NAB Show Preview: Broadcasters look for new monetization strategies

By Dak Dillon | April 8, 2024

As the broadcast industry converges on Las Vegas for the 2024 NAB Show, one theme is emerging as a top priority: monetization. With linear TV revenue declining and connected TV (CTV) growth yet to yield sustainable profits, media companies seek innovative solutions to maximize their advertising potential across multiple platforms.

“The most pressing issue that media companies face today is that their audience has fragmented ‒ causing dramatic changes in long-established business models while opening up new monetization opportunities,” said Steve Reynolds, president of Imagine Communications. “This trend is irreversible and will continue to dominate the industry for the foreseeable future.”

Allan Nicholson, head of advertising solutions at Harmonic, noted the critical demand for innovative monetization approaches in the video streaming space.

“Service providers want to boost their monetization while at the same time enhancing streaming experiences for subscribers,” said Nicholson. “We’re seeing new ad formats and AI-augmented video streaming emerge as a way to drive monetization and deliver an outstanding quality of experience.”

Reaggregating audiences for Total TV

“The industry is navigating challenging business models as linear TV revenue declines and CTV’s growth has yet to yield sustainable profits,” said Reynolds.

To address this challenge, Imagine Communications advocates for a converged model called Total TV, which brings together the entire audience across multiple platforms. “Creating a trading and execution platform that reaggregates impressions so that they can be sold as segments, cohorts and audiences is the first step to building the value of CTV inventory,” explained Reynolds.

Making CTV more like linear television

In addition to reaggregating audiences, media companies are also looking to make CTV more like linear TV in terms of ad sales.

“By enabling digital to be sold like linear — with broadcast-quality rules and brand protection — we are strengthening our customers’ ability to sell inventory in a direct but automated way, which is the key to maximizing CTV revenue,” said Reynolds.

Paul Davies, head of marketing at YoSpace, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of delivering the best ad product possible.

“When it comes to advertising and SSAI, the key is for providers to deliver ad targeting at scale, a great viewer experience and transparent, real-time metrics for advertisers,” said Davies. “If they do that then they can compete with other digital marketing channels and bring more budget into the CTV marketplace, especially from ecommerce where Amazon Prime has the power to draw advertisers to CTV for the first time.”

Shifting priorities in streaming

While audience fragmentation and new ad sales models are top of mind for many media companies, the business of streaming has also undergone a radical change in recent years.

“The business of streaming has radically changed, with priorities shifting from pure subscriber acquisition to securing profitability,” said Paolo Cuttorelli, SVP of global sales at Evergent. “However, escalating content costs, high churn rates and, until recently, a lack of advertising revenue have made it difficult to make streaming pay.”

Streaming businesses are turning to new monetization and subscriber engagement tactics to address these challenges.

“Streaming businesses need to tackle churn before it even happens,” said Cuttorelli. “That means spotting which subscribers might be about to default on payments, or which sports fans are likely to cancel their service after the regular season ends, so that you can offer an alternative such as a season pass or pause and resume capabilities.”

The future of video distribution

As media companies navigate the challenges of audience fragmentation and profitability, they are also looking to new technologies and methodologies to stay ahead of the curve.

“The industry is currently in a transitional phase, as media brands look to capitalize on growing audiences and an abundance of viewing platforms while also juggling cost management and profitability,” said Nadia Khan, CMO of LTN. “At NAB Show, LTN will share insight into new IP video distribution methodologies that enable media organizations to stay ahead of the curve.”

Khan also emphasized the importance of reliability, visibility and transparency in video distribution. “As a leading managed services provider, LTN understands that media organizations require greater reliability, visibility and transparency,” said Khan. “LTN doesn’t take this responsibility lightly and we will spotlight how we have been developing more powerful and intuitive monitoring, tooling and dashboards to ensure proactive diagnosing and rapid resolution.”

“Advancements in hyper-personalization for live sports streaming will be a trend at this year’s NAB Show,” said Nicholson. “At the NAB Show, we’re excited to unveil a new state-of-the-art advertising innovation for Harmonic’s award-winning VOS 360 Ad SaaS, specifically for sports streaming. With this new capability, we’re amping up advertising opportunities by creating new advertising inventory with a higher CPM for service providers, while preserving fan engagement.”

“As the foundation of traditional linear broadcasting continues to fracture, audiences will continue to migrate toward short-form or mobile-based viewing. These market dynamics now compel businesses to find more creative ways to monetize content, either through personalization or collaborative partnerships,” said Chris Wilson, head or product marketing, MediaKind.

As the NAB Show 2024 approaches, it’s clear that broadcast monetization will be a key theme for media companies looking to navigate the challenges of audience fragmentation, new business models and profitability in the streaming age.

From reaggregating audiences for Total TV to making CTV more linear and from new monetization and subscriber engagement tactics to the future of video distribution, the industry is poised for significant change and innovation.

Original published article featured in NewsCast Studio