Syncbak on the Impact of Live OTT and Its Partnership with SpotX and Premion

This article Syncbak on the Impact of Live OTT and Its Partnership with SpotX and Premionwas written by Syncbak’s VP of Marketing, Noreen Thurston, and was originally published by MediaVillage on November 28, 2018.

If you’re an agency or media executive your inbox and social media feeds are probably full of news about trends in advertising, cord-cutting and the future of TV as told by analysts. With so much information coming at you on every advance in audience buying and programmatic, including some of the recent announcements about over-the-top (OTT) by Sinclair, Simulmedia and the company I work for, Syncbak, it’s easy to miss the advancements in ad placement and targeting that these trends are generating.

But if you’re responsible for finding the right audience for your client or brand it’s essential to pay closer attention to what’s happening in OTT in particular. As audiences increasingly find live television programming digitally (versus over the air or through a traditional cable or satellite company), reaching those viewers is critical. So, I’m going to give you a no-jargon explanation of what some of that information means and what to do with it. What we’re doing — such as our recent partnership with SpotX and Premion — and why, will help explain what other companies are doing, too, and how it helps brands and advertisers reach those more highly targeted viewers.

Here we go:

Syncbak was the first in the industry to develop the technology that makes it simple for television stations, broadcast groups and content creators to upload live programming to the cloud, and for platforms like CBS All Access, Hulu, fuboTV, Sony and many others to deliver those streams so that viewers can watch live local programming anytime, anywhere. We power more live local than any other provider, with over 10 million hours annually.

To make this anytime, anywhere content available to viewers, we created a direct-to-consumer OTT app called SBTV that allows stations to create their own custom always-on OTT channel by providing live and original VOD content to in- and out-of-market viewers. For example, I’m based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and working from our office in New York today, and know that tonight I can watch my local news via KCRG right from my laptop or via the SBTV app on my iPhone. You may have recently seen headlines about platforms like SBTV, but our difference is that we’re a consumer-facing app that helps all local broadcast groups get their content to as many people as possible. Additionally, SBTV monetizes via dynamic ad insertion (DAI), not just pre- and mid-roll like the other providers, which makes it a good complement to other live OTT services especially since we already power live streaming for most of the TV stations from these groups and every other TV station group across the country.

Now let’s talk about DAI as it relates to our recent news and how that helps you.

A traditional over-the-air ad serves many with the same message, targeted only by the programming they are watching. In contrast, DAI replaces those linear ads, inserting video ads directly into live linear OTT and VOD programming. DAI serves the best ad, targeted and personalized to the individual viewer, meaning two viewers of the same program might see different ads. The partnerships we formalized were developed so that stations can monetize live local viewing, making it easy for brands to target viewers by location and interest. We do this pairing our streaming technology with our proprietary DAI platform called AdSync.

Syncbak is excited about our relationship with SpotX, for example, because it means that SpotX will be connected with AdSync, our proprietary dynamic ad insertion solution, and will be handling our ad-decisioning and serving. So, viewers watching live and on-demand local programming, and the other original programming we have on SBTV, will get the local, regional and national ads that make sense for them. For the SpotX team, the partnership is valuable because, according to Benjamin Abbatiello, their Vice President, Audience and Distribution Management, “It represents the opportunity for programmatic buyers to reach a traditional linear TV audience.”

SpotX is a global leader in ad monetization for traditional and programmatic executions in both live and VOD, and they work with major brands to target just the right audience. Syncbak’s Vice President of Revenue, Dean Mandel, notes that the broadcasters and content owners who partner with Syncbak will be tapped into an entirely new programmatic revenue stream and will see more revenue from us.

That’s in addition to the premium ad inventory that will continue to be represented by the stations themselves, by Mandel’s team here at Syncbak, and now by Premion.

Premion delivers branded connected TV (CTV) and OTT content at scale for advertisers, bringing together full episode player, TV-like, OTT content for local media buyers. By partnering with Syncbak, Premion extends its footprint to sell inventory directly into live-local TV station streams, again utilizing Syncbak’s AdSync DAI technology.

“Premion was born out of the needs of advertisers who are looking for more effective ways to reach local and regional consumers, and local news content resonates strongly with these audiences,” said Jim Wilson, President of Premion. “Localization is the ultimate personalization for attracting viewers. Our partnership with Syncbak will deliver highly relevant local content with premium, brand-safe CTV and OTT inventory for local advertisers.”

The partnership with Premion “makes perfect sense,” added Syncbak’s Founder and CEO, Jack Perry. “Both of our companies have a deep understanding of the importance of localism and broadcasting.” As more ad dollars shift to OTT he believes “Premion and Syncbak will be driving things together.”

From a marketer’s perspective, seeing the evolution in SBTV since our launch in May to now having affiliates across 54 station groups covering 99% of the U.S. population, and our success in delivering live programming that helps stations finance high-quality content, makes me proud of the work that my colleagues and partners are doing … behind the headlines.

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