Discovery Ramps Up New Streaming Ad Formats

By Warner Bros. Discovery InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Discovery Ramps Up New Streaming Ad Formats

As the streaming service discovery+ gears up for its second year of existence next month, parent Discovery, Inc. is pushing pedal to the metal by giving advertisers more ways to connect with viewers.

The Discovery Advertising Sales unit recently introduced a suite of eight advertising formats for discovery+. The formats also can be used on the GO streaming apps, which allow viewers to access the company's many linear channels, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and HGTV.

Early sponsor reaction to the initiative is "very strong," according to Jim Keller, Discovery's Executive Vice President for Digital Advertising Sales and Advanced Advertising. "They know that ads are not necessarily viewed [here] as a disruption," he said. "They are viewed as part of the entertainment. Somebody is going to learn from the ad experience because it's so endemically linked to the content they're viewing."

Although all eight formats are attracting deals early on, four are picking up the most interest. They include:

Green-Light, a one-day sponsorship that gives an advertiser the very first commercial availability that all discovery+ viewers watch, no matter when they tune in that day.

Lime-Light, where a program runs with limited commercial interruptions, so that a given client's ads are delivered to greater advantage.

Showcase Ads, giving viewers the chance to purchase food or home-centric products during a message.

Marquee Collection, customized campaigns that allow an advertiser to select specific shows from a library of over 60,000 episodes where they want their commercials to run.

Use of the formats is complementary, not a substitution, to linear ad buys. And a mix of the two is paying off. Discovery advertisers that run connected/smart TV and digital spots along with linear messages are getting a 16% lift in incremental audience reach, Keller noted.

"Everybody knows consumers are in control of how they are consuming different content, both in ad-light and ad-free formats," he continued. "We want to make sure we're offering ad messages to our viewers that excite them, entertain them, inform them and allow them to engage with our marketers' messages in unique and different ways."

Internal ad servers assist Discovery in ensuring the specific advanced ad format the client wants is carried out. Kraft Heinz's recent use of Green-Light ads is one of several avenues this format can work to an advertiser's advantage, in Keller's estimation. "You can sell this to a movie advertiser to help promote an opening day in theaters," he said. "You can sell it to a car company that's launching a new line of cars on a specific day or do something fun around a national donut or pizza day."

The other available formats include:

High-Light, giving a sponsor ownership of a program's first commercial break, reducing clutter and increasing impact.

Stop-Light, which serves up ads after consumers pause their sets, rather than during the traditional commercial break.

Spot-Lite, where a sponsor invites the viewer to watch a program ad-free after bingeing three episodes of that program in a row.

Search-Light, where advertisers match specific commercials to specific episodes based on multi-word expressions spoken during the episode, such as "ice cream" or "beach trip."

Look for other advanced ad options involving discovery+ to launch next year, including one where viewers get a choice of ads to watch from a specific advertiser during a commercial break.

As time goes on, ad opportunities will become increasingly interactive, Keller concluded. "We'll continue to explore solutions that create more shoppable and commerce experiences."

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