OTT & CTV: What, Why, & How - Chief Media

OTT & CTV: What, Why, & How

We have finally reached the tipping point where everyone agrees that OTT is here to stay. At Chief Media, our clients demand accountability from their media spend where a measured approach to OTT is needed in order to get the most from this environment now. It is important that we set our clients up properly to take advantage of future fragmentation in the omni-video space through proper training, testing and innovation in this growing medium. In today’s world OTT and Linear TV must work in unison so that results are maximized; having the right approach and technology is mandatory.

What are OTT and CTV?

The first hurdle is defining what OTT is. The term stands for Over-The-Top, which is the way video content is being served. Instead of watching a show or clip through a cable connection this content is being delivered through WiFi. This means that OTT refers to video delivered on a tablet, desktop, mobile, or a smart TV. Any and all video consumption can then be bucketed under OTT whether you are watching a cat video on your phone, Snooki being Snooki at the jersey shore on MTVs mobile app on your tablet, or live-streaming Thursday night football on Amazon Prime while you are relaxed on the couch.  However, only the last example is considered CTV (Connected TV).

The current hot debate is what is considered “premium” by nature. Is premium content defined as being delivered only by recognized television networks who have created apps or does it also include professional episodic content that is housed in new connected environments? Does a show that has a loyal userbase delivered on a CTV app that isn’t a cable network any less valuable than someone watching a show being delivered on a Nielsen rates cable network’s app?

Why Should Advertisers Consider OTT & CTV?

We believe that it is critical for advertises to rigorously test the space now in preparation for the continued shift in video consumption.  The adoption numbers of OTT and CTV speak for themselves:

Clearly it is important for marketers, brand or direct response oriented, to get involved in OTT to provide incremental reach, create a dialogue with a younger demo, and receive critical feedback that will help dictate an advertiser’s entire video spend (linear, OTT, CTV…) in the short and long term.

How Should You Begin to Approach OTT?

It all starts, and ends, with the data. The advent of OTT delivery allows for more precise targeting that is commonly used for digital.  In recent years marketers have been able to access television viewership data allowing them to overlay their own userbase on top of this data set. The output allows marketers unprecedented insight on which linear environments their audience is consuming as well as which CTV apps their clients are watching- and often times the results can be shocking.

Having access to this data is important for planning and combining it with best of breed technology for media activation allows for fluid optimization based on real-time data. Video as a whole can now begin to operate in more of a real-time and accountable manner as never before due to the new viewership datasets that marketers now have access to.

What Are Challenges Associated with OTT/CTV?

With any new environment, challenges do exist. We spoke about proper definitions of terminology and that there is a shift in mindset on what is premium in a more connected and fragmented world. Another hurdle for marketers focused on efficiency buying or have strict CPA requirements is the high barrier of entry for spend when it comes to pricing (CPMs) or level of spend commitment. Over the course of this year we have seen suppliers, and their technologies (Supply Side Platforms) begin to work closer with these types of advertisers to help them enter and test the space.


OTT/CTV must be a testing ground for any advertiser serious about long term sustainability. A practical approach that takes into consideration proper definitions of terms, utilizes proper data, has a seasoned team that truly understands television measurement and the precision of digital tools can find long term success in OTT/CTV. We are seeing both supply and demand begin to work together to make this environment more accountable which makes it an exciting, and necessary, place full of innovation.

This will be a topic that Chief Media will continue to revisit as harnessing the power of OTT/CTV as an important component of a comprehensive video buy will only increase in importance. Future POVs will include advanced television planning, technology as an enabler to increase decision making and decrease fraud, linear & CTV living in harmony.

We are fully invested in the space and would love to hear your thoughts! Contact us here.

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