PubMatic Brings Its Header Bidding Solution to OTT

PubMatic, a sell-side ad tech company, today announced it is bringing its OpenWrap header bidding product to over-the-top environments, allowing multiple demand sources to compete simultaneously for over-the-top (OTT) inventory. While header bidding has become commonplace in programmatic trading of display inventory, and is credited with driving greater efficiency for both the sell-side and the buy-side, header bidding has been slower to develop for video, and OTT advertising in particular. PubMatic says its OTT header bidding product has been adapted to optimise monetisation across entire ad pods (clusters of ads within a show).

PubMatic says that header bidding is particularly well-suited to OTT advertising, since it helps cut out the cumbersome negotiations process associated with traditional TV buying.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the upfront events in the US, where billions are committed each year by advertisers keen to lock down the best TV inventory for the coming year. In Europe too, the TV industry has faced challenges selling inventory via traditional methods, alongside paused campaigns and reductions in spend by some advertisers, which has led to many broadcasters becoming more experimental and innovative than usual during the lockdown.

So OpenWrap’s promise of higher yield might prove to be tempting to broadcasters during the pandemic. And at the same time, with total TV consumption unusually high during lockdown, OTT publishers and broadcasters are more likely to have access to remnant inventory to experiment with.

As with header bidding solutions for other inventory types, OpenWrap OTT will allow demand sources to compete for an impression simultaneously, which tends to increase yield by letting more advertisers compete for an impression. And by cutting latency through sending out ad requests as soon as OTT content begins to load, it can also increase fill rates. PubMatic says early trials of the product have led to 6x greater fill rates for OTT publishers, compared to tag integrations.

OTT has its own specific challenges for programmatic ad sales, with advertisers requiring features like competitive separation, frequency capping across different ad pods, and back-to-back ads. PubMatic says OpenWrap OTT will accommodate these features, and will work across inventory in CTV, mobile and desktop.

Content providers Kidoodle.TV, Limpid, and Glewed TV are among those already signed up to sell inventory to OpenWrap OTT, while MediaMath and Interpublic Group have begun buying through the product.

Kidoodle.TV’s CTO Daniel Riddell said the fact that OpenWrap OTT is built on the open source Prebid Server is a key selling point of the product. “PubMatic’s OpenWrap OTT technology prioritises the viewer experience while also delivering header bidding auction dynamics that can help us maximize ad performance for our clients,” he said. “We’re also thrilled that PubMatic’s solution is built on Prebid, which allows for more transparency, flexibility and integration opportunities so we can continue providing a safe streaming environment for families.”

Advertisers meanwhile will benefit from the increased scale and control provided by OpenWrap OTT according to Jean Fitzpatrick, VP of marketplace solutions and IPG’s media and marketing technology unit Kinesso. “Features like first-look access to OTT inventory across both open market and private marketplaces, new ad pod controls, and highly scaled deal flexibility will all help drive more buyer interest in OTT in the near term,” she said.

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