplay Prebid is a server-side integration that exposes inventory and conducts auctions faster with more demand partners using the Prebid open-source framework. Media Platform Streaming customers can work with us to integrate our container with their ad server to start increasing their fill and yield today.

If you’re interested in learning more about OTT Smart Auction, contact us!

1 https://content-na1.emarketer.com/us-subscription-video-landscape-2020
2 https://www.multichannel.com/news/global-avod-revenue-to-reach-56-billion-by-2024 (Digital TV Research, Nov 2018)
3 https://digiday.com/marketing/upfrontses-wtf-upfronts/
4 https://www.emarketer.com/forecasts/5adfa0e5a2835e0998ae936a/5adfa022a2835e0998ae9367

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