NYC TV Week: What’s Next for OTT?

Measurement, Monetization Are Key

New York – Video viewing habits continue to go over-the-top and reach screens of all sizes, but that shift continues to create major challenges for the TV industry, mainly in areas such as measurement and monetization.

Those were two areas of focus here Wednesday at an OTT-focused panel at the Next TV Summit, held by Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable in conjunction with the third annual NYC Television Week event.

The challenges circling around measurement in the OTT realm are “significant,” Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director for the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), said, echoing the comments made the day before by NBCU exec Linda Yaccarino, who keynoted the Advanced Advertising Summit on Tuesday.

“OTT is, in particular, the latest big disruptor to come along, and is obviously of major interest to some members as [both] a disruptor and an opportunity,” Clarke said, adding later that competition in the viewership measurement market is a good thing for the industry as TV continues to support new currencies and different currency combinations.

But even as consumption on Netflix continues to rise and consumers gravitate to on-demand models, there’s still plenty of room for linear-focused services, even in the OTT space.

One company that’s taking that notion to task is Pluto TV, the company behind a free, ad-supported linear-style OTT video service that pumps out over 100 “channels.”

Multiscreen video is a fragmented world, but Pluto TV is already delivering “millions and millions of video views,” Ilya Pozin, Pluto TV’s co-founder, and chief growth officer, said, noting that OTT “is not just a buzzword anymore.”

Digital advertising CPMs, he told panel moderator George Winslow of B&C, is “really strong and growing” and “often trump [traditional] television.”

But panelists also warned that the OTT business is not just about putting up a stream and calling it a day, said Matt Smith, chief evangelist at Anvato, noting that, in many cases, it involves the integration of dynamic ad insertion platforms and closed-captioning support.

“It’s thinking about your service as an investment,” he said.  “It’s more than putting up a stream and checking that box….think about the revenue you can drive around that content.”

Smith also addressed the challenges created by ad-blocking technology, telling the crowed that one of his customer lamented that as much as one-third of its content isn’t being viewed because of ad-blockers.

Clarke agreed that the carry-over from linear ad models to digital has not been fully resolved, but acknowledged that the emergence of ad-blockers shows that “consumers have raised their hand to show how they feel about it…so there’s a concern there.”

HBO, meanwhile, has feet in both pools – the traditional TV pay TV world with HBO Go, its TV Everywhere platform, and HBO Now, its stand-alone OTT offering.

As for TVE, “adoption has been uneven at best,” Diane Tryneski, HBO’s EVP of technology and chief digital officer, said, but expects things to smooth out as consumers continue to get used to authenticating and become increasingly savvy about using apps and devices.

Tryneski said HBO has seen “great numbers” for HBO Now, and has found that HBO Go has also gotten a lift. “They’re not cannibalizing…they’re additive,” she said of the two offerings.