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VIZIO Ads Delivers on Direct-to-Device [VIDEO]

Let’s say you’re a Smart TV manufacturer. You see that streaming is on its way to becoming a major form of delivery for visual media—including advertising. You’ve got plenty of opportunities for advertisers to deliver their messaging via your Smart TVs, and can offer these opportunities with a side of addressable. Naturally, you’d start to bring the selling of these opportunities in-house.

That’s just what VIZIO has done with VIZIO Ads, its new-ish ad sales unit. Adam Bergman, VP Sales for VIZIO Ads, sees this as a major step forward in the evolution of OTT advertising. Bergman sat down with TV[R]EV to discuss the possibilities of this kind of direct-to-device advertising. Watch the video now, or read a transcript of our interview below.

TV[R]EV: Why did VIZIO get into the advertising business?

Adam Bergman: VIZIO Ads is a new business unit that we’ve set up underneath the VIZIO umbrella. There’s a massive consumer shift into streaming and over the top content consumption. VIZIO Ads is a marketplace that we’re creating so the media and ad buying community can work with us directly to access OTT inventory across our footprint of televisions. Inserting ads inside of ad supported streaming applications, native ads on the platform, really bringing a cohesive strategy to both our hardware footprint, our data business with our partners at Inscape and the overall consumer experience that we’ve been building.

How do brands know what they’re buying on OTT?

AB: I think intuitively every marketer knows that OTT is a growing media channel that they need to either be keeping their eye on or investing heavily, depending on the brand. That means the aggregator community has gotten really big, really vast, and I think there’s been some discomfort in the OTT space from brand advertisers and agencies. Am I getting what I’m buying?

The impetus for starting a direct to device business here at VIZIO is to give brands that come buying from us directly—building a soup-to-nuts planning, buying and measurement story that’s become really powerful. So there’s a comfort and a trust in going direct-to-device and we’ve seen that shift take place over the last year or two.

Who is buying direct-to-device?

AB: You know, there’s really two different sets of advertisers who have been spending in OTT: Heavy TV advertisers that are thinking about how they need to adapt to a changing linear world, and then you have digital-first advertisers who recognize that this is an amazing platform with huge targeting capabilities, and they want to be wrapping it to a digital strategy. And to be honest, the conversation has been really exciting. The agency community has been super enthusiastic about what we’re up to.

Is VIZIO working directly with brands?

AB: As we’re seeing more and more brands bring buying expertise in house, we’re having a lot of conversations at brands directly, if anything just to create a starting point in a relationship. We are a brand, we are a consumer brand, we have our own brand marketing capabilities and strategies. So it allows us to really relate as a brand marketer. And then those brands that are buying in-house, we’re making our inventory and our data and our measurement available to them. Oftentimes, we’re working in concert with both the brand and the agency, all three parties at the table together.