The Global TV Market. Interview with Gerry Sutton, Adstream.

Gerry Sutton, CEO Adstream describes himself as, “a software guy at heart” who worked in Australia and the United States in technology, digital, motion pictures and television.  His current company, Adstream, addresses the creative content challenges of multiple screens and cross platform.  

Sutton explains the challenges of advertisers and content providers in today’s complex media ecosystem. “Today, there is no such thing as a single-channel strategy. Most ad campaigns span multiple screens, formats and platforms. So, there are more creative assets to manage, deliver and measure,” he notes. “On top of that, the creative ecosystem is now a global game. Content is created in one place, moved to another, distributed somewhere else and then measured. Multiple parties and departments in separate countries and continents are involved. All of this makes managing and delivering ad creative – including the data attached to each piece of content – difficult and more prone to error,” he adds.

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about Adstream.

Gerry Sutton: We solve for the complicated creative marketplace through our platform - to store, manage and review all forms of marketing and ad content – for digital, mobile, social, VOD, OTT, linear TV, and more – on a global scale. It also enables delivery of ad content across every type of media channel, whether traditional or new media, while providing content tracking upon delivery to ensure creative is used and optimized. Today, more than 10,000 global agencies and brands use Adstream to manage over 26 million creative assets and deliver 2.7 million annually to 125-plus countries.

Charlene Weisler: How does it work in the area of television?

Gerry Sutton: Globally, for linear TV advertisers, we help manage ad collaboration and delivery – making sure they air on time and at top quality levels. Adstream is connected to more than 20,000 TV destinations across 116 countries and we are also supported by 40 local offices worldwide. For TV advertisers, we provide quality delivery anywhere – When advertises send TV ads around the world, they must meet regional standards and quality levels. We deliver to over 116 countries from one simple ordering interface. TV advertisers can also manage and approve an ad campaign’s video content, along with any other media, access our Library which is a powerful global asset management system made especially for large industry TV files and track a project’s status with analytics - which ads are used and where they were delivered, or even integrate third-party data. We can also manage all clearance, traffic, and basic production, including pre-flight checks, clapper and countdown, file fixing, standards conversion, captioning and transcoding. Adstream Connect for broadcasters helps aggregate incoming commercial content and re-distribute broadcast-ready video spots to digital and VOD channels. It’s available to broadcasters in Europe now and will be available widely, in North America and globally, in Q1 2017.

Charlene Weisler: What is your definition of television?

Gerry Sutton: Television is simply a type of channel. Today, we focus, not just on TV, but on video more holistically, as this content can be used across all mediums. TV is just the highest resolution channel for video. 

Charlene Weisler: Do you get involved in the programmatic TV space? If so, how?

Gerry Sutton: Programmatic is just another destination for TV content, and we deliver ad content to all channels and platforms. So, yes we have been involved since its inception. It’s an exciting space.
The category is expected to evolve fairly rapidly over the next 12 months. During this time, we expect more broadcasters and cable channels to begin adding programmatic capabilities to their linear TV feeds and enable automated buying at scale. This will create additional challenges with respect to TV advertising and content delivery. Content will be required with more immediacy.

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see ad tech going in the next 3 years?

Gerry Sutton: Advertisers’ demand for transparency and accountability will shape the next three-year period. This will result in media agencies, for example, providing more granular ROI reporting to brand customers. In that spirit, we are also likely to see many advertisers decouple technology from their agencies. Brands will, instead, build direct relationships with these technology partners. On the technology side, there will be a rise of metrics around creative measurement and attribution. Remember, creative is the only piece that is yet to be fully understood or measured in-depth – despite its overwhelming importance. Relatedly, expect to see much more programmatic creative, even for HD-resolution content.

Charlene Weisler: What advice would you give to a college student today who may be interested in a career in media?

Gerry Sutton: It is a challenge. There are still the traditional routes that exist – working up through a large media company, for example. However, the onset of digital has driven two new routes which are becoming increasingly critical. The first, from an operational side, is to learn to code. This may seem both obvious and challenging, but all media these days is being served or created through technology. That will only increase. A background in coding can serve as a real differentiator with respect to technology. Secondly, get involved now to begin building your resume. The barrier to entry for producing content is so low anyone can do it (quality of content aside). Whether you’re a director or a journalist, there are opportunities for you to immediately develop a professional footprint. Don’t wait to leap in – in some way shape or form.

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