Why CTV Publishers are Exploring Audience Extension: Q&A with Publica’s Steph Miller

Tim Cross 24 October, 2022 

Earlier this month CTV advertising platform Publica appointed Steph Miller as its new commercial director for the EMEA region, part of the company’s international expansion. Miller joins from programmatic sales platform Adnami, where she was responsible for launching the UK office, and previously headed up sales and marketing services at UK real estate company Zoopla.

In this sponsored Q&A, Miller discusses Publica’s plans for expansion in EMEA, as well as her wider thoughts on the CTV market, and the growth of audience extension in CTV. 

You recently joined Publica as Commercial Director, EMEA. Why Publica, and what excited you about this CTV technology company and role?

Having worked on the publisher side for a number of years, I am acutely aware of how important it is for the sell side to be working with demand agnostic partners when it comes to programmatic monetization. 

After an extensive review of the CTV ad serving ecosystem, I believe Publica is uniquely placed to help TV manufacturers and streaming services to build the ad breaks that ad buyers will want to target, all while delivering a better consumer experience for their end viewers.

Very few technology companies in the CTV sector have the capability to be truly demand agnostic, and to be able to operate in the interests of the publisher independently of media execution. This is why I could not be more excited to be joining Publica, a market leading CTV ad server that enables streaming publishers to build ad pods that can offer TV ad buyers the same types of targeting and controls available within traditional linear, but with all of the additional targeting now supported by digital and the OpenRTB ecosystem.

In order for the addressable TV ad market to grow in line with analysts’ expectations and forecasts, I firmly believe that TV viewers need to be able to lean into streaming without their viewing experiences being disrupted by repetitive ads, spinning loading wheels and signs saying ‘we will be right back’. 

TV viewers and advertisers expect a premium and seamless viewing experience, Publica empowers CTV publishers to create these experiences at scale.

How do you expect CTV advertising to evolve in Europe in 2023

In Europe, CTV penetration is high in almost all markets, but these markets are highly fragmented and regulated by GDPR. For example, there are traditional broadcasters in each country that have deep rooted advertiser relationships but they find themselves now competing with the growing number of new SVOD, AVOD and FAST services for TV viewers attention. This is why we are now seeing more broadcasters invest in their own ad supported BVOD services to ensure they are distributing content in a way that TV audiences want to engage with it, on demand and free.

We are also starting to see more traditional broadcasters leaning into programmatic monetisation methods, to ensure they can capture new entrants to TV advertising from the social and digital sectors who have historically been absent from linear TV ad buys due to the upfront commitments required to enter, and a lack of ability to optimize in real time around their ROAS.

I personally think the next several years are going to be transformative for the way TV content is consumed in Europe, and the way advertisers increasingly engage with TV audiences. This change is going to be driven by consumer behaviours, data and programmatic technology bringing the advertiser demand required to support multiple ad supported streaming services at scale.

If 2022 is the year of CTV, 2023 will be the year of CTV app discovery by TV audiences, and this flight to free and low cost ad supported streaming is going to increase the volume of addressable TV inventory for programmatic advertisers to target exponentially in Europe!

Publica recently launched Publica Connect, which enables audience extension in CTV. How does audience extension work in CTV, and why are CTV publishers exploring it now?

CTV ad spend grew to $15.2 billion in 2021—a 57 percent increase from 2020 and is projected to expand another 39 percent in 2022—hitting $21.2 billion. According to the IAB 2021 Video Ad Spend and 2022 Outlook report, 76 percent of video buyers called CTV a “must-buy” in their media planning budgets .

This growing demand from traditional TV, social and digital advertisers to target streaming audiences has resulted in a lot of AVOD and FAST services facing challenges around inventory availability, due to their high fill and sell through rates. Many of the publishers we are working with have been trying to navigate audience extension strategies so we wanted to make this process as easy, transparent and secure for them as possible. That’s why Publica launched Platform Connect.

The managed platform connection within the Publica CTV Ad Server now enables streaming publishers to deploy audience extension strategies at scale and without the need for individual buyer and seller contracts. A streaming publisher working with Publica can now have a single contract to access many buyers, or become a buyer, and source scaled access to trusted sellers, all enabled seamlessly within the Publica UI.

Publica now serves over six billion ads on CTV every month, delivering quality ad experiences for global streaming publishers and smart TV manufacturers such as Philo, AMC, Hearst TV, MLB, Paramount, Fox, XUMO, and Samsung. Platform Connect will empower any publisher to become either a buyer or seller within the Publica ecosystem, enabling greater levels of accuracy around forecasting and audience segmentation for the curation of buy side programmatic deals.

Why is Publica expanding in EMEA and APAC? 

Publica was founded in Silicon Valley over six years ago and since then, has expanded beyond North America into Europe and was acquired by Integral Ad Science in 2021. Publica has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to building market leading CTV Ad Serving and SSAI capabilities, and helping the industry mature and come together to solve problems through industry-wide initiatives such as oRTB 2.6 and ads.cert 2.0 led by the IAB Tech Lab to build the protocols that support the secure growth of programmatic CTV advertising. 

Publica was awarded Best CTV Sell Side Platform in the 2021 Digiday Awards, and has been shortlisted in this years VideoWeek, Digiday, AdWeek, AdExchanger and Exchange Wire awards for the CTV Ad Serving technology we are building.

It is this industry wide recognition that has really raised the profile of Publica over the last several years and resulted in a lot more interest from global publishers in the CTV ad break decisioning technology we have been and continue to build.

More TV viewers today than ever before are proactively searching for low cost or free ad supported streaming services. This is why Publica is now expanding beyond its core market to support the rapid growth of AVOD and FAST publishers in EMEA and APAC, and their increasing needs for Ad Serving technology and SSAI solutions built from the ground up to support the complexities of CTV, and the associated volumes of end point requests generated by the scaled programmatic, and unified auctions they want to run.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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