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27 May 2021

LiveRamp finally unlocks Tubi’s addressable audience

‘AVoD is hot, but digital advertising is not’ has been Faultline’s mantra as of late. A new partnership between Fox’s AVoD service Tubi and data provider LiveRamp is just another case of digital publishers and ad tech vendors catching up with market expectations of advertising capabilities.

Tubi has tapped LiveRamp to connect its inventory and audiences with advertiser demand on an addressable basis across all OTT devices. LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) will organize Tubi’s inventory in a user-centric fashion and authenticate the data simultaneously.

Any toddler can tell you that more people are spending more time watching digital video, but time and time again we are astounded by the slow pace at which ad tech vendors and publishers are playing catch up. There is serious money to be made, but the grand expectations of granular targeting and efficient advertising spend that are set by these players rarely manifests.

For pure AVoD platforms such as Tubi, there is an even stronger impetus for getting this right. Rethink TV forecasts show that, for OTT outside of the pay TV ecosystem, ARPUs for freemium or tiered video services will always exceed that of pure AVoDs – such is the hefty income that comes from any form of subscription in comparison to ad revenue.

In the year when AVoD seems to be finally getting a – still somewhat measly – slice of the content pie, these platforms need to start thinking about how they are going to recoup their investment. If subscriptions are out of the question, then highly refined, forward-thinking capabilities for advertisers is the only option. Fox acquired Tubi for $440 million just over a year ago, with network execs claiming at the time that it could become a billion-dollar business.

ATS lets advertisers create addressable segments out of Tubi’s audience, which can then be sold on the platform’s own internal marketplace. LiveRamp gives Tubi access to audience identifiers that are collected from across multiple publishers, and in return Tubi feeds in its own first-party data.

Upon signing up, Tubi’s viewers are asked to opt into its personalization engines for content recommendation. This same data can be anonymized, and then provided to brands and advertisers as first-party data. As part of the agreement, Tubi will attach LiveRamp’s RampID identifier as this data is passed along the bidstream, which includes audience targeting metadata such as device type, format, URL and other ad unit details.

ATS is one of several ad tech initiatives that are signposting an ad tech ecosystem set on weaning itself off the dying breed of third-party identifiers – namely cookies and Apple’s IDFA.

In the press release, Tubi’s Chief Revenue Officer, Mark Rotblat, noted the challenge advertisers face when trying to execute sweeping campaigns across fragmented OTT platforms. The hope is that a user-based identifier can help sweeten this pill, by ensuring that campaigns remain relevant across these siloed channels and devices.

“LiveRamp helps enable authenticated, first-party relationships with our viewers so we can continue to deliver impactful relevant ad experiences, at scale,” Rotblat continued.

Tubi had a decent showing at the New Fronts, the centerpiece of which was the announcement that it will be rolling out more than 140 hours of original content across the service, starting in Autumn. As Faultline noted a couple of weeks back, dumping shedloads of original content – prized or trash – at the New Fronts was something of a running theme.

The service was able to also offer advertisers some useful tools, namely the Advanced Frequency Management tool that aims to improve the user experience by capping repeated ad-slots. Other new features include on-device sponsored integrations and opening up access to its Content Intelligence insights for targeting, as well as a new program for measurement and analytics.

Tubi has kept a lid on monthly active user growth since September last year, when it was at 33 million, but the service has since reported a 54% year on year rise in annual total viewing time – to over 800 million hours.

This partnership is a big catch for LiveRamp, which told Faultline that Tubi is the first US-based AVoD to implement RampID in the bidstream and leverage ATS.

“ATS places publishers and marketers in control of their data. It generates better results for marketers, higher yields for publishers and provides the opportunity for greater transparency,” said LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe. Over 100 brands are already signed up to the service, which serves over 70 ad exchanges and over 400 publishers.

Faultline has an interview with LiveRamp penciled in for a couple of weeks’ time, so keep your eyes peeled for that.