In this edition of ‘Sell-Side View’, we speak with Andrew Budkofsky, CRO at ad-supported streaming service Glewed TV. In this interview, Budkosky discusses how the CTV space looks like the early days of cable, which ad tech vendors are delivering most value, and why he doesn’t believe the death of third-party cookies will have too big of an impact on CTV.
What is the great challenge facing CTV publishers today?
I’ve just started at Glewed TV, but I’ve been working in the CTV space for about a year and a half. And then prior to that I have experience in both digital video and linear, so it’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the space.
It’s interesting that the challenges that face CTV publishers today are very similar to those we faced on cable back in the 1990s and 2000s. Back then you had 100 cable networks, so the question back then was how do you get heard and seen by the buying community. That same question is facing CTV publishers today.
Everybody has content, and everybody is trying to build an app to get it distributed. And they’re all calling advertisers to monetise it, or at least to get hooked up in the programmatic space. So that’s the biggest challenge for publishers: to monetise their content through distribution and/or advertising.
Which ad tech vendors are delivering the most value to your business?
For us the Xandrs and Yahoos of the world, as well as Groundswell, PubMatic, and Publica and big for us. The DSPs and the ad servers help us a lot in the programmatic space.
We’ve been around for six years, so we know everybody in the space. And we want to know everybody, even smaller companies have their niche, so we’re looking to be partnered with all sizes of companies.
If you could change one thing about the buy-side, what would it be?
I feel bad for the buy-side, because they’re getting bombarded with options, and they just don’t have the resources or the time just to evaluate them all properly.
For us at Glewed TV, we believe we have a really good value proposition, so it’s on us to get that message out there. But we just hope that people on the buy-side will take a minute to understand each proposition, and to understand the difference between each SSP.
Which content types and ad formats are working best for you today?
Sports is always important, especially as more states are legalising sports betting. So sports, lifestyle and entertainment are always big genres because they have the broadest interest from advertisers.
And we have some very unique ad products too – it’s very important for us to differentiate our offering. We’re always listening to what the marketplace is telling us in terms of concerns around fraud, frequency capping issues and competitive separation issues. So we’re coming up with new products to cater to what advertisers are after.
What is your company’s strongest USP?
We’re really strong on the technical side. We have a complete engagement with the CTV landscape, through a content lens. We view, support and coordinate content distribution, and ad monetisation, and we help content producers with distribution and monetisation. We also help advertisers with content. So we offer a straightforward way to engage with the CTV space.
Do you think the demise of the cookie and privacy will help or hinder CTV publishers? How will the industry adapt do you think?
I think there will always be some sort of targeting methodology on CTV. CTV is growing right now just because of the decline of linear, and general fragmentation of TV. So I don’t really think the cookie issue is affecting CTV that much right now.
Advertisers have to get their money down, they have video which they’ll be happy to push on linear or CTV – the cookie isn’t really a reason for investing more or less on TV.
Are you exploring revenue streams outside of advertising? Are they succeeding?
Outside of regular paid advertising, there are things like co-branded content creation, and brand integrations. So those are revenue streams outside of regular advertising.
But a lot of that stuff is a little further down the line, it doesn’t happen that much at the moment. Apple has done it with Ted Lasso, where you see a lot of Apple products, because why wouldn’t they? But I think we’ll be increasingly talking with brands about integrating them into shows, creating custom episodes, stuff like that.
Which platforms are working best for you in terms of distribution, engagement and revenue generation?
Xumo is doing really well for us, as is Fubo from a sports perspective, we love what they’re doing there. And Sinclair is doing some great stuff with Stadium and their Bally Sports products.
What does the future hold for CTV publishers?
The future is bright, there’s no doubt about that. Users are going to be exploring it more and more. Content is still king, from a publishing perspective people need content. And there’s going to be more advertisers coming into the space, so the monetisation opportunities will continue to grow. Plus subscription revenues will continue to grow.
So from a publishing perspective, I’m really excited about the future of CTV. It’s only going to get bigger, and there will be more creative opportunities for brands and publisher to work together. It’s going to be an exciting space to work in in the next few years.