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Defining Premium vs Non-Premium CTV Inventory for Advertisers

For an expression that dates back millennia to the old days of digital media advertising, it is becoming increasingly clear that the term 'premium vs non-premium inventory' is on shaky and uncertain ground when used in the context of CTV advertising.

Sadly, and I mean sadly, the adoption of this legacy term is causing too many buyers to think pretty much solely that the name of the streaming service is what defines premium vs non- premium CTV ad supply. For example, they will say that Hulu, Peacock (and soon Netflix) is premium when compared to independently owned FAST channels or CTV apps (I won't add an example here because it will serve against the point we're making).

While these services are indeed premium, we think the approach is a mistake, unless of course you are basing your definition of 'premium' CTV inventory on the fact that you'll like paying a premium for your supply - lol. Instead, here are the things we pay attention to at Origin, regardless I should add, of whether or not the client has asked for 'premium' CTV inventory.

Basic considerations:

  • Bot/fraud-free (spoofing is big business in CTV).

  • Content being offered to the viewer (eg channel exclusive vs widely available).

  • Audience scale (aka avails).

More detailed (yet equally critical) considerations:

  • Screen attentiveness.

  • Ad experience (this is a rabbit hole of its own).

  • Session/Audience quality (the duration of the 'current session' is a material indicator of viewer engagement and why we're developing the Origin Device Quality Index - more on this another time).

  • Location (living room vs DOOH).

  • Extent of data passed back through the ad request.

  • Contextual relevance (finding the right viewer who's watching the right content for your brand is powerful stuff).

Every one of the considerations above (plus a few others that I've probably forgotten to add) are equally important and need to be considered if a brand is to have a successful CTV advertising campaign, because at the end of the day all that ultimately matters is WHO you reach and HOW likely they are to engage. Whether your ultimate campaign objective is brand awareness or full-on activation, these are the bedrock of success.

To that end, the more acute readers among you will notice that there is no mention of 1st and 3rd party data targeting in the list above. So we're clear, of course this matters. It just has nothing to do with the supply provider per se beyond them having the scale needed to tick the boxes.

So there we have it. Too much of our focus today when it comes to choosing 'premium' CTV inventory is basically being dictated by the price they are paying for it and too little thought is being put into what actually makes a CTV ad impression more effective at doing its job.

Call me simple-minded, but the purpose of an ad is to sell a product, right? So let me end by asking you this: what do you care about more - serving an ad to someone because they're watching a certain channel or serving an ad to someone who might just buy what you're selling.

Finally, we put our money where our mouth is. If you click here, you will see all of the major direct distribution partners that connect to Origin's Native CTV SSP. It spans the board from local to national and from blockbuster movies to indie features.

If you want to talk to us about our pioneering Native CTV advertising solutions or learn more about Origin's Native CTV SSP and our media partners, drop us a line:


Origin is a creative technology company whose pioneering Native CTV advertising solutions have reshaped the way brands engage and activate consumers on the largest screen in the home.

Fusing first to market ad formats with proprietary ad serving technology and direct distribution deals that span the media landscape, Origin's Native CTV solutions elevate attention, recall, consideration and outcomes for brands who are seeking to redefine the meaning of success on Connected TV.

Origin was founded by media veterans Fred Godfrey and Stephen Strong whose careers have been shaped by their relentless commitment to enraging the status quo. Learn more at


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