03/16/23: First Look: OTT Virtual Conference 2023 Executive Summary

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Thursday March 16, 2023


Executive Summary
By Charlotte Dulany, Event Content Manager, Cynopsis

Cynopsis’ First Look: OTT Virtual Conference 2023 on March 15, 2023, brought together top players in the CTV and OTT space to unpack the challenges and opportunities facing this fast-moving sector so that media professionals are best positioned for success both this year and into 2024.

With quick-paced sessions and smart speakers, Cynopsis’ first virtual conference of the year was a success, judging by our engaged and enthusiastic audience. What follows below is our front-row recap of the succinct presentations, surprising opinions, and key takeaways from First Look: OTT Virtual Conference 2023. Enjoy!

Sponsored by iSpot.tv, Premion and Spectrum Reach.

CTV: What’s in store for 2023?

Erin Firneno, VP of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, opened the afternoon with a research presentation on CTV as buyers and sellers are facing waves of economic volatility. Key findings included:
· CTV is a common destination for reallocated ad budgets – and advertising works. According to Advertiser Perceptions, three in 10 advertisers expect their 2023 budget will be greater than in 2022 – and 48% of advertisers who increased their ad budgets also increased market share.
· The challenges that remain concern the need for improved CTV attribution models, audience targeting and alternate currencies. Also: advertisers are most interested in exclusive ad slots, and nearly half of advertisers have purchased innovative CTV ad formats in the past year.

Insights for Delivering Full Funnel Results in a Multiscreen TV Universe

“TV has never been better.” That’s how Marci Cohen, VP of market research and insights at Spectrum Reach, began her presentation on the full-funnel impact that multiscreen campaigns are having on brands today. While TV has been an effective platform for delivering top-of-the-funnel awareness, by utilizing reach, content and engagement, Cohen said “[the] multiscreen does more now.” With more reach comes more opportunities, providing new information and intention. By delivering on attributes previously exclusive to digital, at-scale data, targeting and measurement have made streaming a worldwide phenomenon. “Winning campaigns use linear and streaming TV – and linear remains foundational to media plans and buys,” Cohen said.

Pre-pandemic programmatic was half of today’s CTV spend – currently at an estimated $26 billion for 2023 – while this year nearly 75% of CTV will be transacted programmatically. This is according to IAB’s VP of Media Center Eric John, who moderated a session with experts from Spectrum Reach, Magnite and GroupM. Jackie Perez, Director, Business Development, Programmatic at Spectrum Reach said, “It’s an exciting time to be in CTV right now because the spotlight on it is bright hot.”

Programmatic in CTV is about the controlled use of automation, unlike programmatic in display; CTV programmatic is more controlled and private marketplace based, and with growth in viewership, brands are looking for a more TV-like buying experience through data and integrations.

In a live poll during the session that asked what audiences think are the key drivers of programmatic transactions in CTV, 46% said “Enable cross-platform buying,” 29% said “Optimize and measure campaigns,” 19% said “Multiple data targeting types” and 6% said “Manage brand safety and fit.”

How Advertisers are Refining Strategies to Meet Today’s Converged TV Viewer

In 2023, adults in the US are expected to spend four hours and 44 minutes per day watching television – and nearly 40% of that will be via streaming. Such huge numbers are one reason that Justin Gutschmidt, head of national sales at Premion, calls CTV “an essential buy.”

It starts with a converged strategy. As agencies refine their plans to reach and measure CTV audience attention, new elements of importance are starting to emerge, including fraud prevention and data-driven targeting, with a dedication to inspection. As Gutschmidt commented, “Not all impressions are created equal.”

Ad Fraud, Brand Safety & Measurement: What CTV Advertisers Need to Know in 2023

Getting ad dollars to work for you pushes the industry forward in ad-supported streaming. And under budget scrutiny, the use of performance-based media plans and measurability, as well as the data-driven capabilities of CTV for brand awareness and outcome-based marketing goals, is more important than ever.

One trend that Jon Stewart, SVP of customer success and analytics at Upwave, has noticed is the new shapes and sizes of CTV that have been emerging. “Now we’re seeing CTV-only buys, niche buys, smaller buys, and so forth,” Stewart said. Kristine Lopez, head of media product at Human Security, agreed that it’s about bringing transparency to CTV. She said, “There is so much growth in CTV, and ad tech, broadly, is just now gearing up to support the huge growth of eyeballs and accompanying ad dollars.”

Gutschmidt called the advancement in CTV “an unbelievable ride of growth that’s continuing to head in the right direction. I’m not sure there’s ever been a ‘normal year” in the evolution of CTV.”

The Importance of Person-level in CTV Measurement

Accurate data and person-level measurement are critical to fully measure impact. Stuart Schwartzapfel, SVP of media partnerships at iSpot.tv., warned that data inaccuracy can result in missed opportunities in reaching target audiences, making person-level measurement even more critical. According to Schwartzapfel, focusing on the household alone only represents half the picture. “Who is watching is just as important as how many are watching,” he said. Understanding how many people have been exposed to a message is equal in value to personifying the message itself, as household demographics establish audience characteristics.

Solving CTV’s Continuous Play Problem with In-Market Verification

GroupM and iSpot partnered in June 2022 to establish a new standard of continuous play, which Mike Fisher, executive director of investment innovation at GroupM, called “a challenge that is not necessarily new to people in the TV space, but has been a challenge that has been difficult to measure in the past.” The issue – when impressions are delivered and which device type was used – is one that GroupM believes the industry wants to solve together. He added, “If you’re buying the right way, connected TV is a very safe way to buy media.”

Principal of Pre-Meditated Media Gerard Broussard joined Fisher for a round of questions, including:
· Studies show that the issue of continuous tuning is most pervasive in homes with sticks and boxes, rather than straight-up apps going up on the stream. What is the split between connected devices and pure apps?
It’s around 50/50, with a swing of about 5-10%, dependent on content.
· What’s your point of view on the functionality and utility of panels versus big data?
We don’t believe that either one as a standalone solution will capture the opportunity that is currently available in our marketplace, both from a measurement outcomes perspective and from redefining what a modern media cross-screen currency can look like.

Case study with Canela Media & McDonald’s

Authenticity and audience engagement go hand-in-hand. For Evan Moody, VP and account lead at Canvas Worldwide, the most important components of this are listening – to both the consumer and content creators – and speaking up as a voice within a community. He said, “To put your brand on the line and behind something that you believe in is the only way to connect with your consumers authentically.”

McDonald’s was the launch partner of Canela Music’s original series “Rising Notes,” featuring a new generation of Latinx artists. Moderator Oswald Mendez, Canela Media CMO, described the case study as one that “has done something right by these artists who are trying to find their way in our world.” Marrying culture and commerce to enable purpose and profit, the series has reached Hispanic audiences and established relevant connections with the 18-24 year-old Latinx audience, giving new meaning to the term “connected TV.”

Cynopsis Team

Lynn Leahey
Editorial Director

Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Robbie Caploe
VP/Group Publisher

Executive Director of Sales
Albert Nassour
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
John Cox


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