FreeWheel Plays Up Programmatic Ahead of Paris Games

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CANNES, FRANCE — On July 26, some five hours via TGV rail service from this Mediterranean city that this week plays host to advertising industry leaders and iHeartMedia’s senior executive team, the Olympic Games Paris 2024 begin.


In the U.S., Comcast’s NBCUniversal properties hold the exclusive rights, with coverage across NBC and Telemundo as well as on the Peacock app. For advertisers, the latter presents new opportunities to connect with consumers, and FreeWheel has responded with an “enhanced product suite” for programmatic transactions on live streaming events.

In particular, programmatic ad buying can now be had for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

For marketers interested in advertising and exploring programmatic opportunities in the live streaming environment, the new FreeWheel offering opens a whole new arena for digital streaming — and, potentially, at the expense of the last non-news draw for broadcast and cable television.

That may not concern Comcast, which owns the Xfinity MVPD and has a footprint across OTT, cable and broadcast television unlike any of its peers, including struggling Paramount Global.

As FreeWheel sees it, “Live events continue to offer advertisers large, simultaneous audiences; highly-engaged viewing environments; and positive brand associations, yet as live events begin to move onto streaming platforms, challenges also present themselves. Ad technologies must deliver an advertiser’s message into a dynamic environment with millions of simultaneous views, with little room for failure or errors. Hence, the roll out of FreeWheel’s new capabilities that solve some of the key challenges of transacting programmatically within live events.”

The new “enhancements” include the ability to expedite programmatic activation via creative pre-approvals and transcoding to minimize latency; to expand advertiser diversity by increasing inventory opportunities for more advertisers; to anticipate real time surges in live viewership to properly scale server capacity; and to adjust campaign pacing to account for high viewership to maintain seamless ad experience.

“As our industry shifts to an always on marketplace, we have been able to bring in advertisers of all sizes to our content across our entire ecosystem through programmatic, especially to the highly coveted sports and live events programming we air,” said Mark Marshall, NBCUniversal’s Chairman of Global Advertising & Partnerships. “This allows for a greater diversity of marketers to access our premiere content, while also enhancing targeting and engagement with the right audiences. We are excited for the continued marriage of premiere programming and advanced ad technologies, as its impact will be unsurpassed.”


Concurrent to the new programmatic ad offering, Comcast has released a report, “It’s Only Live Once: How TV Advertisers Can Capture Audiences in the Moment … and How Streaming is Changing the Game. Click here to view the full report.

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