1) What’s been the biggest surprise of 2015 so far?
At Videology we’ve been preaching convergence and advocating for an agnostic approach toward devices and screens, so while I’m not very surprised that advertisers are beginning to account for convergence in their planning, I have been surprised at how quickly advertisers have embraced it this past year. Convergence seems to be at the heart of every Tier 1 marketer’s strategy now, and that’s really been led by the explosion of mobile. It’s like mobile has had a coming out party of sorts just in the past eight to 10 months. Mobile proliferation and time spent with the device has made it a no-brainer to include in the video planning process.
The biggest surprise to me is the reluctance of the industry, as a whole, to move forward. There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of tackling some of the bigger issues continuing to bog us down, such as pricing models, measurement and a true TV fusion panel. Heading into 2015 I expected to see more collaboration on these topics to level the playing field for advertisers and media companies. I’m confident there will be more progress in early 2016 in this regard.
2) Over the past year, have you seen any attitude shifts from brands in regard to adopting cross-screen strategies?
There has absolutely been a shift in marketing practices to adopt converged strategies, and we’ve seen this shift primarily in the adoption of the idea that online video is a significant complementary vehicle to linear strategies for brands. And there’s been an increasingly new willingness to trust in Mobile and Data-Enabled Television (or Connected TV) as bona fide contributors to this strategy.
Digital spend surpassed linear TV spend ($3.5B vs $3.4B) in Canada almost a year ago now, and that gap will only continue to widen.
But TV isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially for brands looking for mass reach. We’re of the mind that digital video, in its current state, works very well with TV. In my opinion, you would be uncompetitive in today’s landscape to run only on Linear TV or online video, and agencies and top brands have proven that.
3) How would you compare the Canadian advertising landscape with the United States and other regions?
The Canadian advertising landscape, in many ways, is quite similar to that of our southern neighbour’s.For example, our share of mobile usage, our preference for ad lengths/sizes and even the type of content we consume.
However, in other ways, we’re vastly different, such as in our broadcasting landscape, population size and nationality diversity, regional density, and share of time spent with certain devices.
Canada has always been ranked among the highest in web consumption, and that’s only increasing. Digital spend has surpassed TV in Canada, whereas it’s likely a year away in the U.S. Netflix’s first international launch was in Canada, which is also its largest non-U.S. market, with about 30 percent penetration of broadband homes. Plus, there’s less competition in Canada. For example, there’s no Hulu, so when a company launches in Canada with the right offering, they can scale very quickly because of Canada’s unquenchable thirst for digital.
4) What questions are you asked most often by agencies as it relates to digital video?
We often get asked a very similar set of questions. Here they are (with answers):
Are you partner agnostic? Completely agnostic.
Can we activate PMPs through Videology? Yes, Videology has partnerships and has provided Private Marketplace access to possibly every Premium Publisher in Canada.
Can you come speak with our investment teams to introduce them to Videology and the world of Programmatic video? Always love speaking to investment teams in tandem with trading divisions.
What is the difference between Premium Reserved and RTB? Allocation vs. Auction. Auction (RTB) is and will likely always be a healthy part of our business, but our Optimal Allocation algorithm is at the heart of how we do what we do – solving for the allocation challenges facing the planned and reserved side of video advertising, which allows for scalable planning 12-18 months from now with pin-point accuracy.
What costing models do you accept in your DSP? We transact on all costing models.
Can we test your technology to see if it hits all of our KPIs and how you fare competitively? We welcome tests. We take great pride in the performance of our technology, proprietary tools and the grade of inventory we supply our clients.
When are you bringing data enabled TV to Canada? We will start seeing true DETV facilitation in 2016.
Do you have French scale? We have among the largest supply of French language and browser targeted supply.
5) What are the top challenges for the industry in Canada heading into 2016?
Roadblocks to Converged Planning: Media companies that restrict access to their platforms represent a step back for the industry because marketers have to continue to run campaigns and optimize in siloes. Approaches such as these resist the move toward the freedom to utilize any 3rd party resource you are comfortable with and marrying them to all elements of your buy, therefore limiting convergence.
Viewability Standards: Agency holding companies have brought forward varying standards on viewability and they’re not in-line with the IAB/MRC industry standards. When an industry can’t agree on the pricing models of viewability and when mediums aren’t held to the same standards, it goes against the apples-to-apples measurement that is ideal for convergence. We must all come together and develop a standard and drive towards it.
Data-Enabled TV: The promise of Data-Enabled TV (DETV) is upon us, but we believe there are still some hurdles the industry needs to clear for this to be done right, including a solution to measurement, the unique, risk averse Canadian broadcast landscape, and scale.
Seeing the progress that’s being made with DETV in the U.S. in 2015, I believe 2016 will be the year Canada will begin to make some major headway in that area. It’s going to be a game changer, and we’re ready for it. Videology was purpose built around the notion of converged video audience allocation and monetization across screens, which ultimately includes Linear TV.