Better Together: the Ad Tech Revolution and the Need to Unify

Thomas Bremond Managing Director, International

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Connected TV World Summit at King’s Place in London. The event provided a wonderful opportunity to not only share our insights into the changing face of the television industry and advancements in ad tech, but also to learn from peers about the extent of this change, from virtualization, to rapidly evolving content strategies and much, much more. For me, it was an opportunity to keynote and take part in a panel discussion on the ad tech revolution, and how the premium video market can, and should, benefit from it rather than be swept away.

Panel at the Connected TV World Summit

Key to this is realising just how much the industry has changed in the past few years. Indeed, a degree of hazy nostalgia can easily envelop those willing to cast their eyes back to even the early 2000’s, where relationships were more clearly defined and broadcasters and operators knew exactly which part of the monetary pie would be served on their respective plates. Today this is no longer the case. The emergence of OTT service providers and the fragmented audiences resulting from the multi-screen revolution have split profits, and swamped the industry in complexity.

Despite the challenges faced by our industry, the panel did not descend into negativity. The future promised by multi-screen and OTT providers is an exciting one, and one which represents significant benefits, monetary and otherwise, for publishers, operators and end-users alike. In my talk I stressed just how the industry should go about capitalising on these benefits, and key to this is unification and unity. A strategy that allows for publishers to unify their inventory across multiple platforms, from known digital properties to emerging VOD or catch-up audiences, is critical to enhancing scale which then enables growth in the industry.

The panel, made up of myself and luminaries from the broadcasting, agency creative and operator sides of the industry, drew several conclusions from our discussion; one of which was that ad tech can no longer be ignored in the TV industry. Its benefits are too great, from more targeted campaigns to improved analytics, and its reach has grown too long.

Another learning, summarised by ITV’s Jon Block during the panel discussion, is the need for broadcasters and operators to be discerning when selecting an ad tech provider. Ad tech is not always straightforward, and broadcasters will want to be sure that they are partnering with a company who can simplify its intricacies, rather than using jargon to bamboozle players into parting with their money.

Indeed, TV players must forge relationships with ad tech companies whose goals align with their own, and unification must become a priority. Judging from the event, I would certainly say that the ad tech revolution is well underway, and those who choose to embrace it will not only see revolution in the industry, but an evolution in their business. Those who do not, risk being left behind.

Based in Paris, Thomas Bremond leads FreeWheel’s sales and marketing strategy, driving the company’s continued expansion across Europe.