Local OTT/CTV is a top growth performer in local media. BIA forecasts spending will reach at least $2 billion in 2022. To dig into the drivers behind this growth, BIA organized a panel at TV 2022’s virtual conference this week bringing together local CTV experts. The panel included Roku’s Kristen Wnuk, Director of Local Sales; D. Benny Bennafield, Partner and CMO, Propellant Media; Kevin Dunaway, VP Affiliate Relations and Content Development, VUit.com; Ron Stitt, GM of NewsON.
The sweet spot in OTT is bringing together audience and advertiser experience based on local context, premium content, inventory that is brand safe and fraud-free that targets specific audience segments. In particular, it is the Connected TV (CTV) more so than the broader OTT universe that includes mobile and desktop, where a high value experience is rendered best.
Bennafield’s Propellant Media is an Atlanta-based agency that increased its 2021 OTT buying by 50 percent. As a mobile-first agency looking to offer clients omnichannel, competitive conquesting, geofencing and conversion tracking as core tools to drive KPIs, OTT is relatively new to the mix. At this point, Propellant is not differentiating between OTT and CTV and charges the same for both types of impressions. “Lots of our clients are less sophisticated, they’re not in the weeds. But if they see their ads working to move the needle, they’re happy. We moved from display video into mid-roll and pre-roll and now see the value OTT brings to our clients,” Bennafield summarized.
Local news, sports and events coverage creates a local context to a premium viewing experience that advertisers value and want their brand associated with. Any CTV impression can be geotargeted but if its inside local premium content, that increases the value to buyers. This is a premise the both Stitt and Dunaway agree on and they see this in practice with their local streaming news platforms.
VUIt and NewsON are local news aggregation platforms that combine local premium news content at scale to enable more powerful audience targeting against a bigger volume of impressions. Dunaway noted that, “We do local sports and news events. We did 700 last year and in 2022 we’re on track for over 1,000 events.” The value of local CTV also comes to a local sales presence. Sitt argued that, “It comes down to local people in local markets on the ground talking to local advertisers. Local buyers want local eyeballs but in local news where they can show up as part of the community.”
Roku’s Kristin Wnuk comes from a background in local TV sales and knows the space extremely well. “The days of looking at ratings, reach and frequency are over. Local advertisers can target their ads over Roku’s platforms to reach local viewers using Roku’s deterministic data set to find and retarget local news viewers.”
The outlook for 2022 is positive in terms of increased ad spending, scaling local audience growth. Key verticals of course include political and sports betting with the ability to support audience targeting with advanced data. Wnuk offered that, “If I had to summarize the promise of CTV in three words they would be reach, reaction and outcome.” These are key strengths CTV brings into the local media ad mix.