PALM SPRINGS, Calif – Like many adtech companies, AppNexus had long supported video. Two years ago, it decided to lean into the winds of change roiling the television industry by investing in its own video demand-side platform, supply-side platform and ad server.
“The cool thing is it’s working,” says CEO Brian O’Kelley.
That turns out to be an understatement considering that AppNexus is now one of the world’s largest video platforms. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company signed as clients three of the biggest media companies in the world. From January 2017 to January 2018, its video spend was up 260%.
“So we saw this explosion of our video marketplace,” O’Kelley explains in this interview with Beet.TV at the Annual Leadership Conference of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Besides working directly with premium publishers—more than 150 using the AppNexus Video SSP—one advantage has been its decision to charge “a very low take rate,” which O’Kelley pegs at “half of what the other video SSP’s charge.”
One thing has led to another, and now AppNexus is taking a closer look at the linear TV space.
“A year ago, I’d have said there’s no way we’re going to touch linear, but I’m increasingly of the opinion that these worlds are converging so quickly that there’s actually a huge opportunity,” O’Kelley adds.
Some of the company’s biggest buyers are asking it to integrate with linear TV platforms. “And I think if we do that we can provide a holistic way to help these brands transition from linear to digital and help curate a digital environment that feels a lot more like TV in the sense of high quality content.”
He sees the company’s role as being able to provide “an alternative for Keith Reed or Unilever to a platform like Facebook or YouTube, where there’s really no way to know what’s going to happen next.”
His rationale: “Can you really afford to have your ad appear next to somebody who’s tasering rats on his balcony? That’s just not good for your brand, I don’t care what brand you are. Maybe if you’re a taser brand.”
While broadcast will always be different from addressable, one-to-one programmatic, where those worlds are converging is that “we’re having more and more capabilities, especially through IP and set-top boxes, to sort of bridge that gap. We can do insertions for more and more content down to the set-top, household level.”
He believes the United States is just three or four years from reaching the point where linear TV is in, say, the Netherlands, where “it’s just gone completely off the cliff. So I want to be ready. And I think to be ready we have to start helping those companies transition to programmatic and then to start shifting more and more to an audience-targeted model.”
This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.