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Event Spotlight: The StreamTV Show 2023

This year’s StreamTV Show – a gathering of industry leaders across the OTT ecosystem – garnered its biggest crowd yet. We heard from experts on the most pressing issues facing the streaming industry today, connected with clients and partners old and new, and celebrated the whole way through at the StreamTV Awards Gala and Wurl-hosted Happy Hour.

Missed this year’s event? Check out our favorite moments and most notable insights from the show below.

FAST or Friction?

Conversations around FAST – Free Ad-supported Streaming Television – dominated the stages at The StreamTV Show. In his opening keynote address with Colin Petrie-Norris, Chief Revenue and Platform Officer at Xumo, Gavin Bridge, Senior Media Analyst at Variety Intelligence Platform declared: “This is the year of FAST.”

Speakers debated on the concept of FAST becoming “Cable 2.0” as Colin Dixon, Chief Analyst and Founder of nScreenMedia called it. “Familiarity with the cable viewing experience is what made FAST easy to get started, but it needs to get better,” said Dave Bernath, Wurl’s Vice President Sales & Partnerships, Americas. Others agreed that while cable paved the way for getting viewers access to more content, FAST is now introducing a better viewing experience with more content that appeals to niche audiences.

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Dave Bernath and panelists onstage at The StreamTV Show.

Where there’s room for improvement, many agreed, is in the FAST viewing experience and discoverability of content. With so much FAST content now available, consumers face a friction point in trying to find content that interests them. In response to being asked about the one thing that is a real challenge for delivering a quality experience in FAST, Stefanie Zuroff, Business Development & Content Partnerships at Samsung TV Plus noted, “Discoverability. There are a thousand FAST channels out there. We’re trying to keep it curated to a small number, but also make sure we surface the right content to the right people.”

Advertising’s New Rules

Naturally, with conversations around FAST came an equal amount of discussion on advertising and monetization. “The content experience and the advertising experience is the experience,” emphasized Katherine Pond, Group Vice President of Platform Content, Partnerships, and Programs at Vizio.

Takashi Nakano, Senior Director of Business Development and Content Acquisitions at Samsung TV Plus, agreed: “The ad experience is as important – if not more important – than the content itself.”

In his panel on “The New Rules of Data-driven Advertising,” Craig Heiting, Wurl’s Head of Corporate Strategy, asked panelists how they’re currently using AI in their advertising efforts. Speakers noted the technology’s usefulness for applications like building audience profiles, forecasting, and providing recommendations.

Optimizing for ad loads and fill rate also remains top of mind for content distributors. Reed Barker, Head of Advertising at Philo explained how with the “proliferation of inventory” comes more ad spots to fill, and echoed sentiments around the role ads play in the overall content experience.

Craig Heiting and panelists onstage at The StreamTV Show 2023.
Craig Heiting and panelists enjoy custom “AI-created” cocktails.

Music, Wurl-a-ritas, and Memories

Day one of The StreamTV Show concluded with the StreamTV Awards Gala, where Wurl celebrated our Vice President Sales & Partnerships, Americas, Dave Bernath, who was nominated for Content Partnerships Executive of the Year.

The next day, we welcomed attendees to our Wurl-hosted Happy Hour – complete with lawn games, live music, and the hit of the evening: our custom cocktail, the “Wurl-a-rita.” While rain earlier in the afternoon had us preparing to pivot inside, the Westminster sun came around to make for the perfect outdoor gathering. It wouldn’t have been such a success without all of the industry notables, partners, clients, and colleagues who attended. Thank you!

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Celebrating Wurl and ContentDiscovery at our hosted Happy Hour event.

We can’t wait to see what conversations unfold at The StreamTV Show 2024. Until then, you can find more great recaps of the event on Fierce Video (including a deeper dive on Wurl’s panel here), and learn more about how Wurl is addressing streaming’s top challenges by getting in touch.

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