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16 June 2016

PC advertising all time low; Dish boosts ads with BidSwitch deal

US advertising decisioning engine Freewheel continues to try to break down doors across Europe, as shown by its recent acquisition of French video supply-side platform (SSP) company, and has published some interesting findings this week in its latest Video Monetization Report. While in the US Dish Network has signed another RTB (real time bidding) TV deal, since its surprise move to embrace it back in October, with partner ecosystem platform BidSwitch.

FreeWheel’s Video Monetization Report for Q1 2016 reports that desktops and laptops are still the top devices for ad views across all devices with a 37% share in the US and 49% in Europe. However, this figure in the US is now at its lowest since Freewheel began collecting data, down from 57% in Q1 2015. We suspect ad blocking software is responsible in part for this fall as it becomes ever more prevalent.

But that’s where the similarities end between the US and Europe, as OTT devices, such as Chromecast and Apple TV, had a 22% share of ad views in the US, but just 13% in Europe. Smartphones came in second in Europe with 24% but in the US smartphones only have an 18% share of ad views. Tablets had the lowest share in the US with 9%, and a 13% share in Europe.

Freewheel reports set top VoD as a device category in the US but not in Europe, which accounts for hybrid set tops delivering VoD content over IP and thus needs advertising inserted into it, on the Comcast Xfinity X1 set tops for example. The exclusion of this category for Europe does not mean the region is behind the times in terms of technology as hybrid set tops have been present in Europe for years, but it’s because Freewheel hasn’t yet entered the territory to enable the capabilities for dynamic ad insertion for VoD content on set tops over IP.

We questioned Freewheel during this week’s webinar and it said this is something the company is working towards in the near feature.

This quarter’s Video Monetization Report did not include data for ad views by brand of OTT device as it has done in the past. But the Q4 2015 report showed that Apple TV came out on top with almost half of all ad views across the OTT device ecosystem with 44%, followed by Roku with 34%, gaming consoles with 15%, Chromecast with 5%, and Amazon and Smart TVs both with 1%.

Ad views on smartphones in the US actually decreased marginally by 1% from the previous quarter, and desktops and laptops fell by 3%. It’s interesting that set tops were the only devices to see quarterly growth for ad views, increasing 4%, whereas tablets and OTT devices saw no quarterly change. It’s unclear what caused the slight drop in ad views on smartphones over the quarter, but we expect this figure to recover and also for ad views on OTT devices to see growth in the coming quarters.

On a separate note but relevant to the programmatic advertising industry, Dish Media Sales has announced a deal to integrate its OnPoint Programmatic TV Platform into BidSwitch’s real-time partner ecosystem – which it says has more than 150 demand partners.

The deal will allow advertisers and agencies to target DishTV’s individual households using BidSwitch’s platform, and is the New York-based company’s first entry into offering TV inventory. The technology works by linking together platforms, protocols and data signals via a proxy layer, and the variations across supply platform processes and protocols are remapped to an OpenRTB-compliant protocol that demand platforms can use. The integration is expected to complete sometime this summer.

Dish has previously partnered with programmatic real time ad industry players in IponWeb, which provided the core software for the online market, and also with DataXu, Rocket Fuel and TubeMogul, which all offer systems that help buyers select the right kind of programmatic advertising.

“Thousands of digitally-focused brands will be able to individually target, value and purchase Dish households in a real-time bidding environment that mimics the digital ecosystem familiar to them,” said Adam Gaynor, VP of Dish Media Sales.

“This integration with Dish represents a very significant milestone, not only for BidSwitch, but for the many demand platform partners we serve within the RTB ecosystem. We’re delighted with the opportunity to play a significant role in pushing the evolution of programmatic TV forward with Dish, by enabling this highly sought-after inventory to the broader market,” said Barry Adams, BidSwitch VP, Commercial Development.