By: Matt Wasserlauf, CEO and Founder of BLOCKBOARD
That’s what I have to say to the newest entrant into the Digital Video Advertising industry: Netflix. Welcome to the business. The water is warm!
Last week, Netflix announced its partnership with Microsoft to sell Advertising across its vast streaming platform that reaches an audience of over 200 million viewers worldwide. The announcement was a surprise to many across the Digital Ad market because Microsoft, a leader in the digital ad market twenty years ago, has been an after-thought from the business ever since.
When I heard this announcement, two thoughts came to my mind. First, was a feeling of genuine surprise and appreciation for this new partnership between Netflix and Microsoft on what most deemed an unconventional collaboration of two tech titans. I’m old enough to remember the pre-cloud, computing tech giant that Microsoft was when they
ran the dominant MSN Ad powerhouse in the early 00’s. They were a powerful entity under Steve Ballmer who definitely threw his weight around.
The second thought that came over me was a grave disappointment in the current Video ad ecosystem of what I am not only a pioneer of but also a current stakeholder in (my company is called BLOCKBOARD). Netflix’s choice of Microsoft as an ad partner serves as an indictment of the players that currently dominate the space, namely Google, Meta and TradeDesk. These companies are all showing signs of fatigue and malice as well as anti-competitive behavior that has governments around the world on edge.
This moment in time across Advertising is critical. As Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix said on their earnings call, “It’s the end of linear TV over the next five, 10 years.” Netflix’s decision to partner with Microsoft is a shifting of the current way the business is done and should move the market in a new and more positive direction. Had they gone with one of the more traditional options, it would have been more of the same but these troubling times call for change.
I applaud Netflix for their decision and look forward to a fresh start and new approach to the distribution of Digital Video Advertising.