The adtech community is renowned for its ability to cope with dynamic shifts in consumer behaviour, world events, along with the usual regulation and technology changes and the last few weeks have thrown up more 'unprecedented' events including a full 24 hours of advertising darkness.

The advertising blackout on last Monday, a protocol deployed by Buckingham Palace during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, was observed by many publishers and broadcasters, social networks.  D/OOH billboards turned from brand advertising to display signs of respect to our late Queen as sales of print publications saw a dramatic uplift in sales due to many, like me, preserving the memories of the moment presented by the newspapers.  I cannot remember the last time I purchased a newspaper!

Many had prepared for such an occasion and scheduled programming had been replaced with documentaries and show cases of the Royal Family, past and present.  I believe that it was the only day in Channel 4’s existence that it didn’t run advertising, and this also extended to its 4OD streaming service too, a move also replicated at ITV.

Coming to CTV, and yes, I am including its various subsets e.g., AVOD, SVOD etc etc, you’d be forgiven thinking that some of the streaming channels had extended the media blackout based on their lack of ads, or frequency capping, displayed the days following the funeral.

My question is, am I simply not as 'connected' as I should be as a consumer? Am I missing something? Is one of the obstacles to filling inventory, the lack of standards in place?

There clearly doesn’t appear to be a lack of interest in brands wishing to explore this new channel so why are we are some channels struggling to fill their inventory?  I have said it before and I will say it again, the CTV gold rush smacks heavily of the glory years of mobile advertising. 

Connected TV faces many of the same challenges experienced in the early 2000’s including a vast array of publisher partners to work with, a multitude of measurement partners and methodologies all depending on the level of control you want over placement and your own campaign KPI’s. As it stands today it would seem 'the broader the better' approach in terms or targeting and reporting.

As with all emerging channels, hindsight is a wonderful thing. It presents the opportunity to learn from mistakes made in the digital arena of yesteryear.  The more I talk to both the buy and sell side of the industry, there is a need for transparency.(This is surely table stakes across our industry?) There is also a need to enable advertisers to access a variety of publisher/broadcasters and be able to report on campaign performance without having to switch between silo'd solutions to dramatically scale CTV as a media channel.

There is a notable difference in how the digital and CTV landscapes are changing. There seems to be a consensus that the advertisers wish to build closer alliances with publishers & SSP’s, partly in a bid to move as close to 1P data provenance shifting investment away from the DSP’s.  In the case of CTV, we are seeing a trend of publisher/DSP partnerships evolving, some circumventing the SPP’s completely.

“Invention is the mother of necessity” and it’s great to see companies such as LightBoxTV addressing some of these challenges by removing friction during the planning, buying, and reporting lifecycle of a CTV Campaign. LightBoxTV wants to simplify a fragmented CTV market and its specialists like these who will undoubtedly grease the wheels of progress in the connected TV arena.

2022 is undoubtedly a year of new beginnings, as we start to explore unchartered territories.  The word “unprecedented” has been used frequently in the last week and can be applied to all elements of our personal and professional lives. 

Having been present at the birth of mobile and part of its monumental success, I have been inspired and invigorated to be part of this new movement and will be digging deeper in this brave new world over the coming months.

Ben will be writing a regular column for the MAD//Fest Insight throughout the year.