Trusted Media Brands: ‘CTV was built on the same ground digital was built on’

On television and video is a column exploring the opportunities and challenges of advanced television and video.

Mike Richter, vice president of global revenue operations for CTV and digital at Trusted Media Brands, will speak at Programmatic I/O, being held in Las Vegas May 23-25. You don’t want to miss it. Click here to register.

Publishers are finally turning to video, but this time they’re doing it on their own terms.

For Trusted Media Brands (TMB), publisher of Reader’s Digest, the acquisition of viral video publisher Jukin Media Last August was both a revenue driver and a springboard to connected TV. (Fun fact: Reader’s Digest celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.)

“Jukin didn’t have a strong dotcom strategy – we barely focused on our dot coms – and TMB didn’t have a very strong video and social strategy,” said Mike Richter, who joined Jukin’s Trusted Media Brands after the agreement. He now works on both CTV and digital as VP of global revenue operations for TMB, marrying the brands’ efforts.

Jukin’s portfolio includes free-to-air, ad-supported (FAST) TV channels spun off from social brands including People Are Awesome, FailArmy and The Pet Collective, as well as recently launched channels that draw content from Jukin’s portfolio of style publications. life of TMB, such as Taste of Home and Family Handyman.

Last year, TMB, which uses Unruly as its SSP, increased its streaming audience by 76% and its turnover of more than 110%.

Richter spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What’s an example of something digital media companies can learn from the CTV space?

MIKE RICHTER: First of all is that getting into CTV isn’t as scary as it sounds. It requires heavy investment, but there is also a lucrative return. CTV took what digital has done and made it simple.

CTV was built on the same ground as digital using the same underlying VAST specifications mixed with the protocols used for general broadcast. For example, SCTE markers were originally designed for ad insertion in traditional broadcast and now work in CTV to identify an ad break to switch it to the server side. There’s nothing really innovative about the concepts here, but the way we use automation is innovative.

What can CTV do to ensure it doesn’t repeat some of the same mistakes digital media companies have made?

As an industry, I think ad experiences have become obsolete. Mainly you have display, which is just banner ads, and 30 second spots during commercial breaks. We need to think of ways to be more creative.

I love what Origin Media is doing to challenge the status quo and come up with new products, but there must also be other ways to make the viewing experience and user experience both digital and CTV more useful and less annoying. . Show me things that will improve my life or things that are related to the content I’m watching.

What happens in the launch of a FAST channel?

Vaults or content libraries are a gold mine for many apps and CTV channels. It doesn’t take new content to attract users, you just need content that is bingeable and will keep people engaged – and that can be older content, original content, or syndicated content.

I’m a big proponent of using syndicated content as long as it makes sense for the overall genre of channel or app you’re creating.

In order to create and launch a CTV channel accepted by the platform, you need to have enough programming to fill the whole day. You can repeat content and walk away with around 55-60 hours to start with, but it’s much easier for the programming and marketing teams to have at least 100 or 150. Less than that, and the content will get pretty stale quickly for anyone who logs in regularly.

You also need to have at least two or three original series to launch so you can drive as many date viewings as possible because you have a schedule.

From there, you test everything. You look at the time of day, the length of the session, what happens if you flip the episodes, what happens if you do a promo and you see what drives the audience.

The streaming wars are often framed as a battle for attention with billions of dollars being spent wooing people with high production value programming. But what is the role of streaming user-generated contentlike what Jukin has?

Programming TV with UGC content isn’t exactly cheap. It might be slightly cheaper than a traditional TV show, but you’re still looking at a multi-million dollar investment for a single show or series.

We don’t just take an unmoderated UGC, slap it, and throw it on a screen. All UGC we bring in-house go through a strict verification process. Shows are designed like any traditional show is designed and then workshopped in a storyboard, even if it is unscripted. Our producers search our library for content that supports the storyline, and if we don’t have what they’re looking for, our content research team, which is spread around the world, goes out and searches for content from users just Like you and me.

We also have a full fledged production studio in Los Angeles where we produce our own additional content.

What do you think Netflix plans to launch ads? I have to ask.

They were very smart about strategy. All of a sudden, Reed Hastings says he likes commercials — sure, it works. But for two years, he has clearly stated his beliefs on advertising, because he wanted to protect the brand.

Netflix increases its prices slightly every six to nine months. Generally speaking, when you start offering an ad-supported tier, it’s at a discounted rate, but now Netflix can offer it at the same rate everyone was paying two years ago. In other words, they have adjusted user expectations and can charge more.

With the ad experience itself, they have the ability to be innovative, and I hope they are, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a more traditional ad break type system. A lot of their own content is made with black cutaways, including the movies, so in a way it’s pre-built to meet the advertising needs.

Now they just have to plug it in.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Daniel C. Williams