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Beachfront Brings OTT Programmatic to VOD: Interview with Founder Frank Sinton

Beachfront “aims to solve the biggest technological hurdles inhibiting OTT and linear TV programmatic advertising.” And that isn’t just tech jargon from a startup new to video. A decade ago, the company had the foresight to build its publisher and MVPD-side platform to embrace the disparate technologies and interfaces deployed across legacy set-top boxes, streaming peripherals and smart TVs. The ability to bring modern demand sources to legacy MVPD playout environments affords Beachfront the opportunity to solve an under-addressed problem for MVPDs and cable networks — unlocking valuable TV VOD inventory by way of a programmatic environment so that TV buying and selling can tap into the efficiencies of programmatic, while maintaining the access and controls of traditional TV buying.

“MVPDs and TV networks are staring at a large white space in VOD where inventory outside the C3 window is severely undervalued, leaving millions of dollars on the table,” Beachfront president and founder Frank Sinton says. “Those days are over. An advertiser can now set a TV campaign live and have it delivering on a TV show in a legacy VOD environment within 15 minutes. We see a world, sooner rather than later, where a buyer can purchase across VOD, linear and OTT, with one buy and one set of metrics.”

To access VOD DAI inventory, Beachfront’s platform integrates with the MVPDs’ dynamic ad insertion technology stack and CDN, bringing the sort of real-time high-performance delivery to TV VOD that you’d typically expect in digital. “VOD DAI inventory can now be bought and sold the same way that OTT is, adds Sinton. “And while programmatic advertising has been absent from the legacy TV landscape, we are already experiencing MVPD adoption and seeing more adopting it in the next year or so. MVPDs are looking for supplemental income outside of subscription revenue. Programmatic, especially for under-sold networks and regions, just makes sense.”

Frank Sinton

What is your company doing to transform TV advertising?

Beachfront has put in years of development work to engineer a supply-side platform (SSP) technology that enables premium video monetization by selling and placing advertising across screens from OTT to VOD, and soon linear TV.

What are the opportunities for your company in OTT Advertising?

Given the achievement of scale — delivering more than 1 billion video ad impressions per month — and proprietary OTT technology, Beachfront has the opportunity to be the de facto video technology and advanced TV advertising infrastructure for video advertising and distribution for MVPD VOD and for connected TV across Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and advanced TV advertising on set-top boxes.

What’s wrong with the conversation right now?

Legacy VOD DAI has, to date, been under- monetized due to siloed and non-standard workflows. By leveraging the workflows and demand channels established for OTT, MVPDs and their network affiliates can seamlessly package OTT and VOD DAI together, bringing ultra premium inventory and robust scale to programmatic demand partners. The ultimate goal should be to have a world where a buyer can buy across linear and OTT with a single campaign and one set of metrics.

Where are the biggest challenges for the industry?

The TV industry needs to adopt digital mindsets to stay competitive for brands. That means it needs to move faster, deliver ads against better targets and cut through the red tape that has historically created systemic friction between stakeholders in the ad systems.

What percentage of TV advertising will become addressable by 2020?

The percentage today is around 2%. If we are able to link addressable TV advertising to business outcomes, this will accelerate. We are very bullish that Beachfront and others can solve this and get to the point of 10% addressable and perhaps more in the next few years, especially once advertisers see that they can include VOD in the mix.

Who wins and who loses (one sentence each)?

› Who wins? Anyone who migrates away from a walled garden approach.

› Who loses? Anyone who decides to obfuscate data and maintain a walled garden approach.

What development do you think is most important to watch right now?

On the technology side, what we’re doing to allow programmatic access to VOD inventory. That means an advertiser can set a TV campaign to “live” and have it running in a legacy VOD environment within 15 minutes. We think VOD is going to be the bridge between legacy linear and OTT.

On the consumer side, aggregation of content is still king, such as what Roku Channel, PlutoTV, and TubiTV are doing. Consumers want convenience.

How will the world of MVPDs change over the next five years?

You will see MVPDs act more like Roku and vMVPDs. They will start offering more options as the market dictates simpler video with anytime, everywhere type of solutions based around their massive VOD libraries. MVPDs will also start to embrace programmatic video advertising in 2019 as they will look for supplemental income outside of subscription. In five years, it will be hard to tell the difference between MVPDs and vMVPDs. MVPDs will have the advantage over the newcomers if they act fast before too many subscribers are lost.

How do you see 1-to-1 marketing happen in the world of OTT?

OTT will continue to be household-based until the bigger OTT players begin allowing for greater personalization, such as what Netflix does when they ask who is watching when you launch the app. Mobile will play a big role in making 1-to-1 marketing happen as consumers continue to want flexibility in their viewing habits and MVPDs, vMVPDs and others allow cross-device watching.

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