Commentary

Advertising On OTT: Digital Or TV? Maybe Both

Plenty of advertising promise and results exist on OTT platforms -- although TV advertisers can be resistant. Definitions can be a problem. 

Is it digital? Is it TV?

“We looked at it as a completely different platform,” says Sara Axelbaum, senior vp of client services for the Fox Network Group, speaking at MediaPost's TV & Video Insider Summit. “The most innovative things don’t fit into spreadsheets.”

For example, on OTT platforms for its FX network, she says, “we are purposely decreasing our [commercial] supply.” FX limits one commercial per commercial pod for its shows; one advertiser can even sponsor the entire stream.

“It’s educating the advertiser; there are different audiences on [OTT],” says Josh Boaz, managing director/co-founder of Direct Agents. For example, he says, you can find viewers watching 40-minute videos on mobile devices at work.

Many marketers might be unsure about where future media money will come from for OTT ad deals, but no matter. “It’s going to be must carry on every single [media] plan,” predicts Meera Sankar, account executive of Newsy -- perhaps in a year or two.

Some executives believe OTT is part of the broader digital video media arena, and by way of that association, attached to viewability and fraud issues. Axelbaum disagrees. Advertising isn’t skippable, and viewer engagement is high. “Common sense says this is a viewable environment,” she says -- even when measurement is lacking.

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