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18 March 2021

Aniview’s all-in-one ad hub finally jumps into CTV – better late than never

Israeli ad tech vendor Aniview came to our attention when a press release landed in the Faultline inbox noting that the company had just unveiled its connected TV and OTT capabilities, which struck us as rather belated. While the company had been preoccupied with mobile advertising, in a market as hot as ad tech, vendors need to be ahead of trends, not behind them.

Speaking to Faultline this week, the company’s CTO, Roy Cohen, explained that Aniview had been able to support CTV and on-demand advertising for a while, but guaranteeing security for its clients was the main hindrance. That would explain the company’s recent partnering with fraud detection unit, White Ops.

“We had our own security solution for our web player, which could verify client-side signals, but in CTV we did not have this ability. There is no option to run some code,” Cohen explained. The combination of the WhiteOps partnership, alongside the arrival of the Prebid server, signaled now was the time to make the move to CTV.

Aniview is trying to be a jack of all trades within advertising, providing a host of video monetization offerings. It provides a supply-side platform (SSP) with a range of other video products, including an ad studio, server-side ad insertion (SSAI), a prebid server, real-time bidding (RTB), and content players, both for videos and ads.

Cohen described it as a “one-stop shop” for both publishers and technology providers. The latter camp is often using Aniview’s technology under the hood to boost the value proposition of offerings – such as content recommendation engines.

Publishers get access to almost all its products for just one technology license fee which is priced on a ‘per impression’ basis. “Everything going through the marketplace is not charged – we are not paying publishers,” Cohen explained.

Expanding to CTV from mobile has required some adjustment from Aniview. Cohen explained that the value-per-action (VPA) tends to be less than on mobile, due to lesser demand overall, and there are less integrations available due to a lack of JavaScript.

The much wider ad breaks also require a change in decisioning logic as the KPIs used for mobile advertising are distorted. On mobile, ads with the highest CPM per second are easy to gauge, whereas the value of a CTV ad varies greatly depending on its place in an ad slot. “It is quite different overseeing 1 to 2 adds compared to a blank canvas of 200 seconds,” Cohen explained.

Cohen explained that many users will only watch around 25% to 30% of a CTV ad break – often split between the bookends of the slot. Even though one ad may be the biggest money maker on a ‘per second’ basis, it might be too long for this ‘gold rush’ period. “You need to consider how many pods you can get into 30% of the ad break,” he continued.

Aniview also had to integrate with new partners to process CTV audiences – households that are often harder to pinpoint than individual mobile users. Cohen was unable to name names but said Aniview has a handful of partners providing first and third-party audience data.

The company also has its own cookieless data management platform, demonstrating that it has been ahead of trends. “Google only just announced that they are going to segment based on the user – we have been doing this the whole time,” Cohen smirked.

Ad tech is proving an increasingly hot market, meaning standing out among the competition has never been more important. Aniview’s smorgasbord of offerings in the sector increases this threat, as it faces a huge range of competitors.

So, with the risk of becoming a master of none, what makes the company stand out? Cohen said that, while many of its largest competitors such as The Trade Desk, Google, and Magnite, are strong on the demand side, they are unable to provide the entire suite of tools that publishers require. Cohen argued that publishers want a single hub from which they can manage inventory and connect to all their advertisers and platforms.

While most ad tech giants offer strong media buying tools, they do not offer the technology needed to connect all the players, according to Cohen. This means that Aniview has a second client base in technology providers, who will use its technology under the hood.

One such offering is its two distinct video players – one for premium content and one for ads. The ad player is open to all SDKs needed for monetization. The distinction between the two is made to prevent premium publishers having streams come up against ad blockers. While the premium player has the capability of playing ads, Aniview has contracts with ad blockers to ensure that it will not be used for that purpose.

Both players are highly customizable, allowing clients to change the layout and decisioning, and support all the major streaming formats. Cohen shared that the player was in fact the seed from which Aniview sprouted. Back in 2014, the founders were trying to design a player that would permit autoplay on iOS.

Another standout feature that Cohen highlighted was the real-time reporting, which can be as quick as ten seconds, with a maximum delay of one minute.

Aniview also has its own ad marketplace, which Cohen said contributes around 20% of all sales on the platform, with the other 80% coming from third party markets. Most of these direct sales are rooted in Latin America and Asia Pacific, where Cohen says the company has its strongest links. “In the US and Europe, there are already enough strong players,” he told us.

Despite all this talk of value, Cohen was unable to give us any sizable client names, so it is hard to gauge exactly what level of operations Aniview is at. The website – which Cohen cautioned was out of date – hosts names such as Playbuzz, Video Intelligence and Take 1, which did not set many bells ringing.

A few Faultline issues in recent weeks have noted that operators are increasingly trying to get into the advertising game via their CPE. Cohen said that Aniview holds some deals with operators (again, no clues as to who) and these can supposedly prove highly lucrative. “They are aggregators for us, as telcos and OEMs have lots of publishers,” he explained. “You have potentially billions of hours of inventory.”

However, these bumper deals do not come easy, with the vast nature of an operator’s scope often leading to legal headaches when negotiating contracts. “These deals take more time than with regular publishers, but it more rewarding in the long-term,” added Cohen.