CTV's Pandemic Performance Mixed So Far, But It's Now The Primary Video Screen

This week brought two reports offering intriguing snapshots of CTV performance during the pandemic thus far.

One, from ad fraud prevention firm Pixalate, compared the numbers of OTT/CTV advertising transactions in the U.S. during the first and last weeks of March, across more than 75 million connected TV/OTT devices.

The overall finding: Programmatic ad transactions declined by 14% over the course of the month. (The report’s summary uses number of transactions as a proxy for “ad spend,” but makes it clear that no monetary transaction values were actually analyzed.)

The sudden suspension of most sports, and associated advertising, no doubt contributed to the drop in ad buys.

Sports apps showed among the largest declines in programmatic ad transactions on the Roku TV store, led by the Tennis Channel (-82%), NBA (-67%), NHL (-63%) and Fox Sports Go (-26%)—although the category’s overall transactions still rose 6%.

Predictably, travel apps lost ad buys (-20%).



But oddly, ad transactions in games, movies and TV, food, and kids and family also declined (by 43%, 25%, 20% and 9%, respectively).

Transactions on the Roku and Hulu apps on Roku declined 26% and 30%, respectively.

On the flip side, apps seeing large jumps in ad buys included USA Network (+1,869%),  PBS (+1,517%), Vice on TV (+1,163%), CNBC (+689%), DIY Network Go (+419%), Fox News Channel (+143%), and Bloomberg (+126%).

Also, likely reflecting advertisers’ desire to appear in content in demand for keeping the kids busy, ad transactions on “educational” apps on Roku increased 2,946%, or by 30 times.

A second report, from Innovid, is based on its new iQ analytics dashboard, being used to track global video trends.

The weekly analyses reflect digital video/CTV campaigns that generate more than 195 billion impressions across more than 600 advertisers per year.

In the week of April 12-18, retail ad impressions (including ecommerce) in digital video/CTV leapt 145% versus the previous week, reflecting increased viewing while under shelter-at-home.

Other beneficiaries were automotive (+18%), CPG (15%, financial up 11% and pharmaceuticals up 3%. Telecom, however, dropped 23%.

Notably, impressions on CTV devices surpassed those on mobile devices — accounting for 43% of total impressions, versus mobile’s 39%. That was the second consecutive week in which CTV ad impressions surpassed mobile ones, according to Innovid. (PCs had an 18.3% share.)

Traditional broadcast publishers accounted for 82% of total impressions volume.

Between about March 8 and April 4, broadcast, digital, social and programmatic all saw ad impressions dip, but that's been followed by a rebound through April 18: 


Note that programmatic’s impressions dip during March parallels the ad transactions trend noted in the Pixalate report.

Comparing the week of April 12 with the previous week, broadcast impressions were flat, but programmatic rose 19%, social media rose 13%, and digital was up 2%.

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