The Future of Streaming TV: A Conversation with Magnite CEO Michael Barrett
March 27, 2023 | 4 min read
The CTV industry is in a state of seismic shift. Magnite’s CEO, Michael Barrett, recently sat down at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview to discuss the fast-evolving landscape and its broader implications for the digital marketing industry. Here are some critical insights into the future of streaming television and what’s around the corner.
The era of ad-supported streaming has arrived.
Over the last couple of years, the market for CTV has experienced a major sea change, with the ad-supported model winning audiences and market share over ad-free subscription-based services. According to a recent Magnite study, streaming audiences now watch more ad-supported content than ad-free content — with ad-free content powering most of streaming’s growth. Look no further than Disney+, HBO Max, or Netflix to see how media platforms are changing their business models to adjust to this shift in viewing behavior.
In the long term, the rising tide of the AVOD marketplace is likely to lift all ships. The addition of Disney+ and Netflix to the AVOD market will likely create a halo effect for streaming platforms, accelerating the shift from linear TV to CTV.
With more investment pouring into the ad-supported market, there will be more innovation regarding formatting, measurement, and transparency, to everyone’s benefit.
Consolidation is streamlining the CTV market.
The consolidation of CTV platforms and services is making buying CTV more streamlined. Ad buying in CTV has been notoriously fragmented, but as streaming platforms become managed by fewer players, moving budgets has become more efficient and curated. Inventory is being packaged in more deal-specific ways. Private marketplace and programmatic deals are tailored to meet buyers’ needs.
As media platforms merge and ad delivery systems are simplified, more collaboration and common standards are emerging. In line with this, communities like Prebid that support shared solutions are having their day in the sun, particularly with greater scrutiny on walled gardens.
Magnite has built its business in lockstep with the rise of CTV and acquired key assets to drive value in streaming environments. We grew from a company that produced $125 million in revenue to over $500 million in revenue, half of which is driven by our CTV business, so we’re positioned extremely well moving forward. Both in revenue and also with the tech and infrastructure to best serve our clients in the streaming TV ecosystem.
First-party data is the new gold standard.
With the imminent decline of third-party cookies, first-party data has exponentially increased in value across digital channels. As publisher-controlled, first-party data plays a more significant role in audience attribution, the onus of identity is moving to the sell side. In CTV, audience creation is already there, with SSPs building audience segments from aggregate data and presenting these segments to buyers in a privacy-safe way through the exchange.
A plethora of identity solutions have evolved to convey attribution in CTV, but there’s no silver bullet: the best way to maintain addressability is a portfolio approach. This means building out tools and standards to automatically support any ID solution a publisher wants to use while ensuring data protection and consumer anonymity. Magnite’s platform has a data activation path built-in and is ID agnostic.
As more publishers activate their first-party data, ad quality stands to improve, particularly in areas such as ad load, deduplication, sound quality, and competitive separation.
Ultimately, as ad dollars shift towards CTV, the investment will drive new standards and transparent practices. In today’s market, CTV ad inventory has never been hotter. Streaming TV’s unique blend of engaged, addressable audiences and scale makes it a must-have for media planning. To capitalize on CTV’s full promise, SSPs will play an important role in delivering outcomes for both buyers and sellers.