Connected TV

What TV and Media Execs Really Think of CTV Advertising

MNTN’s Mark Douglas joins a Variety roundtable discussion

What TV and Media Execs Really Think of CTV Advertising

4 Min Read

Connected TV just had its best year yet with 2022, and advertisers, brands, media companies, and even viewers are excited for what’s waiting in 2023. But it’s not often that you get some of the entertainment and streaming industry’s leaders in the same room to have an informal discussion about the format and its future. 

MNTN President and CEO Mark Douglas recently joined the discussion for the Variety Streaming Room, titled “TV Ads 2.0: How the Connected Age Gives TV Advertising a Second Life.” Douglas and executives from Warner Brothers Discovery, Fox, Group M, NBCUniversal, and Google discussed the future of streaming, the evolution of the TV experience, and both challenges and opportunities facing the industry. A recording of the discussion can be found here—or you can keep reading for a high-level recap of the conversation below.  

All About AVoD

The conversation started with Variety recapping the rise of Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD) as streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ joined the advertising fray in 2022. All of the respondents were enthused with the rise of so many ad-supported streaming services entering the market. “It seems like so much inventory has come onto the market,” noted Variety’s host. “Yet, I sense no panic. I’m curious how the market is absorbing all of these channels.”

Douglas responded by noting that it’s going to create a market share war. He elaborated, “the amount spent by brand advertisers is not growing, but the amount of inventory is growing substantially.” Douglas explained that the only way to solve this imbalance is to bring more advertisers into the market. “At MNTN, we’re all about performance advertising and bringing new advertisers to market. We’re part of that solution.” Douglas ended his point with a cautionary warning. “This has to happen. Otherwise, it’ll be a very exciting 2023…but then a massive hangover in 2024 if there are not more companies coming into the market to absorb that new inventory.”

Switching to Streaming

Variety followed up Douglas’ previous comments with a direct question. “What, in your experience, is the tipping point that takes an advertiser from digital marketing over to streaming TV?” Douglas was able to sum up the tipping point in one word: measurement. “There are a set of companies that buy ads, and a set of companies that buy traffic to their brand. You wouldn’t go to Google to buy an ad, you go to them to buy traffic.”

Douglas noted that it’s crucial to cater to the companies that are more interested in buying traffic. “They’re traffic buyers; immediate buyers—and it’s all about measurement for them.” He explained that these brands need hard-hitting, empirical data that proves their ad spending is leading to customer engagement and conversions. “Streaming provides that,” Douglas said.

Balancing the Heart and Mind

“What I’m hearing from this conversation is that the business of advertising is becoming a storytelling business itself,” noted the Variety host. “It sounds like you’re now in the business of telling outcomes by tracking the viewer and their actions. It’s almost like detective work.” The panel almost unanimously agreed with the observation, but a point was quickly made: it’s a balancing act. Ad platforms, advertisers, and media companies need to leverage data and insights to tell a story—but not forget about TV’s ability to surprise, delight, and engage the hearts and minds of consumers. Or as Douglas put it, “TV’s real superpower is telling a story.” 

“Obviously, Maximum Effort is a part of MNTN. So Ryan Reynolds [MNTN Chief Creative Officer] and George Dewey [MNTN Chief Brand Officer] are a part of [our team] and believe in culturally relevant ads. They coined the phrase ‘fast-vertising.’ So you need both—Ryan to create the ads for some of our customers personally, while at the same time MNTN having data that tracks the customers through conversion.” Douglas pointed to MNTN’s success rate as proof that this balance is achievable. Douglas left one final, powerful observation: “Premium content is ultimately going to be any episodic content for which you have the richest amount of data tied to it.”

Watch the Full Recording for More

Douglas and the panel had a lot more topics to cover and unique insights to share as leaders of major media companies and ad technology solutions. Click here to watch the full recording.