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In the Race to Monetize, CTV Publishers Are Missing the Long-term Opportunity

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CTV is the hottest opportunity in advertising right now, to the point where it feels like a gold rush. The frenzy is real, as content providers and streaming apps race to open new doors for advertisers to access their inventory.

Everyone wants to make money fast when an opportunity is ripe. But when it comes to sustainable, optimized monetization, simply opening the programmatic flood gate isn’t enough. For CTV publishers looking to build a foundation for long-term success an intelligent, lean-forward approach to demand is necessary.

Fighting the Set-it and Forget-it Impulse

CTV publishers need turnkey liquidity solutions, which is why they turn to programmatic. While this can drive automated revenue, it raises questions about whether the revenue numbers are as great as they possibly can be.

Buyers are just learning that there is a difference between buying a CTV app programmatically and buying a CTV app using programmatic technology. The same is true for selling. Many CTV publishers do not leverage and optimize their tech stacks to deliver maximum returns on their inventory. They’re paying needless fees and deriving less value from inventory, resulting in an unsustainable approach.

As the CTV opportunity expands and matures, success comes down to improving the rates of return. Let’s take a look at what that really means. 

What Leaning Forward on CTV Monetization Looks Like

Publishers need to slow down and investigate opportunities to improve yield, if they want to maximize their CTV revenue. Step one is looking under the hood at how dollars flow between advertisers’ wallets and publishers’ pockets. Most publishers will find that the following steps could notably improve their rate of return:

1. Using programmatic pipes for direct sales: Programmatic doesn’t mean 100% relying on open exchanges. Programmatic delivery for direct buys bridges the gap between demand and supply partners and leads to a better understanding of what the buyer is looking to buy, flight dates, and budget. This helps the publisher forecast ad revenue and tightens the relationship, while the ads are still delivered via the same technology used for open exchange buys.

2. Taking control: SSPs can handle inventory monetization soup to nuts. However, publishers can pull several levers themselves to improve their monetization rates. CTV publishers often have their inventory scattered across multiple apps (stand-alone, syndicated via vMPVDs and OEMs) and on multiple operating systems. As a result, different types of audiences are accessing their content. Programmatic is a great tool for setting up multiple "placements" to represent inventory sources. No one can sell their inventory better than the publishers themselves, and SSPs should provide the tech tools to support that. 

3. Reducing the ad tech tax: Directly connecting with demand can reduce the ad tech tax incurred as dollars flow through programmatic pipes. This means pursuing private exchanges that directly connect publisher inventory to demand. The demand-side is working on supply path optimization in order to ensure that buyers have as few layers between advertiser and inventory as possible. Publishers that help facilitate that path are bound to succeed as well.

4. Providing data to demand partners: A clean demand path equips publishers with granular supply-side data and better measurement. In turn, brands can select the impressions that drive better outcomes for them and subsequently invest more deeply with the publisher. 

Advertiser interest in the CTV opportunity isn’t going anywhere. Even amid the frenzy of ad dollars, publishers are best served by outfitting themselves for sustainable growth. By playing a more active role in content monetization, CTV publishers can avoid the commoditization of their inventory and ensure their own futures. 

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from TheViewPoint. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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