Sizmek re-enters TV ad space with an Advanced TV Initiative

The ad platform is now providing planning, deployment and reporting to connected, addressable and linear TV as it expands beyond web and in-app ads.

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Ad platform Sizmek has announced it is re-entering the TV ad arena, with the first steps toward a unified demand-side platform (DSP) that includes connected, addressable and linear TV.

What this means for Sizmek: In 2014, the Austin, Texas-based Sizmek sold its television ad distribution business, DG MediaMind, which offered conventional TV ads. Since then, its DSP — now based on its acquisition last year of ad optimization platform RocketFuel — has focused mostly on display ads for desktop web, various web ad formats for mobile and some in-app ads, with TV ads only offered in customized campaigns.

To provide the inventory for its Advanced TV Initiative, Sizmek has partnered with Telaria and Spotx for CTV and OTT and Comcast-owned Freewheel for addressable.

Connected TV, in Sizmek’s usage of the term, includes Over-the-Top TV ad-based services like Sony’s Crackle. Addressable TV is entirely focused on video-on-demand, providing ads when you watch, say, NBC’s “This Is Us” on demand, two weeks after it was originally broadcast.

Product Management Managing Director Hardeep Bindra said that Sizmek, with its inventory and channel partners, now has access to all remnant inventory for linear TV, some prime time linear, all of connected TV and about 60 to 65 percent of addressable, primarily in North America at the moment.

What this means for multichannel advertisers: Addressable and CTV ads can now be planned and deployed from the Sizmek DSP. Viewer targeting utilizes IP addresses, Bindra said, or it can employ device graphs. A brand might bring cookie or mobile device info for its customers, for instance, and then find the accompanying addressable or CTV TVs/set-tops through Sizmek’s own device graphs, matched up with partners like identity providers Tapad or LiveRamp.

Linear TV ads, which Bindra described as “still a broken experience,” are planned and delivered through channel partners. The innovation there, he said, is reporting within 24 hours via an API, compared to the three to 12 days it otherwise takes for linear ad reports.

The Sizmek announcement represents the beginning of that firm’s ramp up for TV ads, with a complete implementation expected by year’s end. It currently has one attribution partner and is in the process of getting more, Bindra said, and the company’s reach — currently focused on US homes — will expand to international markets.

The differentiators: As TV ads become a standard part of DSP’s scope, the key question is how ad platforms will differentiate their approaches.

Bindra points to such developing differentiators as the speed of reporting for linear and other channels, the simplification of linear ad planning, the integration of simplified attribution — always an issue when it comes to TV ads — and the use of AI to optimize budget spend across inventory in real time, as response patterns to given campaigns become evident.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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