2nd August 2019

POV: Amazon Opens Fire TV Ad Inventory


Amazon is opening access to Fire TV ad inventory to outside ad tech companies for the first time (currently being rolled out in the US first). All Connected TV (CTV) apps using the Amazon Publisher Services (APS) can setup Private Marketplace deals (PMPs) with 3rd party DSP platforms, The Trade Desk and Dataxu. The CEOs of these 3rd party DSPs are calling this Amazon action the formost important initiative in the CTV space today and a signal of Amazon's support of an open internet ecosystem, and an event that will “catalyse an already hot programmatic CTV ad market”.

Details and Implications:   

Amazon Fire TV reaches 34 million households globally and is one of the biggest CTV players in the ecosystem. Fire TV features streaming apps from established players such as NBC, CBS, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube, Discovery, ESPN+ and Viacom, but also streaming start-ups including Tubi, Philo and Pluto.tv. 

All CTV media apps integrated with Amazon Publisher Services (APS) can offer PMP deals for ads that run on content streamed in the Fire TV marketplace in the US. The exact publisher and app list will be released by Amazon in the next few weeks. However, we do know that Amazon owned media, like IMDB TV will not be included.

In an Amazon press release, PMPs were called out as the preferred and most dominant transaction method for CTV buys. As with every PMP set-up, a “direct connection between the apps and advertisers” is created “allowing buyers to easily see how much they pay per impression served”.

Amazon Publisher Services will provide The Trade Desk and Dataxu full Real-time bidding inventory access to all 3rd party content apps within the Fire TV marketplace in the US. Video types available will include pre, mid, and post-roll (note that post-roll in CTV in highly uncommon), and all PMP deals will operate at a 100% first-price auction. The main benefits of this opportunity are:

1. Full access to all ad impressions from 3rd party content providers in Fire TV devices (across Fire stick, Fire cube and Fire TV), not just remnant inventory (excludes Amazon Owned & Operated) or these will be surfaced as new Private Marketplaces (PMPs) in the DSP platforms.

2. Amazon will be passing anonymous IDs, allowing advertisers to target with 3rd party data and frequency cap. There will be limitations with conversation tracking, as this data will not be fed back to the non-Amazon DSPs.  However, buyers will be able to manually match DSP data sets if they have direct partnerships with the publishers (ie. Viacom’s Pluto TV app) to better understand performance.

3. Amazon is also committed to fee transparency. Advertisers will have access to the exact fee breakdown for all transactions, including what the publisher is ultimately paid via log level data.

The CTV ecosystem is continuing its explosive growth. Approximately 195.1 million people have connected TVs in the US and this is expected to grow to 201.7 million in 2020. Globally, over one billion Connected TV devices are being used. With new programmatic access points for CTV inventory and a growing share of programmatic video dollars that CTV is encompassing, we can expect exciting moves in this space from other players. 

Further Reading:
CNBC | Ad Exchanger | Mediapost  | WSJ

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