“Timing is Everything.” Amobee’s Smolin On the Videology Acquisition
CANNES—Sensing that “convergence was finally emerging” on the buy- and sell-side of the cross-platform universe, Amobee placed a bet last year with its acquisition of Videology.
“Timing is everything,” Amobee Chief Strategy Officer Philip Smolin said at the 2019 Cannes Lions Beet advanced TV leadership event.
There was no doubt that consumers had completely changed their viewing television venues, but that was just one component of the larger picture, Smolin related in this segment, which was recorded at the Beet.TV advanced TV summit, presented by Amobee and hosted by Hearts & Science.
“You have to have the broadcasters and programmers that are in a position where they really want to lean in for what is bringing data into advanced television,” Smolin said in response to a question from Jon Watts, who is managing partner of research and strategy consultancy MTM.
“But you also have to have on the buy side, you have to have the agency ecosystem be in a position where it’s really ready to start using that and converging maybe the TV investment team versus what had been the digital trading desk.” Amobee made its wager after assessing a variety of technology providers and determining that Videology was unique compared to companies that had fashioned themselves to fit into the programmatic space “for a world that came out of remnant display advertising and frames every problem like that,” Smolin explained.
Given the difference between display and long-form, premium video, “Videology to their credit had designed from the ground up to solve the problems of how TV works.
That was uniquely powerful, and we thought it was the right technology at the right time and it’s had a huge impact on our business.” Now, with Videology’s assets and Amobee’s partnership with Nielsen “we are able to bring converged measurement to linear plus digital activation.
When we use the term advanced TV, it’s very much about being able to take that digital-first audience, first-party data, and to use that within what is video, what is OTT, what is connected TV but also to linear.” Noting that eMarketer predicts linear will be 50% or more of all TV budgets by 2022, Smolin said it’s important for many brands to think holistically and for Amobee to provide “true, converged media solutions.” Another thing Videology had in its favor was its sell-side presence, “and that’s also critical because if they’re not positioned with the right tools to be able to sell the way that the advertisers want to buy, then it doesn’t work on either side.” He echoed the concerns of many in the industry that agency structure remains an impediment, as some still have siloed TV investment and digital trading teams. “They don’t have to be the same people, but getting them to look at the same measurement data and turning that same measurement data into integrated planning” needs to happen.
Asked how TV can win back ad dollars that have flowed to Facebook and Google, Smolin cites data, targetability, measurement and scale.
Where TV has an edge is that premium, long-form content “is not the strength for Facebook and YouTube.
If the broadcasters, the programmers, are now bringing the data that gives you the audience and the measurement at the scale they already have, they’re now in a position to compete very effectively with much higher value ad units than what Google and Facebook have been doing.” This video is from Cannes Lions if from our series, Capitalize on Convergence, presented by Amobee.
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