How publishers are navigating the evolving video landscape in 2023

Omri Polak, head of content, Primis

2023 is off to a busy start. Regarding video, publishers are on the lookout for the few key topics and obstacles that will most likely be prevalent throughout the year. The big question for many in the ad tech space will be navigating the changes this new year brings — including new regulations and specifications — and optimizing for success.

This article summarizes a Digiday Publishing Summit panel in March 2023 moderated by Maayan Segal, vice president of clients at Primis, with panelists Scott Solomon, vice president of DV and platform at Magnite, and Matt Burgess, senior vice president of revenue operations at Freestar.

Balancing quality content and viewability is critical for video ads

Publishers are always balancing user experience and monetization and looking to maximize their revenue. One way to ensure success this year will be to maintain a favorable position in supply and demand. Total digital ad spending will grow by 10.5% this year, but not all publishers are experiencing the benefits of this growth. Video inventory isn’t seeing growth at the same rate as ad spending, and some publishers are missing out on potential revenue as a result. 

For publishers, monetization and user experience are critical; matching ad monetization with native content will be one way publishers can prioritize both. Finding the right combination between the two is essential. Quality content and optimizing the mix between player size and viewability are key. Finding a partner who delivers accurate and consistent reports will give the greatest overall yield.

Shifting classifications and strategies for in-stream video

Another hot topic in the world of video is the new video specifications. IAB Tech Lab’s new definitions will affect the video revenue of every publisher. When the previous definitions were established in August 2022, the criteria of what constituted in-stream was narrowed. About 90% of the video supply that would’ve otherwise been considered in-stream video was categorized as out-stream inventory. Many buyers only buy inventory classified as in-stream, so this reclassification became a threat to publisher revenue. 

This also left companies in a gray area; for some, their inventory didn’t fall into either one of the existing definitions. 

Ad tech companies, including Primis, struggled in this in-between to understand where their inventory fit. In response, Primis developed Primis Next, a video discovery technology built to serve relevant content to users, but that the IAB definitions labeled as out-stream, placing it in the same category as other products that do not run alongside content.

One of the most significant changes of 2023 is the recent release of new definitions to address the variety of video formats more effectively. The new specifications will add a layer of transparency to the programmatic supply chain and help marketers purchase video inventory more efficiently and accurately. While this change is a net positive, publishers and exchanges must prepare their resources to shift their strategies in response. The cost of in-stream video is sure to rise due to the new specifications, putting it at a premium level above the rest.

Driving efficiency and value with SPO is increasingly critical

Supply path optimization is already important and becoming increasingly critical to publishers, but it means something different to every company and is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Many companies have been investing heavily in SPO for years already. Companies that evaluate their needs, know how to ebb and flow in this evolving landscape, and adjust their strategies accordingly are the ones that thrive. 

The challenge in SPO for publishers is evaluating the bang for their buck. Every organization on either end of the ad tech supply chain measures its efficiency by understanding what makes them achieve its goals faster, cheaper and more effectively. Though working with intermediaries might not be the most direct route from Point A to Point B, if they optimize processes, add valuable services or products or maximize potential revenue, adding a few more links to a path is better than sacrificing them for a shortcut. Aiming for the most direct path while ensuring every member of the supply path brings value is the ultimate goal. 

The digital video landscape is evolving, and changing standards and technological innovations on the horizon will be challenging to navigate but will present publishers with new opportunities. All of these changes, along with the massive growth of CTV view time, will present an opportunity to strengthen the supply chain while still giving users the video experience they love. From walled gardens to the open web, video has been on the rise and will continue to be a prosperous revenue stream for publishers this year.

Sponsored by Primis

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