Shaping the Future of CTV

5 mins

On this week’s podcast episode of Life in Digital, Ed spoke with Sarah Lewis, Global Directo...

By Ed Steer

CEO & Founder

On this week’s podcast episode of Life in Digital, Ed spoke with Sarah Lewis, Global Director of CTV and Steve Filler, Country Manager, at ShowHeroes, to discuss the future of CTV within the Media and publishers’ industry.

CTV (connected TV) is a device that connects to, or is embedded in, a television to support video content streaming. Different types of CTVs may include Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and more.

Show Heroes are a global leader in digital video content, tech, and advertising solutions. They help publishers create the best content for their audiences while generating ad revenues within editorial environments, and advertisers reach new consumers in brand-safe environments with engaging formats and sustainable, reliable results.

The company was founded by Ilhan Zengin, Mario Tiedemann, and Dennis Kirschner in 2016 with headquarters in Berlin and employs more than 350 people worldwide in 28 strategic hubs throughout Europe, the Nordics, LATAM, and the US.


What are some of the biggest trends we are currently seeing in CTV globally, is it consistent from region to region?

Sarah tells Ed that ‘creativity’ is the hottest trend we are currently experiencing in CTV.

“There are so many new formats emerging to get customers to interact, whether this includes QR codes or voice commands – there’s been a big surge in this.”

CTV is very well set up for this interaction given that people are now using second screens, have higher on-screen attention and tend to search for products after viewing them – these are all aspects that have been well researched into and it is clear that creativity is really starting to increase.

In terms of markets, Sarah explains how the US is way ahead when it comes to CV due to the sheer volume of it and the high-cost cable packages.

“Another market we work with a lot is LATAM (Latin America)… it’s a really sought-after thing in that market, and you get a really high response rate for things such as QR codes – there’s a lot of appetite for it”

Sarah describes that Show Heroes are still ‘getting there’ within Europe, there have been some great innovations this year and brands taking that step into the more creative side of CTV, but there’s still quite a way to go.


What are the levers that need to be pulled for this to happen?

Sarah explains how,

“Understanding formats is key as we don’t want to go down the direct response route as it is still branding - a brand campaign”

Using QR codes is an easy way of offering interaction and helping expand the knowledge of the product for users. It’s important to understand the functionalities and what they can add.

Sarah admits that she was even sceptical at the idea of QR codes on TV ads, however, explains that since the pandemic when QR codes became used more frequently throughout our day-to-day lives, we have become so used to their functionality and it is now more inherent in our behaviour to use them. Sarah raises that it’s important that the QR code still complements the ad and works with it to highlight the features and offers.


Do you notice a difference between mobile/tablet/laptop/TV screen for what works better with interaction?

“TV is different as you don’t have a click screen, whereas on tablet and mobile you have clickable and interactive features”

Some companies have taken the step into the red button technology; however, this is not a natural behaviour as it interrupts the viewing experience which consumers don’t want.

When watching TV, you have a longer attention span, whereas, on mobile, attention is less and flickers more, meaning you have the capability to have a direct link into a website and people don’t mind this, whereas people would get frustrated if this happened mid-movie.

Steve adds how,

“CTV is moving at such a fast space”

Even a year and a half ago it was relatively early adopting clients that were on board.

Steve explains how these clients have to go on a journey, they have to run tests and see if they can transact in the same way, can they use their DSP of choice, and does it give the response they want.

 For advertisers how important is CTV going to be in the plan

“I may be biased but, very!”

Sarah tells Ed how the more we see users adopt this behaviour and switch completely to CTV the more important it’s going to be to reach audiences through traditional CTV.

Although it is becoming increasingly important, there are still steps that the industry needs to take, for example, measurement and targeting.

“There’s definitely been a big development since it emerged, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Steve adds how, advertisers saw CTV in the earlier days as a digital opportunity or maybe a challenge, however, now it is seen in more simple terms as just another way people are watching TV.

“Everyone is advertising on TV, why would you not want to reach people who are not watching traditional TV - this is how they choose to consume”

Every brand feels that they need to be there, and now when ShowHeroes have conversations with agencies, there are very few that do not have CTV within their plan.


What’s next for CTV?

"There’s so many possibilities!”

Sarah shares with Ed that there’s some really exciting things coming. They’d love to see more done with linking mobile to the CTV screen and other devices – voice commands will be a great thing coming up.

Although they’re not there quite yet, they would also love to see some more augmented reality.

“I think this would be so cool!”

A lot of 3rd party tech platforms are now getting involved and there are lots of opportunities for companies in the creative space to start thinking outside the box.

Steve adds that there’s definitely an increase in CTV and online interactive formats. Naturally in the CTV space, as budgets become more significant, agencies will start to give it more attention.

“The reality is creativity takes time and planning…and budget!”

As agencies take it more seriously and understand the importance and scope of the opportunity, they believe we will see lots of interesting work.


Explore ShowHeroes website here.


Steve has also just launched his own podcast ‘Just for Context’ a podcast on everything contextual advertising under ‘The Digital Distillery Podcast Network’.  Listen here!


This blog covers only a fraction of everything Ed discussed with Sarah and Steve, listen to the full podcast via our Life in Digital Podcast page. 


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