Separating Good CTV Ad Inventory From Bad?

Competitive legacy TV advertising brands looking to gain all the reach they have been losing on linear TV will have another battle ahead as the streaming market continues to mature as well as evolve. 

Maybe this also includes devolving.

More than a few analysts believe increased scrutiny and transparency will be needed from all major players -- and perhaps to a greater extent. 

So we have Netflix reigning atop the ranks of all players, now opening up its walled garden of data a little -- in releasing a six-month report of its performance for the first half of 2023. 

Sure, it presents a decent overview of what it says is 99% of all its platform viewing -- coming from 18,000 titles, with nearly 100 billion hours viewed.



But perhaps as it moves more into the ad-supported space, it will need to do more, say critics. That will come from distinguishing one program from another in terms of real engagement and ROI metrics.

Of course, here is the rub: Netflix aims -- just like everyone else in the space -- to show off a picture where everything is good on its platform. So, the bottom line is that it continues to “grade its own homework” as the expression goes.

Netflix isn’t alone in this type of process -- as other digital media walled gardens continue to limit data and insight. 

That is why strong third-party measurement companies --- including Nielsen and others -- have been helpful to marketers. And in the internet world, we need much more -- especially in terms of how Netflix compares versus other premium streamers with similar or like-to-like content.

And then there is increasing demand over other granular issues, says Mike Seiman, chief executive officer and founder of Digital Remedy, via an email to TV Watch:

“Clearly, not all CTV inventory is equal when it comes to content quality, audience, engagement and attention. Thus, brands are going to start to insist on more transparency in inventory, and a push toward pricing that is reflective of quality.”

A bifurcation of the market will be more apparent, he says:   “As a result, long-tail inventory and online video, while still playing an important role for brands, will be viewed as ‘less premium’ compared to top flight CTV.”

So, speaking plainly, the hope is that there will be a clearer delineation of winners and losers. Because in business, isn’t that what we really, maybe secretly want? Cheering the superstars -- and shrugging our shoulders over those that are less fortunate. 

Perhaps we could see those that are underperforming earning a lower "grade." One explanation that probably isn’t going to work well would be that “the dog ate my homework.”

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