DISH's Scott Berger on OTT and DR Together as Part of a Full TV Ecosystem

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Cover image for  article: DISH's Scott Berger on OTT and DR Together as Part of a Full TV Ecosystem

Just like the television marketplace in general, DR advertising is evolving at a rapid pace.  Scott Berger, General Manager of Direct Response and Multicultural at DISH Media Sales, sees DR, whether via linear or OTT, as a part of the ecosystem.  "Whether it's delivered by a satellite or over the internet, it is TV," he asserted.  "We approach OTT in the same way we do traditional television.  Jumping into OTT is like partnering with an MVPD -- you can buy a broader rotation if needed or layer on targeting through an audience-based buy."

I have to admit that OTT and DR together are a new concept for me, so I reached out to Scott for more information.

Charlene Weisler:  How new is OTT and DR in the marketplace and how is it pacing?

Scott Berger:  Buying live and on-demand content over-the-top is still relatively new.  Since dynamic ad insertion was enabled at the end of 2015, we have seen the number of advertisers grow rapidly as more inventory becomes available.  Viewers are moving over to OTT and advertisers are following those eyeballs.  I expect that advertising on OTT will eventually become mainstream as traditional pay-TV declines.

Weisler:  Please talk about the attribution chain for OTT and DR.  How does it work and what does it provide an advertiser?

Berger:  OTT provides extensive post-campaign measurement that allows advertisers to track reach and frequency, impressions, network and device performance and video completion rates as well as access custom measurement opportunities.  Brands that take advantage of addressable opportunities across OTT benefit from longer attribution windows and access to more robust ROI reporting.  Consumer behavior is changing -- people are picking up the phone to purchase less and less.  When is the last time you saw a 1-800 number and picked up the phone?  With addressable, we have factored in longer purchasing processes with attribution windows from 30-90 days that take into account in-store purchases, website traffic, etc.

Weisler:  What data can you collect and merge?

Berger:  To enhance the intelligence within our DISH and Sling TV subscriber data sets we have partnered with the industry's major data providers, from the more general analytics companies like Experian and Acxiom to specialized data vendors such as Polk and NCS.  Our targeting capabilities include household demographics; third-party data such as purchase behavior, lifestyle behavior or conquests, as well as first-party data including customer list matches, promotional sign-ups, direct mail lists or loyalty programs.  Specific to the programmer category, we've developed in-house tune-in models to drive viewers to a program using anonymized viewership data and third party segments.

Weisler:  What is the value proposition for OTT and DR?  Does it vary from linear DR, from programmatic, and from data driven advertising?

Berger:  DR advertisers can no longer rely solely on traditional TV to drive action among their consumer base.  Due to the increasing numbers of cord-cutters, linear TV buys are reaching fewer viewers and ads are not seeing the responses they once did.  OTT services like Sling TV that offer live and on-demand programming give marketers the ability to serve ads to these hard-to-reach viewers and close the cord-cutting gap.  They also combat common digital pain points like ad fraud, ad blockers and low completion rates by delivering a true television experience to the consumer – just without the cord.

On OTT, ads are served via dynamic ad insertion (DAI) and only air when the viewer's device is on.  With traditional non-targeted linear advertising brands can only hope that their target demo is watching a specific channel at a certain time.  With OTT, DAI finds the viewer and delivers the ad only when they're watching content, therefore increasing the value of impressions served.

Weisler:  How is the latest technology (like the use of pixels) helping OTT and DR?

Berger:  New attribution data such as pixels and mobile location data have allowed DR advertisers to more effectively close the loop on addressable campaigns.  A brand can now send a 1:1 message to Sling subscribers and determine whether they went online to purchase or walked into a store. It is a true return on investment.

Weisler:  Where do you see DR in general in the next three years and how large role will OTT be in that?

Berger:  It's audience-based buying across live premium content.  DR advertisers focus on who their audience is and find that audience regardless of where they are in the live stream.  Over the past three years, we have essentially been alone in the live OTT marketplace.  In the past year or so we have seen more players enter as live sports and live news drive viewership.  Looking ahead, the space will only continue to grow, and as more viewers adopt OTT more advertisers will jump on board.

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