Earlier this year, the IAB released its 2023 Compass report, where it predicted that CTV spend will roughly double to £2.31bn by 2026. The report largely attributes this growth to increases in streaming due to more people having access to a connected TV, as well as new and improved services from the content providers. This, in turn, will be followed by increases in advertising spend.
Theoretically, CTV’s unique selling point is that it fuses linear TV viewing with ‘digital’ targeting abilities. I.e., it offers advertisers the opportunity to reach highly engaged audiences, in quality content, with sophisticated targeting and reporting capabilities. However, the reality is the fragmented marketplace and shortcomings in measurement have held CTV back from delivering on its USP.
The term CTV includes services such as ITVx, All 4, YouTube, Netflix, Freevee, Samsung, Discovery Plus, Rakuten, Roku, Pluto, Vevo, and many more. Whilst the majority of views (and spend) are attributed to services from ITV, Channel 4 and YouTube, a typical CTV campaign will run across multiple VOD services, often offering different audience targeting and measurement systems. Current IP and device graph matching make it impossible to measure the success of each element of a media campaign, including isolating the effect that CTV has on business results. On top of this, it’s not yet possible to pick up CTV in econometric studies.
Another missing piece of the puzzle is that the broadcasters do not allow third party tags to measure cross-campaign reach and frequency. The market is crying out for a unified solution to understand the effectiveness of CTV when it comes to incremental reach or driving low-cost frequency. C-Flight will help us to measure linear and BVOD reach across multiple audiences later this year, but currently there are no plans to incorporate YouTube or Advertiser VOD (AVOD) providers into this.
In better news, the long-tail CTV providers (such as Rakuten, Pluto, Roku etc) are working hard to form a unified approach for agencies to access their content more easily, as well as collaborating around targeting and measurement. And measurement solutions such as C-Flight, Viewers Logic, BARB partnerships, and Project Origin are making inroads to help us to measure reach and frequency, as well as the incrementality of CTV.