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BB Blog: CTV: “It’s Just Modern, Better TV”

April 17 •
3 Minute Read

According to Peter Naylor, VP of Global Advertising Sales at Netflix, CTV is TV, “just modern and better TV.” Simply stated and simply put.

I love that.

I love it because for the past 25 years of building the video industry, I’ve seen so many people in the business make this so much more complicated than it has to be. Digital video was always TV, simply put. We, as an industry, have been “too cute” and made the business so much more complicated than it needs to be and in turn, inefficient and ineffective.

In the old days of TV, when the industry was led by the big three networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, an advertiser’s work to reach its audience was simple. Run their ads on these networks and see their registers ring. Ratings and share of that audience were the terms of trade and it was a very simple method of buying.

So easy and so simple.

[Insert Video Here]

Today, that same method of buying the new “modern and better TV” is a complicated and Byzantine process that begins with an ad server, runs through a DSP, an exchange and an SSP and has a verification company and attribution partner at its end. That is six checkpoints before the ad lands at the publisher! So what in the good ole days took one step, now takes six. And those six don’t account for a data source that often requires yet another step. With six or seven companies standing between the advertiser and publisher, no doubt you have a process wrought with inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

In addition to bots and fraud rampant throughout this process, you have a steep “tech tax” that the advertiser is forced to pay. All six or seven of these companies that stand between the advertiser and the publisher need to get paid and all of them point the fingers at one another when the fraud or bot traffic is challenged.

The very fact that the various verification companies have become billion dollar businesses tells you all you need to know. When DoubleVerify started in the business some 15-20 years ago the amount of advertising fraud was in the millions. Their promise to stamp out the fraud was a noble one and a cleaned up digital ad business would have benefited everyone, most especially the advertisers who fund it all. But what was happened is the opposite. Today the amount of ad fraud in the video industry is in the tens of billions and the verification companies like DoubleVerify are the primary beneficiaries!

“We need to blow open those black boxes”

A new day and a new opportunity is now here in CTV. What was the big three TV networks then (NBC, CBS and ABC) is CTV’s Elite Eight today: Netflix, AmazonPrime, YouTube, Peacock, Paramount+, Max (newly named from HBOMax), Disney+ and Hulu. These eight companies have a great deal to do with cleaning up the toxic mess that has plagued the video ad marketplace. These elite eight will act as a direct pipe between the advertiser and the publisher. They can, by themselves, eradicate the six to seven layers that exist in the current digital video ecosystem and bring a cleaner and much needed simplification to what has become a terrible mess for their paying sponsors.

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So when Peter Naylor says CTV is just TV, “but modern and better TV,” he’s absolutely right.

It’s really just that simple.