Working Together to Drive Premium Video Programmatic Trading at Scale

Emmanuel Josserand Brand, Agency and Industry Relations

In a recent position paper entitled Cracking the Programmatic Conundrum, the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video, Europe (FWCE) detailed three successful strategic approaches that are being taken by premium video providers to integrate programmatic trading: grow local markets, manage inventory more effectively and boost the overall value of the market.

The adoption of programmatic trading in premium video environments has been slower than in other media channels. There are a number of reasons that have led premium players to adopt a cautious attitude before embracing these automated solutions.

Too often industry players have been looking to adapt some tools designed for programmatic display to work for premium video. But these programmatic buying practices have limitations and cannot simply be mapped to live TV or video on demand. Premium video’s nuances need to be taken into consideration.

Here are the five key characteristics that make TV broadcasters and operators’ premium video offerings unique:

  1. Content is largely made of long-form video and also includes live events and simulcast channels
  2. They have strict and very high standards when it comes to user experience
  3. Operations are planned early in advance, together with robust control over their supply/demand relationships
  4. They manage an extensive and complex footprint of endpoints [including OTT devices, Set-Top-Boxes (STBs), IPTV] as well as complex creative management processes.
  5. Rich first-party data

Through their high-value content and highly curated content and ad experiences, premium video publishers have created a unique and engaging environment for their advertiser clients. Viewers watch an appropriate number of ads, frequency capped to avoid frustrating repetition, contextualised and, where addressable allows, with increased relevance.

The programmatic opportunity and expectation for buy-side partners like Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) should therefore not be one of cheaper access to premium inventory but one of much higher performance for brands and their agencies’ advertising goals.

When executed well, premium video delivers impactful campaigns through access to desirable, engaged audiences. From data, creative compliance, measurement, pacing and reporting, live streaming, programmatic guaranteed, and more… DSPs partners will deliver on their advertisers’ needs more effectively by using premium video audiences as a central part of their portfolio to reach the most valuable viewers in the most impactful environments.

Programmatic systems are getting more efficient, but they are still imperfect which leads to restricted access to premium inventory. For instance, the ability to maintain live-stream user experience and manage large campaign spikes around sports events creates challenges to manage concurrent users and maintain campaign delivery goals. Other examples include the need to support multi-bids to compensate for advertiser vertical clash management or the lack of sophistication in measuring TV environments and avoiding misinterpreting premium as invalid traffic (IVT).

There is a need for all parties from the sell-side and the buy-side to more closely work together, lay the appropriate groundwork and make investments in infrastructure and standards to align the value chain. With commitment from those monetizing premium videos, we can simplify the trading processes, improve efficiencies and unlock the delivery of premium campaigns.

FreeWheel is committed to working with all industry stakeholders to make this happen: let us know how we can help.

To get in touch with the FreeWheel Council, email