As OTT Advertising Explodes, Agencies Race to Build Teams to Navigate the Space

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By Kelsey Sutton

Gibbs Haljun estimates it’s only been about two years since connected television and over-the-top streaming devices reached a scale big enough to attract serious attention from marketers. That rapid growth has left agencies scrambling to capitalize on the estimated seven in 10 U.S. internet users who will use OTT services this year, or the nearly 60 percent who will use connected TVs.

Haljun, managing director of media investment at Mindshare North America, said the agency expects video investment teams to handle over-the-top streaming devices, skinny television bundles and connected TV devices, but that sometimes the traditional television teams, digital teams or addressable teams are tapped to work on OTT, too. “We have lots of people that touch OTT,” Haljun said. “But how we activate against it depends on what the skill set is, and what the client KPIs are.”

That’s a common refrain from agency executives, who say there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how they’re handling “advanced TV”—a catch-all term referring to connected televisions and OTT streaming devices, as well as addressable linear (read: more targeted) television and programmatic TV buying. Agencies traditionally divvy up investment teams based on the medium they’re working with, and advanced TV, with elements of both traditional television and digital, has presented a unique challenge. In response, agencies are constructing ad hoc teams to handle advanced TV planning and buying, all while trying to strengthen their agency-wide knowledge on how advanced TV best fits into a media plan.


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