Marketers are rushing into the fast-growing connected TV space, where publishers facing competition from distribution partners are starting to offer more unique ad products.
With tailor-made ad offerings, content owners are looking to win business directly from marketers, who otherwise buy aggregated inventory through CTV platforms and distributors—companies that are increasingly dominating the streaming media landscape.
Jukin Media, the streaming company that owns properties including FailArmy and The Pet Collective, has introduced a WeatherPod ad offering for its new WeatherSpy channel.
Similar to sponsored integrations commonly seen on linear TV, the WeatherPod is a minute-long offering that includes a five-second customizable billboard leading into a 25-second sponsored forecast, ending with a 30-second commercial spot.
The WeatherPod unit is offered both directly and programmatically. Mike Richter, Jukin Media’s director of programmatic partnerships, said these kinds of unique products help the content owner stand out from aggregators, which can only sell Jukin Media inventory collectively, not its individual brands.
“Coming through our sales team or through our programmatic stack… it does provide a really unique way to be able to hone in on the different types of contextual-based channels that we have,” Richter said.
Streaming is quickly on the rise. According to eMarketer, 27.3% of U.S. households will ditch their pay-TV provider this year, rising to 30.1% in 2022. Over that period, CTV ad spend is expected to jump from $11.36 million to $14.11 million, according to the research firm.
Despite the rise in CTV viewership, which the pandemic has accelerated, publishers sacrifice a portion of their ad revenue in exchange for distribution. Content companies often enter inventory or revenue-sharing agreements as part of distribution deals with platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, or ad-supported streaming services like Pluto TV and Xumo.
Jukin Media fully launched its WeatherSpy channel in July 2020. In total, Jukin Media’s channels earn more than 7 million monthly hours of watch time across its streaming apps and ad-supported services that carry its channels, including Peacock, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel and Samsung TV Plus.
In total, Jukin Media saw a 52% year-over-year viewership increase in 2020. The company’s streaming revenue in December 2020 more than doubled compared to the same time period the year prior. Richter said Jukin Media has sales rights on a majority of the platforms its channels are on, and in most cases the company has the first right of sale.
CTV is currently in growth mode, and publishers are seeing an upswing in sellable impressions. But given the fragmentation of the medium, not all of that inventory is desirable.
Bill Durrant, president of agency Exverus Media, said there’s a lot of disparate CTV inventory available programmatically. As a result, brands and marketers don’t have an “emotional connection” with a lot of content owners.
As the space matures, unique offerings can help win over advertisers—as long as the publisher attracts a big enough audience.
“After [publishers] kind of top out on viewership at some point in the next handful of years, then it’ll become a kind of strategic imperative for brands to explore integrating more deeply into these channels,” Durrant said.