Paving OTT’s Path with Innovation

Rebecca Lerner
Jan 21, 2020 · 3 min read

It’s no secret that streaming TV is going to play an integral role in the future of the marketing mix, with recent eMarketer estimates showing that US advertisers spent almost $7 billion this year on connected TV ads in 2019. The same study also forecast that CTV ad spend will increase 100%, reaching $14 billion by 2023.

With this type of rapid growth, it’s easy to get blinded by the new shiny object in the room. But the only way to ensure a bright future for OTT is to proactively solve for the future. Many of the challenges OTT will face are inextricably linked to the features that advertisers love most about digital.

The Digital Downfall

While digital advertising revolutionized marketing with automation, precision targeting and attribution, it also opened the door for fraudsters to take a piece of the pie through a variety of methods like bots, looping, misrepresentation, spoofing, and server-side ad insertion fraud (SSAI). Now, fraudsters are applying these same methods to OTT, costing advertisers an estimated $1.4+ billion last year according to a recent Fraud In OTT report from AdLedger.

Even more troubling, MadHive recently found that 20% of OTT ad requests are fraudulent — up from 18% earlier in 2019 — which means the problem is getting worse. “Fraudsters are constantly evolving, so the industry has got to do the same,” said Adam Helfgott, CEO at MadHive. “Instead of depending solely on the traditional web or mobile techniques that rely on JavaScript, the industry needs to leverage next-generation technologies to fight invalid traffic in-flight and preclude fraud from occurring in the first place.”

Learning From Our Mistakes

Unfortunately for traditional digital advertising, with fraud exceeding $23 billion in 2019 and showing no signs of slowing down, the only way to remedy the problem is by addressing the underlying infrastructure. Luckily for OTT, the industry is still young enough that we can leverage and incorporate innovative technologies like cryptography, blockchain, AI and ACR directly into the infrastructure, which will provide additional layers of defense to identify and eliminate fraud.

For example, MadHive uses cryptographic techniques to maintain absolute certainty that all data running through the platform hasn’t been altered or exploited by third-parties. Additionally, MadHive dynamically fingerprints the different supply paths including key elements such as publisher IDs, Quartile Pixels, VCR and Price Floors to not only optimize price, but also algorithmically identify any invalid or suspicious supply paths.

“The only way to stop fraud is to keep innovating, and to stay one step ahead of bad actors by leveraging emerging technologies,” said Christiana Cacciapuoti, Executive Director at AdLedger. “But in order to implement next-generation technologies like cryptography, it takes collaboration from key industry stakeholders.”

Collaboration Is Key

When developing the infrastructure for an advertising ecosystem, it’s essential to have input from companies across the supply chain. That’s why MadHive and TEGNA founded AdLedger, the non-profit research, and development consortium building and implementing the blockchain and cryptography standards for digital media.

The consortium brought together influential companies like Publicis, WPP’s GroupM, Omnicom and Meredith, and is actively engaging in testing several new standards and releasing educational materials — like the recent Fraud In OTT report which features extensive insights from members like Hearst Television, The Hershey Company, Omnicom Media Group and Reprise/IPG Mediabrands.

There is a huge opportunity ahead with OTT, with digital targeting capabilities coming to the TV screen. But there are some underlying problems that need to be addressed. And the only way to ensure that fraud doesn’t run rampant across digital TV is by incorporating cutting-edge technologies directly into the infrastructure and bringing stakeholders together to develop standards.


Programmatic shouldn’t be problematic


MadHive is an enterprise software platform that provides brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies the infrastructure to power modern media. Learn more at

Rebecca Lerner

Written by

Technology Marketing & Strategy Professional. Mom. 6th generation Californian. #VikingRiverCruises target demo. NYC.


MadHive is an enterprise software platform that provides brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies the infrastructure to power modern media. Learn more at

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