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SVP, Global Sales & Marketing at Canoe Ventures
Chris Pizzurro is a leader in innovative sales with 33 years of experience in national media. He is the SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at Canoe Ventures, an advertising technology company based in Lakewood, Colorado that works with television networks. In addition to this, he serves as an Advisory Board Member at BWG Connect, a Board Member at eSports Ad Bureau, and a Board Advisor at Vupulse.
Chris has kept his focus on traditional TV marketing and digital media advertising throughout his career. Some of his notable achievements include an Emmy award, CableFAX award, and an award nomination for a Webby.
CEO at BWG Strategy LLC
BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.
Prioritizing media marketing is a no-brainer for many companies — especially since the start of COVID-19, when video and television became the main avenue for many people’s entertainment consumption. VOD and TV advertising has grown to meet the rising demand, but there’s a lot more to successful media marketing than simply buying the space; getting the most out of your investment takes research, strategy, and experience.
Chris Pizzurro applies his 33 years in the industry to help both brands and networks excel in their media marketing strategies. He works for Canoe Ventures, an agency that delivers and monitors advertising for VOD platforms. They know the ins and outs of the digital media ecosystem and have adapted to the rapidly-changing landscape — in other words, they are the experts on modern media marketing. Today, Chris will use some of his tried-and-true strategies to guide companies through the world of media marketing.
Bill Williams hosts a video advertising Q&A with Chris Pizzurro, the SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at Canoe Ventures. Chris takes questions from other advertising professionals and dives in-depth on emerging trends in VOD and streaming platforms. They break down the business and technical obstacles, SSPs and DSPs, and how data is being used to more accurately target demographics.
Bill Williams 0:18
Bill Williams with BWG, the Founder of the company, we started in June of 2013. So it's been eight years, Chris Pizzurro honored and proud to call him a friend and been one of our best contributors from the content across all of our event types, literally since day one. Chris has tremendous tenure and experience across the programming and paid media against that, with his time at the Turner's and then currently as SVP Global Sales and Marketing at Canoe, we do want to make this highly value add and engaged conversation for the next 60 minutes. So we do encourage live questions by pressing star five, or you can email RSVP@bwgstrategy.com. And I want to make this once again, I want everyone to get at a minimum ROI on their time by hearing some great, great perspectives as well as learnings about Canoe and how to potentially monetize and partner alongside of them. So let's get going here. So, Chris, Chris Pizzurro are looking forward to this as always my friend. For those that are not familiar with yourself in Canoe, spend a minute or two on yourself and then give us two to three minutes on Canoe as far as structuring who can do is for those that are not intimate. Thank you, as always.
Chris Pizzurro 1:51
Yeah, sure thing Bill. Good morning. Thank you, as always, Hello, everyone. Pleasure to actually speak to for myself, as Bill mentioned, I spent 13 years really learning the business at Turner Broadcasting Sales, both in New York and Atlanta, mainly on revenue generation of new platforms. So for all of us that remember, broadband video was that was called maybe 15 years ago, and then moving on to VOD, also working on the linear side of optimizing linear inventory, so has very much been on the programmer side. And then 10 some odd years ago, moved over to Canoe to stand up what was called dynamic that searching on VOB. So for Canoe, we set up the first what is now called a VOD ecosystem. And we did that with set top box VOD. Today, that platform enables and supports over 100 TV networks. And they are inserting ads and promos on to their programs across 38 million households in the US, so that's across Comcast, Cox, charter and frontier. So let's just say for example, you're AMC, you put the Walking Dead up on Comcast, VOD, consumer goes to watch that they see an ad that's playing out. That ad is sold by the National AMC sales team. And that entire ecosystem has been enabled, stood up and monitored and reported by the Canoe ecosystem. So Canoe, AVOD is a premium TV fraud free ad environment that we have set up within this environment. Today, in the last few years, you know, that's opening up to a whole bunch of things. So for instance, you know, it's not your set top box VOD anymore. If you're a consumer, you say, Well, you know, I've got charter VOD, but I don't want to watch that on my in my home. I want to watch that on the charter spectrum. Athan, you know, my ski house in Vermont, if we are so fortunate to have one of those. And so the consumer would be able to have that spectrum app on you know, some sort of streaming device. And that same situation would happen, the AMC Walking Dead would play out the ad would play in and that would go through the through the Canoe ecosystem also. So essentially, we are in mainly started in the AVOD. And now branching out to a whole bunch of other areas built but that's that's essentially the main value proposition of where the company has been.
Bill Williams 4:48
Understood and how much in whether it's 2020 or the trend line for 2021. How much? How much how many ad dollars paid. media are going against your available impressions. So the crusher a body ecosystem, currently.
Chris Pizzurro 5:07
yes. So yeah, in so the last full year in 2020, which is of course was an odd year for everyone. But we had 26 billion ad impressions, you'd add in person impressions directly executed on the system. So that generated as far as total marketplace, it's about $1.5 billion marketplace and AVOD for our version of AVOD that we produce. And you go back, though, he said, when you started your company, and we started doing Canoe VOD, now, that number was $0. So we'll Fast Forward ahead, you know, 1013 years, and we've built now $1.5 billion marketplace, and just our version of AVOD alone.
Bill Williams 5:53
Got a great, just so everyone is aware, whether you've dialed in late or or early. Chris is going to give some view on the market. You know, I'm going to go through five or six questions with them. And then since so many of you that are listening are across a specific part of the martech loom escape, specifically ssps and DSPs. We're going to spend a lot of time on understanding how can you works with both SSPs and DSPs? And what that onboarding process looks like, what's the monetization opportunity? And once again, happy to make any connections to christen team, you know, post event where appropriate, but to help set the stage here, Chris? You know, what is TBB One looking like coming out of COVID here, right with TV defined as premium video viewings across linear VOD and streaming. So the full arm, you know, omni channel of video, what are the what are the trend lines that you're observing?
Chris Pizzurro 6:56
Yeah, sure. I mean, coming out of COVID. You know, this isn't just me speaking, you can look anywhere right TV viewing for premium video platforms, right. So when you take into consideration, linear VOD streaming, we are at an all time high, where people were forced to be home and, and find new avenues of video viewing. So it's been a it's been a robust time for for viewing over the past year. So people were home doing COVID. They found these platforms, they found shows, and they found value in these shows, really, as evidenced by many new shows across the broadcast, cable and streaming are being renewed for another season. Right. You just saw peacock just pre greenlit some programs. CBS broadcast is greenlit season two. So yeah, the trend line is is viewing is up and consumers finding value. Really that balance? Right? Certainly, you know, streaming is taking from some linear, but it's also having folks find some shows on linear as a promotional vehicle. So there's a lot of push and pull happening, but certainly across linear VOD and streaming TV dealing is is up.
Bill Williams 8:15
Understood. And with the blurring of the lines of you know, programming, whether it's broadcast cable now whether it's AVOD, SVOD, etc. What is all this meant for advertising monetization? You know, across these different AVOD channels, right? Whether it's whether it's whether it's what you specifically do, whether it's the whole CTV ecosystem, that's part of all discussions, what is all this change in fragmentation of viewing behaviors and then stalled pay TV baseman for the actual allocation of those dollars across different available impressions to serve against?
Chris Pizzurro 8:57
Yeah. Great, great question, from from where I sit, right, I have the advantage of sitting in the middle and talking with 100 some odd programmers who speak to, you know, 1000s of advertisers and their agencies. So I have the fortunate position of getting to see a lot. And, and really, what I'm finding for middle there is absolutely a TD multi platform strategy that the media plans and the ad buys are including linear plus VOD, plus streaming. The buyers need multi platform to get the reach they need, right to have to assemble the reach. And sellers need to do multi platform to deliver on the ad impressions, right? They've taken this money in they need. So you've seen that message even in the last week, come from NBC and from Disney and they're upfront negotiations and saying Oh, Their deals are including linear and VOD and streaming is truly a multi platform. Example. So, for example, if you look at VOD viewing, you have Comcast set top box, VOD platform where we're comprised of cord users who still find convenience with their cable operators video subscription service, right? So if you subscribe to Comcast, you get Comcast VOD, if you subscribe to Cox, you get Cox VOD. So there's folks who still find value in that and as evidenced by our our VOD impressions, you know, they're still very high. So some consumers, as much as there's press about cord cutters and cord, Nevers and all that that's absolutely true. But there's still a boatload of folks who just want to squeeze as much value as they can be cord users, right. So you know, we've got him over on the Canoe side. And there's a tremendous amount of VOD viewing and ad opportunities that are that are happening. So, a good amount of these people are not watching the same programs as cord nevers using the streaming platform. So by having set up as VOD and streaming and live on the media plan, and by the buyers, again, the unique reach that they need for their clients, media plans, and the sellers are delivering on the ad impressions that they promised. Right? So well, company, Dumpty kind of fell off the wall, you know, the big reach TV, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and his his pieces broke off everywhere. And now you're you're seeing, you know, folks do for the past few years that they needed to put the pieces back together. But what you truly see this year, coming out of COVID is just that situation being exasperated, and all your major media companies and buyers are saying, Okay, this is the way it's going to be. And I need to put strategies and systems in place to be able to have linear VOD and streaming on eBuy happen consistently. And with quality. That's, that's really what I've seen coming out of COVID. In the last few months, Bill is just this, you know, they knew it before. But now this realization of Okay, this is the way the world is, and this is the way it's going to remain. And I need to execute knowing this in mind.
So what what are the most interesting tidbits Chris, that you have? Relative to upfronts? You know, so if I'm praying, so really, you know, there's new prompts, there's that prompts people are really telling is telling across channels. What are some of the most interesting things you heard? I know, when you and I spoke in preparation for this a bit Yesterday, you said, Hey, a leading programmer, you know, is driving to restaurants within 10% year over year increase in CPMs, which has been the same playbook, you know, you know, for quite some time and you and I discussed, essentially saying, you know, new collectible, even we collectively agreed a lot, but they're still very hard to replicate the scale that happens. But all that being said, we're a scale that can be had through, you know, the linear reach. What are the most Give me those sort of the biggest, most interesting tidbits out of the upfronts that you're hearing whether it's from programmers from agencies that collect the poll on pricing, or total dollars.
Chris Pizzurro 13:36
Yeah, so I even this morning, well, CCW announced the beginning, whatever it is Monday that they said they were done with upfront and there was double digit increase Disney and NBC just reported this morning, I believe, double digit increase in C and CPM. And know the reason for that certainly last year, was was an interesting year is a bit of a reset. that things were either flat or purchasing just, you know, obviously good reasons for that. But what has changed in the last years with so many of the traditional programmers, they bought up the CTD assets or over the past year or so right? Pluto went to Viacom and TV went to Fox and Disney consolidated around Hulu and Disney Plus right so you use saw the traditional programmers just like years ago, where the broadcaster's started to buy up, cable systems or cable program right so NBC went out and bought an old Bravo USA. They didn't always own Bravo, USA, they went out bought Bravo, USA. So you see that same situation happening again. Where will NBC be NBC broadcast and then they had Bravo and USA and now they've launched Peacock. So it's a continuing effort to kind of show Up there video investments. So what that does is it has control over the supply. So there's supply and demand remains with these traditional programmers because your videos really hard to do. So therefore, with the viewing being strong, I see CPMs being strong below and I, you know, you and I spoke about that a few few months ago, and certainly this week, that's the case. So, because there is still a supply and demand scenario, within video, because it's hard to do quality video, and because of the fact of the traditional programmers have now are including the CTV platforms, in their overall buys, they will continue to get the lion's share of the video investment revenue. And we'll be able to play to getting full value for those investments. So that's kind of where we're sitting as of even this morning.
Bill Williams 16:13
So just details that for me a little bit. If, if someone's committed in front dollars, what do you mean, they're getting the CTV impressions as part of their upfront buy? Just walk me through that?
Chris Pizzurro 16:31
Sure. So you know, there could be, there could be a hybrid investment basically made by the buyer, and it says, okay, hey, hey, AMC Walking Dead, I'm gonna give you a pile of money. And I want to play out my ad wherever Walking Dead is playing out. So that may be on your linear channel that may be on your Canoe cable, VOD, that may be on your streaming service. That's just the perfect situation of Okay. Well, it's going to play out in any one of those three scenarios. And as an AMC, as long as you make sure that that's happening. And that's the case, and you report back to me in an easy fashion that, you know, that's the behavior. Most buyers are operating in that capacity today. So you say see the same thing with NBC and we're going to do a buy across NBC broadcast that will play out on to new cable, VOD will also play out on t cos, it will also play out on a number of TV platforms that they that they may have. So it's it's really what's being called a whole bunch of things, you know, cross platform, buy whatever it may be a hybrid buy. But essentially, it's the ability for the programmer to be able to find the association that the buyer wants, anywhere within their ad inventory portfolio.
Bill Williams 18:01
So what is the you know, are the CPM increases double digits being rationalized? Despite pay TV sub basis and grps that are steamed aggregation rather than increases? Is it being driven by there's just a a smaller, you know, a small, your smaller PTB base and hence less than, you know, available impressions to serve against and the demand hasn't changed? Like, what's the, what's the, what's your rationale for programmers still to be getting double digit CPM increases? Where is it and then inclusion of some of these CPV assets, what's you know, what's really driving the programmers ability to get these increases in video?
Chris Pizzurro 18:47
It starts with the quality programming. Because, well, if the if, if the programming is not quality associated that the brand wants, then nothing's going to happen. So it starts with quality programming. And that's difficult to make, right? It's not easy to make a TV show. So that's number one. It's the quality of the product. And then certainly, it is, like I mentioned previously built in this case, it's it is supply and demand. Currently, I'm sure there's folks on the line and they'll they may be starting up their own VOD service and I'm sure the date no or think they have quality programming, all of those things. So, you know, it is it is just a matter of, of supply and demand. And until, until there is a viable alternative to that. And certainly, we saw a Pluto or Hulu you know being a viable alternative. And that's why the major media companies bought them up. Right just don't make sense. So you know, now you like I said, You're still in control of that supply and demand scenario, so where that where that leaves for, you know, the kind of smaller players is, there's always been a place for alternatives, you know, for years when cable was an alternative to broadcast. And mainly it was, you know if you can produce quality programming and get it out there and prove that it's stable, and it's quality and reliable and a whole bunch of things. And you can offer a price point, that puts a little bit of check to a double digit CPM, right. So if you're, you know, if you're another video outlet, and you have quality programming, and you can get to those buyers, and you can say, you know, I can do this for a single digit increase or show whatever it may be, then that makes sense when the agency works on a CPM, or an effective CPM, which basically is just the average of what they're paying over here with that. So long way of saying, though, you know, until there's more viable options, putting more ad impressions into the ecosystem, then supply and demand is just going to dictate that TPMs will remain high.
Bill Williams 21:18
And even more simply put, they're getting it because they can.
Chris Pizzurro 21:25
More simply, you're getting it because, sure the day you can't, you know, that's business.
Bill Williams 21:29
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Got it. So, you know, you know, for years, obviously, to see the networks that Canoe has support is sold, set out by, say, VOD inventory, through direct sales teams, but based upon all of our conversations that's in the process or more in the process is changing. And things are actually opening up to ssps and DSPs. Who is that's who we have as our audience, you know, on this, you know, on this call here, so is that, in fact, the case? If yes, when and when and how, and then I think it would be a great time just to get right into after you answer that. How does an SSP and a DSP actually work with Canoe? Give the use cases?
Chris Pizzurro 22:23
Yeah. So go back to sort of the earlier premise bill, and that is every major media company agency, everyone's sitting back going, Oh my god, okay. Linear VOD streaming, hybrid multi platform. This is TV now, this is the way it is. Therefore, I need to arrange my backroom, my technology moving forward for the next 10/15 years geared towards this. So a lot of enough work to do in the background and helping pay TV operators or programmers just just put their back room and helping them and and have that play on what that means to in that process. A lot of these folks have said, well wait a minute. As long as I'm sort of adjusting my campaign manager my ad decision and you know, my tech stack, as long as I'm playing with my, my campaign manager. Inherent a lot of those systems are now SSP supplied by platform, right. So if you're FreeWheel, a company that supplies campaign manager ABS tools to the programmers to book hybrid VOD buys, you now have a programmatic map module that's available in FreeWheel as a tool as a selling tool for those programs that they service. If you're the folks that Beachfront, you have the same thing. You have a campaign manager, you have an ABS, you have an SSP, it's just sort of now inherent in your product. So Canoe saw that as an opportunity, and also having our programmers who we service right those 100 some odd network say to us, hey, we would like to open up this inventory to these other selling channels. for a few different reasons. One, there are certainly seasonality and peak times where we would just want to be able to fill in that surge in viewing we may not have anticipated it. So want to just automatically programmatically fill in, you know, to that inventory playing out. We also have situations where if we could do this in a programmatic guarantee, fashions or PG fashion programmatically. That's just efficient for us. Also, right if I'm putting in this tech stack, that's supposed to make my life easier now booking a campaign and having to play across VOD. Linear and streaming? Well, it's inherent in that is the tool to just set this up and do this on a programmatic guarantee. Way, then sure, I should take advantage of that. So there's a couple reasons, right, it's efficiency in terms of their operational efficiencies. And it's being to take advantage of peak viewing times that they may not have anticipated. So that's kind of a setup bill. So what we've been doing is, we've been working with two ssps. One from FreeWheel in one something tried to access this TV networks ad inventory on the new platform. So we've been testing with these ssps, we've had eight DSPs test and plug in, in some form or fashion. In q1, we ran about 25 campaigns across a dozen networks or so. So we got the wheels on the bus in terms of ssps talking to DSPs. And now the capabilities expanding out for more TV networks, and some more DSPs. So we're excited to see, you know, get the wheels on the bus and start doing it. And then, you know, that's my earlier point on multi platform unique reach. So now, you know just like for a traditional buyer for a DSP, who traditionally may block by streaming cord, Nevers and you, DSP certainly do that day in and day out, you got those streamers. Now by adding set top box, a nod the core users to that by Well, you're going to gain unique reach, which everyone is always looking for unique reach. So we think there's a, you know, we think there's a win win here, really, for everyone, from the programmers and the DSPs and ssps to enable this test to happen. So we're, it's a good one, and we're early days, but excited to see it grow.
Bill Williams 27:02
Excellent. We're starting to get some wide questions here. Let's go to Paul Giacomo. He's a VP of partnerships, contracts and vendor management, probably exactly what you're looking for Chris, but if you don't know, Paul, he's been actually a long term. supporter of BWG really good man. And he's, he's with Xandr. Paul, what's your question for Chris?
Yeah. Thank you for the warm greeting, though. And, Chris, good to hear you again. today. Been a while since we spoke. But to hear your question, question, Chris. If the work that you're doing through either the FreeWheel programmatic mountable, or Beachfront, can the buyer receive unduplicated reach? So if they're buying, let's say, impressions on the AMC network and the NBC network? would, would they be able to tell how many unique households they're getting? Or is that something that will be coming in the future?
Chris Pizzurro 28:06
Hey, Paul, good to hear your voice. As always, quick answer is, that is something that will be coming in the future, we absolutely want to enable that. It's gonna fade and actually we are contracted with one programmer right now to to at least accurately model out what that looks like. Right. So So what is the reach contribution from this platform for this platform? So this classroom on this campaign and we are working with the folks that FreeWheel and with that program are on what that looks like so it is in progress? It is not here today, unfortunately, you know as of right now, that's one of those things that it really does fall on good DSP worthy agency or the client to to figure that out or be cognizant of what's going on there. I we do see a way and we really are working on this path as our programmers get bigger and bigger, right? So as a Disney consolidates, and as NBCU consolidates, and gets bigger, and as Viacom, there's going to be more pressure on these organizations for exactly what you said, Paul, of Hey, you know, what, you need to give me reach and frequency within your universe, at least you need to be able to do that within your universe. So we understand that and we are working towards that. But it is not. It is not inherent in what we're doing. You know, out of the gate right now, right now, we're just happy to get sort of a DSP talking to an SSD, but we will absolutely that's on the roadmap.
Bill Williams 29:52
Okay Chris. Hey Paul, let me ask you a question how upset you every one of you Thought about the monetization opportunity, potentially with Canoe? How does that? How does that resonate with you?
So, to me, it sounds great. And the reason why I say that as both a buyer and a seller, so as a seller, a bad inventory, I don't think it's any surprise that when in media and they have one of those, you know, networks that enabled, Chris, if I'm sharing something I shouldn't be, just let me know. But you know, that that's a relationship on on the direct tv side of the house where we're a pay TV provider, we've been doing a good job, you know, because we own the endpoint, and we own the ads back. So they are on what I call our two minutes of inventory. We've been doing a good job, monetizing that. Were a long term, you know, FreeWheel customer. So we have the ability to monetize set out box mod inventory. I think I think the piece that why I asked the question, what would make the inventory more valuable to us, is, if your network and your endpoint saw on various distributors and Vizio TV sets, our customers as a network, want to know, how many people did I reach, you know, not just how many impressions that you deliver. And so being able to get the reach and frequency where the audiences duplicate, like for an example, if, if you're inserting on Vizio glass, and you're also inserting on Comcast endpoints, then then some of that audience will be duplicated, mainly, you know, the Comcast that are box bad audience that watches want immediate content on a Vizio screen. So, you know, it gets a little complex. But I'm glad to hear that Chris and the team are working on that. Hopefully, though, that that answered your question.
Bill Williams 32:09
It does. It does and Paul with the world open and backup. I look forward to hopefully seeing you this summer. Thank you.
Absolutely. Thank you.
Bill Williams 32:18
Yep. Take care. Is that my friend, Josh Cohen with his raised hand raise? Josh, it's been a long time. How are you doing my friend?
Good. Thanks, Bill on time, indeed, hey Chris. Call.
Bill Williams 32:30
Josh. SpringServe. Josh, if you don't mind, just give one or two lines on who SpringServe for those that are not familiar. And then ask an ask Chris, your question.
Sure. SpringServe is a ad server for connected television media owners. We took an investment from Spot X last July. And we've been really gaining market share. And you know, we're kind of at the epicenter of this storm that Chris has been talking about. And very exciting indeed.
Bill Williams 33:02
Great. What's your question?
I'm curious, Chris, if you guys have been contemplating a proxy solution, whether that's one that you build yourself, or or use one to handle inventory routing, and inventory splits to handle the inventory shares that you may have set up commercially? And if so, are you going as far as the use data centric modeling for that to determine who you're holding on to versus who you're sharing with partners? And how sophisticated is that process getting and what kind of work you're putting into the the proxy solution?
Chris Pizzurro 33:39
Yeah, yeah. Great question, Josh. Thanks. So a yes, absolutely an issue. And it kind of goes back to, you know, our premise of this is the world now. And my tech stack needs to be able to do this at scale in an efficient manner. Right. So any programmer, and any buyer in any agency, everyone's everyone's thinking this way. So really, Josh, what you're talking about really fits into that? And that is, okay, you know, great. I now need to control all the disk inventory that I have, and what are the what are the splits? What's my ad deal looking like? All those sorts of questions. And I, again, over 100 some odd networks that I look at, you probably see this within your portfolio to is, yes, some do better than others. And certainly router inflection point where some networks are just going you know, hog wild. Hence, you know, the big guys as I mentioned before, you know, public just suffer from Disney and they tell you what their ad sets gonna look like and all of that, but, well, a lot of the smaller guys and I last week Literally, I had a small guy, call me and essentially say, you know, I'm out, I can't compete. I'm just gonna run this linear thing into the ground. And then I have another programmer who says, Hey, you know what, I've kind of hit my toe in the water with linear and with you guys with VOD. Now I'm putting all my chips in. And can you help me grow my business in terms of my ad splits, in terms of multi platforms, and how this relates to OTT and RNs and, you know, everything that Paul just said, so, you know, I, I've seen all over the place in terms of tools. We knew we mainly focus on our footprint on the pay TV side and keeping that ecosystem up and running. And having the programmers tap into that, meaning, we've mainly turned a lot of the power over to the campaign manager in the ADS of the SSP of the program. So what they choose. So a long way of saying, Joshua, that the power for those remain, are are in the hands of the of those FreeWheel for those programmers that use FreeWheel, or for our programmers that use GAM or our programmers that use Beachfront we may we recognized as an organization, a bunch of years ago, that we need to turn this power of what are your ad splits, and what's your ad yield and all that sort of stuff over to the tools of the campaign manager in the EDS choice that the programmer chooses? So really, anything that you have Josh, I'd love to find out more about the tools and how, you know, they could relate or how they relate today to you know, those, those ADSs. But ultimately, the power, you know, we've turned over to the campaign manager needy. So the programmer-
Thanks Chris that makes a lot of sense fells take Bill up on that offer earlier to make an intro after.
Bill Williams 37:08
You know, Josh, let me just ask you, from a, from a very simple sort of pro and con of the ledger standpoint, the way you look at it as the GM of your business and your monetization. What are the, you know, simple reasons why no brainer to work with Canoe? Or what's the one or two things were obstacles that would need to be overcome? Candidly.
Well, you know, I think if you're looking as far left on the ecosystem as possible, as close to the SSAI as possible, there's a lot of decisioning that's possible there in terms of who you're going to hold on to, to monetize and who you're going to send downstream to have your partner monetize. And then there's some traffic shaping that can take place between connecting pipes all the way to the far right side of the ecosystem, and having that holistic view to make intelligent choices and make the maximum revenue per second. So I think the more holistically, you can look at it left to right all at once in real time, and have direct sales, compete with programmatic is how you're going to get the best outcome.
Chris Pizzurro 38:14
Yeah, and totally agree with that Josh is, you know, we, we've seen that as now we've turned the SSP capability over to the programmers and watch each of them go through this process. Okay, you know, how am I relating to my direct sales team? is, you know, and and when is it waterfall, and when the above the direct sales team, so both different strategies playing out? And I think certainly for you know, folks on this call is, the good news is, you know, it's game on, and the more folks jump in and participate. We know, I think, I think the greater the ecosystem will be.
Bill Williams 38:57
Got it. Josh Cohen, thank you. And I would love to catch up with you as well. It's been too long. Thank you, as always.
Thank you very much.
Bill Williams 39:04
Yeah. You know, Chris, let me ask you this, you know, you know, so you all work with how many programmers would you say 200?
Chris Pizzurro 39:13
It's 150 plus 100 and 120. Every now who's-
Bill Williams 39:18
Got it? Got it. Do any of your programs, you know, that? You know, so if you work with either side, the supply side or the demand side and SSP or DSP? You all the programmers that you work with? Where do you have a bail availability to serve against their VOD impressions? Do they all make themselves? Do you have any restrictions on working with? Do do any programmers restrict you with working with SSPs or DSPs?
Chris Pizzurro 39:49
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Like I mentioned, I mean, this is this is way early days, in terms of, we really have just literally just connected Did the pipes from a few SSPs into a few DSPs? So, and purposely, this is forcing tons of business discussions. This is forcing tons of technical discussions, which is good. Like I said, I mean, that's great. And that's healthy. So Oh, absolutely, there are, there are some programmers who are still just, you know, running away from this. So what our thing from Canoe point of view and we've always just done this with our with our platform is to say, Hey, mister programmer, you know, series, a new feature and functionality that is available to you through your campaign manager, your ADS up to you how, if and when you enable it, or how you enable it. And you know, you set your floors and you use determine, just like we when we gave them frequency capping six years ago? Well, we said, well, it's up to you whether you want to enable frequency capping or not, you know, we recommend that you have a frequency capping of two, you know, things like that. So to us, this is just another feature and functionality to set top box VOD, that we're enabling so yeah, there, there are folks who are just running away from it. Some that are both dipping in so for instance, that the CW right away jumped in playing ball AMC jumping in discovery jumping in. So they're certainly quality programmers who are working with FreeWheel and working with deterrent and putting it in there. So that's on the business side. And then even on the technical side, though, we're absolutely working through issues because there's a bit of a square peg in a round hole scenario on the on the call it the technical side, but it's also on the business side. So for example, no DSPs just will expect inherently in device ip ip address in the data, right, that's just how their systems work. But Canoe doesn't provide a Comcast IP address to DSPs are also affecting like, device user agent, which again, makes sense I want to know was this Samsung or was set top box. So there's workarounds that the folks have FreeWheel and Beachfront and we've been working with them on implementing these with the DSPs on an individual basis to to work through their issues. So that, you know, the square peg starts to look like the round hole. So for instance, we're providing unique device identifiers and a generic Canoe user agent. So there's, there's solutions here. But so there's so in addition to just sort of the business issues, there's some technical issues that we're we're working through, but again, I I implore all the DSPs on the phone as buyers of, you know, the way to the way to make this a reality is to, you know, kind of jump in and get in here and fight the fight with us. And, you know, clear the pipes and and get them ready for them.
Bill Williams 43:08
What, what is the biggest line so far? So from my understanding from what you said, You're working only with, you know, in sort of this sort of expanded test and learn you're working with FreeWheel and Beachfront on the supply side, and you're working with eight DSPs. Is that correct?
Chris Pizzurro 43:26
There's been various testing with various DSPs through Yeah, through the Beachfront and FreeWheel, yes.
Bill Williams 43:31
Yep. Understood. So we have a lot of the leading players as you are aware, because you've, you know, the list that are listening to you right now. So whether it's on the supply side, or the demand side, what is, you know, you know, what's the, what's the onboarding, the investment in the timeline to get in the test and learn with you all?
Chris Pizzurro 44:02
Yeah, it's essentially by Get in, get into, you know, call your freewill person or your beat from person. You know, they've got the pipes cleared into Canoe. So it's really the, the flow from the cable operators through Canoe to enable programmers SSP. You know, we've cleared all those pipes. So really, it's between the heavy lifting or the lifting is really between the SSPs and the DSPs. At this point, all the way we even worked out an interesting scenario on how you get the creative out to the head end because cable VOD, you actually do need to get the creative out to the individual cable hidden. So it just doesn't reach out with a bass tag. There's actually the the cable system treats the As the same way of truth, a piece of content, so you need to get the content out to the key each individual table heading, which is great from a quality point of view, because the playout is so close to the cable box, there's no buffering. But that could could have potentially been a technical stumbling block for some DSPs. But we've actually figured all that out of basically how to, you know, get the ad from the DSP server out to the SSP server and pumped out to the table head end in a matter of minutes. So we've done a whole bunch of work in the back end to to, again, clear the pipes, though there, there really isn't a bunch of lifting between the DSP and the SSP, it's really just a matter of, again, kind of working through the nuances of that square peg round hole scenario.
Bill Williams 45:52
Got it? And obviously, there is so many as the larger getting larger, right. I mean, think about it, you know, Comcast is one of the owners in Canoe. Right, right. And I'm going to talk candidly, here, no one knows the ownership structure, you disclose it, right. So think about Comcast, right here, then you have FreeWheel, right? Then you have FreeWheel that bought Beeswax, right? You know, so there's all these, you know frenemy relationships, competitive ecosystems, etc. anything unique or different on how people should think about, you know, the ownership structure, or, you know, the ad tech ecosystems within those owners that you're partners with? Like FreeWheel, is there any obstacles or issues on competitive intensity that people should be aware of?
Chris Pizzurro 46:58
I think the only thing they should be aware of is, if it's not as it's not as easy as some people think it is. Oh, you're all owned by you've got to talk to each other and, you know, make everything easy for each other. It's like now No, this is America. Well, you need to prove your value your business case. feel just like everyone else. Certainly, is there a pipeline of dialogue that is constantly, you know, open between you say, FreeWheel and Comcast and Canoe being all sister companies? Sure, right. You know, I've got Larry Allen's email, and I can poke him today if I need to at Comcast. So you know, but but if what I say doesn't have value, or what I say doesn't make business sense, or what I you know, all those sort of competitive things, well, then he's just gonna hang up the phone, we're not answering my email. So, you know, certainly there's, there's, there's the dialogue and manage that. But you know, if you don't prove your worth and what you're doing, and that's, that's proof of really what we've done with the SSP. I mean, we've enabled the that FreeWheel SSP for the customers who use FreeWheel. Beachfront totally independent company with their SSPs for the folks who use our campaign manager and who use the Google Ad manager. So, well, we remain fiercely independent bill from a Canoe point of view, you know, we are we are going to do whatever, whatever our whatever our programmers want towards monetization, certainly within the confines of, you know, my ownerships agreements with the programmers, you know, we're here to their affiliate relations, but our jobs first and foremost is to monetize the ad content for my programs.
Bill Williams 48:55
Got it in relative to it, you know, I mean, you've mentioned the word multi platform many many times what is the downside the multi platform in Europe
Chris Pizzurro 49:06
You know, we shouldn't what we really should do is a drinking game for everyone on the phone. Maybe we should do this at 430 in the afternoon Bill if you say Matt multi-platform after do a shot.
Bill Williams 49:17
If I say at the end of the day, you have to do a shot and people will get drunk by the end of the end of the day. Actually, I had a client said to me once Is it funny that he said that either it dies or you know one of my core subscriber clients say that Bill we you know, we have to BWG drinking game every time bill says at the end of the day or this that he gets pretty funny.
Chris Pizzurro 49:44
But yeah, no, I certainly looked at where this is an evolution. But certainly the left at any I'm sure anyone on the phone knows you know, the last year has if people had a game plan of what was going to happen over the next two or three years, certainly the last year expedited those plans will be Do you can just see it across the board from, you know, the mergers and acquisitions that are being done. And so and what's that doing is it's making forecasting, challenging, where, you know, media plan for an agency, or a DSP. And the plan, that's for the what the programmer can take in and forecasting, but their inventories like, Boy, that's extremely difficult. It was difficult. When we first introduced SVOD, or AVOD, you know, years ago of Oh, well, you know, this is no longer on your linear schedule in the ratings that you know, that are reliable, it's now going to rely on a, you know, a view when a consumer presses an on demand button. So, you know, we've, we help our programmers with that history. So they actually do look at the history on capacity, or D that we've had for the last eight years with them, right? We have a history of that data in those patterns. And can they have access to that to help them forecast, you know, what does their OTT their CTV, or their TV platforms look like? So, so it's a proxy, but you know, helpful. So certainly forecasting is, is challenging, and there's, you know, folks, and, you know, even as Josh mentioned, this, other folks who were helping do that, and then reaching frequency, as Paul brought up currently, you know, is, is, is always been a challenge, and to be able to optimize that that's something folks are working on. And the last is measurement. Everyone loves to scream at Nielsen and scream at Comscore. So you know, those folks are constantly trying to keep pace, they both now have some sort of, you know, hybrid samples slash census model that's in place. You also have folks like a sambar, and eyespot, or TV squared, kind of coming in and lending more data and perspectives and offering an alternative currency. And then you have someone like NBC coming in with their own solution, called su flight and having that play out. Now across sky in the UK, which we're also starting to deal with them, too. So yeah, really, those pillars still are, you know, forecasting reach and frequency of measurement, things that have always been part of your linear TV. And certainly now in a multi platform, video environment, forecasting, recent frequency and measurement are even even more challenged. And folks need to work through the solution.
Bill Williams 52:46
I'm assuming, so I'm a Verizon Fios customer and I use my you know, pay TV, log on to you know, access a lot of pay TV shows, etc. So I'm, I'm assuming that you have some aspect of ads being served against VOD impressions, is it only actually within the 38 million households? Or can you reach the and serve against the impressions across mobile devices? as well?
Chris Pizzurro 53:24
Yeah. So at the core, it's across our 38 million households and Comcast Cox Charter in front here. What was passed on-
Bill Williams 53:36
In house in house.
Chris Pizzurro 53:39
Yeah, touched on that earlier as we started set top box in house only. But now In fact, our latest 2020 report Bill 60% 60% of our delivered ad impressions on VOD comes from a platform other than your traditional set top box. Now, a good amount of those Comcast has switched over to non for those folks on this phone who don't know Qualm and IP Forgive me. But the traditional cable set top boxes on a technology called Qualm. And you know, newer buddy boxes or things are an IP technology. So we we count anything that is non Qualm as other so that's what's really in that 60%. But yeah, now Now we follow the VOD service. So if the consumer wants to watch on set top box, you know, we follow them there. If a consumer wants to watch the Spectrum app on their mobile phone, we will deliver to them there. So we're following the VOD service within those 38 million homes. And then, like I mentioned, we are we're also helping our customers. You know, we're not just going to say hey, we're just servicing you over here. At recent frequency is a great example. Right? We're taking our data from our setup box with our major customers and helping them Understand that in relation to their OTT and their CTD. So, you know, we're combining data sense that helping them figure out what their reaching frequency is. So yeah, you know, we make our money kind of off those 38 million households and delivering those ads there. But our services are, are much broader helping our programmers just be able to navigate, you know, really this new reality of multi platform, get your shot glass out.
Bill Williams 55:27
Understood, but based upon your unique identifiers, since it's, you know, a username password blog on everything else, you have any consequences from Apple's iOS, you know, 14 and, you know, IDFA slash ATT changes or Google's pending flocking ads, data hub, etc.
Chris Pizzurro 55:49
Yeah, great, great question. And Paul certainly knows this, you know, from DirecTV. Experience is in cable. We've been operating under the cable act of 1985, since 1984, since 1984, in that, that is riddled with a whole bunch of things on privacy and, and a whole bunch of things. So from day one, well, we know how not to mix PII, and certainly now is where moving, more addressable and which, my god don't spend an hour we didn't touch on that and it's been so much fun. But Canoe's Now certainly making linear addressable and they can VOD addressable. So, you know, where before was, Hey, I just want to reach a Walking Dead person, you know, watching VOD, now we can say, you know, watching Walking Dead on VOD and linear and making 102k plus. So you know, kind of that scenario. So, in that we've always had the guardrails that Now finally, the apples have has started to operate under. But that's in the cable industry, we've cable and satellite, we've, we've operated under those rules for forever. And now certainly, when we're putting addressability into place, and you've got to start to, to put those households and aggregate them up and then run them through a live lamp audience segment, all that sort of stuff, we absolutely have to do that in a safe, secure process manner. And that's what we do.
Bill Williams 57:23
Understood. In final final, and we'll wrap up here. And by the way, I've literally everyone that dialed in press, you know, all but one to two people stayed the entire duration and the people that are dropped, made us aware that they it is another commitment that they had to drop halfway through the call. So definitely kept people's attention and wants to talk to everyone that wants to talk to Chris in his team to understand the partnership opportunities and that steps to get put in touch with appropriate contact if it said FreeWheel, Beachfront or just understanding that steps. You know, the BWG Connect team and Corbin Berry will make all appropriate introductions after the call or in the coming days. Chris but final final here to wrap up. If there's if there's two to three things that you see percolating within the video advertising ecosystem, give me give me one to two big wildcards that you could, you know, whether it's, you know, timeline to a single video by or whether it's hey Bill, I actually think, you know, you know, CTVS and a flattened out, you know, I don't even know what it is, right. But if there's one or two things that you could see evolving through much faster growth or sooners slowing or lack of adoption, give me one to two sort of wildcard qual as some will wrap up with that.
Chris Pizzurro 59:03
I mean, the one that I see and again, who's been silently somewhat executing on others may say this, and maybe I'm entirely special on this one. But international growth. You know, when you look at things like when Discovery bought scripts first and now certainly with a TNT merger. That's all about Hey, House Hunters US. Well, how does Discovery have an international mechanism that can now do House Hunters International and House Hunters UK and you can replicate that franchise around the world and all those sorts of things. It just reminds me and I had the joy experience of working with Ted Turner 20 whatever years ago, and I was sitting alone shrieking with one I said, Chris, you know why I bought Cartoon Network? No. Mr. Turner, I'm 23 years old. Why? He said, Well, because you can play the sprocket software around the world and you never have to delve in any language whatsoever. Like, dammit, this guy's a genius, right? It's friggin genius. And he bought it on and I bought it on the cheap. You like, there you go, right? So I do see this happening. And we've expanded our capabilities in the US to just expand our, our contracts, to just say if we're working in a region together, so we spent the last few years going deep in Latin America, where there's really not a ton of AVOD situations there, um, Europe sort of nixed. India, we were starting to play a bit in but obviously, from COVID situations that are going on there, you know, unfortunately for all those people, so can we. So I think that's my, my biggest one Bill is, you know, now that you've now you've put this, Mr. programmer, tech stack in place to do linear VOD streaming, multi platform in place, you have this in place, it's not that big a heavy lift to Now, take those same technology stack in that same practices, and bring that to Latin America and bring that to Europe. And, you know, that sort of thing. So So I, that's what I see working and inherent, you know, for, again, for maybe some of these DSPs. And the OTT is on the line, it's like, Yeah, no, duh. You know, that's inherent in it. And that's what we do. I think just for us who've been on the traditional cable side for years, we've always been an international, but it's always been quite of a credit card, a separate operation and quite a slog. So I think now, everyone's recognizing that there's just efficiencies in leveraging your tech stack global.
Bill Williams 1:01:50
Excellent. Look forward to our next one together, and hopefully we can get a happy hour for local people in New York City as well. As much as I did.
Chris Pizzurro 1:02:01
Yeah. Thank you, everyone, for hanging in there. Hope there's hope. There's a lot of value and prosperity to you in this in the coming year.
Bill Williams 1:02:09
Take care. Thanks.