Racing to Win the Next Generation of TV Ads

TV ads, Next Generation

As television advertising gets smarter, digital ad companies are seen moving towards this space. There is a struggle to gain control of the ad serving for data-driven TV campaigns. Broadcasters and digital ad platforms like Amazon and Google are fiercely competing with each other and also with a new set of OTT and CTV players to capture the TV and video ad serving landscape.

Some of the players leading the way in this field are:

Google Ad Manager

YouTube now accounts for over 10% of all online video streaming. This puts it ahead of Amazon or Hulu, and Google Ad Manager (GAM) already serves many mobile video ads. Since YouTube can only be accessed with Google tech, this gives the company a head start. Google has added its supply-side video ad server to its broadcast inventory that includes CBS, Lifetime, and even Disney.

Entertainment studios spend heavily for search ads and YouTube as they can target people who are watching trailers and looking up for nearby movies. For these studios, Google makes a captivating pitch to broadcast media as it can bundle cloud services, analytics, data, and ad serving across video and search.

Comcast’s FreeWheel

FreeWheel, with its broadcast network inventory, utilizes data-driven targeting as the audience comes from set-top boxes. With clients like Fox, Viacom, and Turner; FreeWheel serves almost half of its inventory to TVs, either with video-on-demand (VOD) or an OTT device. FreeWheel is now testing ad insertion in live TV feeds.

While some networks are not willing to join Comcast, many legacy TV rivals increasingly see themselves as partners in a larger fight with digital platforms.


Though Amazon does not have broadcaster clients, the company has created more OTT and video supply for itself at a much faster pace. In October 2018, the Fire TV publishers saw updated terms where they are now required to pay 30% of all ad impressions to Amazon. The company also dropped the ad-free subscription for Twitch, which pushed more ads on video game streamers. This year, Amazon launched a Freedive, an ad-supported OTT channel that is operated by IMDb.

Since Amazon owns Fire TV, the tech giant has its own content and also the data of the audience and its consumption. Experts feel that this would be a long-term concern for any media competitor to expose their inventory like that.


INVIDI targets ads via satellite TV services and set-top boxes. The company works with TV networks and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including AT&T’s DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon Fios. Since the MVPD pipes allow networks to insert commercials during a linear TV feed, it becomes a meaningful way to generate value for TV networks.

Since INVIDI is strictly a technology company; advertisers need TV networks aggregated to de-duplicate audiences and control for frequency. INVIDI’s main competitor in dynamic linear TV ad insertion is FreeWheel owned, Visible World.

Though broadcast networks and tech companies like take most of the video ad growth, other companies hold potential. Last year Telaria soft and SpotX launched a supply-side ad server. But these companies work with smaller video players.

Another potential ad server is Nielsen that acquired the content recognition firm Gracenote in 2017, and can now allow dynamic ad insertion in smart TVs.

With technology advancements in TV and broadcast like dynamic ad insertion, it won’t be long when TV is again a platform which marketers cannot ignore.