Dear partners and friends of Tatari:
I am excited to announce that we have acquired TheViewPoint, a CTV monetization platform for publishers. This is part of Tatari’s long-term vision for a clean and more direct CTV supply path for outcome-driven TV advertisers.
If you want the TLDR version:
We have acquired TheViewPoint, a CTV focused SSP and ad-server.
This technology will allow publishers to connect directly with Tatari demand and reduce the ad tech tax. A clean supply path also brings about more granular supply-side data, yielding better measurement. This, in turn, allows brands to select impressions that drive better outcomes, and as such pay publishers even more. As the cliche goes, it’s a win-win.
The combination of Tatari and TheViewPoint is in essence a Private Exchange between advertisers and publishers. It leapfrogs plain vanilla PMPs and Supply Path Optimizations.
The few points above, or a quick press release with fancy jargon could not do justice to what’s at play here. Instead, I would like to give our partners a more complete and detailed overview. Let’s start by framing this acquisition and our strategy in the context of the broader streaming TV industry (or CTV).
Decentralized: Digital Video Inventory
When we think about the role of technology in the CTV supply chain, the first thing to recognize is how fundamentally different streaming TV is from digital video. Digital video inventory (or supply) is decentralized, meaning it is scattered across millions of websites that host video content (with ads). This creates the need for publishers to use Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to centralize, organize, and auction their inventory.
At the same time, advertisers need Demand Side Platform (DSP) technology to efficiently bid on the CTV ad inventory made available through the SSPs. This has given birth to the ad exchanges we know today. Ad exchanges come at a cost. SSPs and DSPs need to be paid for the technology and services provided; each easily 20% of the media. This is often referred to as the “ad tech tax.” In addition, valuable publisher and impression data leaks as it moves through the supply chain (Publisher → SSP → Exchange → DSP → Agency/Brand).
Despite the issues articulated above, in a world where (seemingly endless) digital inventory is highly decentralized, DSPs, SSPs and exchanges are much needed.
Centralized: Streaming TV Inventory
The streaming TV dynamics are fundamentally different. Supply is significantly centralized, with premium content and inventory owned by just a handful of publishers. The top 20 ad-supported streaming TV publishers will easily account for 90%+ of (premium) impressions. What’s more, these select suppliers, often major broadcast networks, own the only scale available in streaming TV (i.e. the ability to reach millions of viewers, not thousands, in one fell swoop) and will have the first-party data to bring about targeting.
And therein lies the issue. So much of the way the industry approaches CTV today is colored by the experience with digital video and the decentralization of supply. Ad tech companies apply the same technology and approaches from digital video to capitalize on CTV as their next big growth channel. This is often best evidenced when digital-native ad tech companies sell mobile, PC and tablet impressions as if they were CTV impressions (to the detriment of the “TV” advertiser). In CTV, however, the need for a complex web of DSPs and SSPs to stand between buyers and sellers of inventory is more of an optionality, not a necessity.
It is this exact understanding that informs Tatari’s strategy, and our acquisition of TheViewPoint. The CTV supply chain can and must evolve to become much more efficient than digital video ever was. Moreover, TheViewPoint was built for CTV from day one; it never had a digital bone or legacy to it.
To be truthful, Tatari has been at this for years. Unbeknownst to most, Tatari buys the bulk of its inventory (think 95%+) through publisher and network direct relationships. We have built technology to facilitate these direct integrations (e.g. Cloud IOs) and generally enjoy & appreciate our relationships with publishers and networks. Tatari’s publisher integrations stretch well beyond marketing claims about offering Private Market Place (PMP) deals and Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) to our advertiser clients. A PMP and PG are nothing but respectively a floor price and a guaranteed (high) price in the construct of the digital exchange. Neither structure addresses or solves for any of the industry fundamentals outlined above. Direct integrations built on technology have, in our opinion, put Tatari and its brands above others in the industry.
What this means to our Partners
The acquisition of TheViewPoint puts all the above on steroids. Launched in 2019, and recently nominated as a “Best Early Stage Technology Company” by AdExchanger, TheViewPoint offers publishers SSP and ad-server technology (CTV-focused only). Going forward, publishers will be able to leverage these products to (easily!) establish a direct path to Tatari advertisers.
This is not exclusive, competitive, or replacing to how publishers work with leading SSPs (e.g. Magnite or Pubmatic) today. What we are doing is providing publishers with the necessary CTV-focused technology to set up a concept of a “Private Exchange.” Hosted by Tatari, the Private Exchange removes the ad tech tax, translating into more revenue for publishers. We have started the integration process with a handful of publishers and will push for completion in the months to come.
It turns out that cleaning up the supply chain is not only good for our publisher partners, but also for our clients and brands. Stronger and tighter technology integrations mean that more (privacy-compliant) data makes its way to our media-buying, measurement, and optimization tools. For example, early trials have shown that series level data for a TV show allows us to boost the performance (in this case, TV response rate) for Calibrate with as much as 30%. TheViewPoint will now help Tatari’s clients benefit from faster and more granular data to deliver stronger outcomes. In turn, TheViewPoint will support outcomes-based buying in ways that publishers could not have imagined before.
An Eye On The Future
I realize that what Tatari is doing will be considered heresy by many legacy players, but breaking the mold is what we have always stood for. An efficient supply chain is badly needed, and we believe that we can prove this short term through the economic benefits it yields for both buyers and sellers. Our older cousin, TheTradeDesk, seems to largely agree with this sentiment through the recent announcement of Openpath.
Most recently we have seen similar attempts through smart acronyms like Supply Path Optimization (SPO). For example, GroupM proudly announced “Premium Marketplace” with Pubmatic and Magnite. This is a step in the right direction but still comes short in moving the streaming TV business out of an ill-fit digital construct. I believe that moving deep into the supply path through TheViewPoint technology allows us to leapfrog over agencies and other CTV ad tech platforms.
From a more tactical point of view, this acquisition has been six+ months in the making. I first met TheViewPoint team in early July and was enamored by their impressive tech, scrappy culture, grit, and smarts. It is the same DNA that runs across Tatari. That, on top of our shared vision on how CTV can (and should) be organized, painted the picture for this acquisition.
We are welcoming Daniel Elad, Chief Strategy Officer at TVP, and the entire team as fully-fledged Tatarians. This coming together of both companies is not an “all or nothing.” TheViewPoint will continue its work with leading DSPs (e.g. Madhive and many others to be announced soon), operating under its own brand and identity. Tatari in turn will continue to invest and expand its relationships with the existing and future SSP platforms.
At Tatari, we now stare down the task to make this acquisition a commercial success. This will be much more than “execution.” Half of the TheViewPoint team is based in Ukraine. As such, it also comes with the moral obligation for Tatari to support our new team and their families moving forward.
To be truthful, I’m not sure yet how we will do this, but we have held our resolve to this acquisition even when the war broke out. Together, Tatari and TheViewPoint will figure this part out, too.