OTT Ads Pay Off for Tegna Unit

Revenue doubling each month as campaigns rise at Premion

Related: Programmatic Ads Get A Bigger Slice of the Pie

Looking to fill a gap in the over-the-top ad market, broadcaster and digital media firm Tegna last year launched a new division focused on local and regional advertising, along with some programmatic hooks, that could be stitched into a wide variety of streaming platforms.

More than half a year later, that unit, called Premion, appears to be making strides.

“The business has grown fairly dramatically,” Premion president Jim Wilson said.

Both Premion’s revenues and the number of campaigns it is managing have doubled every month, Wilson said, estimating that the unit is now runs from 2,000 to 3,000 campaigns per month. Tegna has stations in 36 markets, but its Premion platform is now running campaigns in about 185 markets.

“I think that we have definitely found an unmet need in the market, where regional and local advertisers saw an opportunity to access a one-stop-shop company for premium, longform episodic content,” Wilson said.

Premion works directly with its OTT partners on regional and local sales. The company can’t disclose those companies, but Wilson said the list includes “most” virtual MVPDs, several major media companies and OTT content aggregators. Some possible candidates include OTT platforms and services that hinge their businesses on advertising such as Xumo, TubiTV, Crackle and Pluto TV.

Premion also employs some programmatic techniques. It has direct links to the inventory of its content partners and can place ads based on geographic location, down to ZIP code, and contextualize the spots for specific groups, such as new car buyers.

Premion is also hooking itself to another trend in OTT and TV advertising—“blockchain,” a technology originally developed for the Bitcoin digital currency that’s now being woven into other types of apps and services.

Premion has teamed up with MadHive, a blockchain-based ad tech specialist, that adds security, transparency, and accountability to its ad platform.

Premion identified a need to create a “decision layer” between the supply and demand sides of the business whereby partners can be connected securely and to ensure that the data being passed back and forth is secure, Wilson said.

“There are so many companies involved in delivering an ad, and that’s where you start to lose transparency and also profitability and other things,” Wilson said. “Blockchain creates an opportunity where you connect supply and demand, and we’re connecting vendors, and we’re able to sort of create a decision layer that is protected and accountable.”