Loop Media Innovates Across Connected TV, Creates New Category
Originally published in Forbes, this article, written by Christos Makridis, details new initiatives by the Loop® team.
Over a year has passed since Loop Media got listed on the NYSE. Since then, the Burbank, CA based leader in streaming TV for businesses has made good on its promise to use its network of screens across North American venues for innovation, brokering major partnerships with the likes of Assembly AI for brand safety, and Microsoft Advertising to crystalize and better define the advertising category where it plays. Loop Media has also launched a first-of-its-kind self-service advertising platform and continued to foster a culture of experimentation in the marketing technology field that has benefited its entire ecosystem of stakeholders, ranging from venue owners and operators to their patrons to brands and advertisers to premium branded content providers.
Jon Niermann, Loop Media CEO
SOURCE: LOOP MEDIA
Partnerships That Benefit The Industry
Loop Media retains a nimble, but impressive, team of around 70 full-time employees with Jon Niermann, the Chief Executive Officer, and Liam McCallum, the Chief Product Officer, leading pioneering changes. They first met during their overlapping time in Electronic Arts. “As a leader, the way I approach technical innovation is a four-word business philosophy: Get Liam On It,” Niermann joked. “But seriously, going back decades now, we’ve just had this truly remarkable partnership, Liam and I, where we’ve found a way to build and ideate and test and reiterate and pivot until we’ve unleashed the right new technology to move the needle. Emphasis on the pivoting part, but that’s an important part!”
Bob Gruters, the Chief Revenue Officer, has also been an important addition to the team. With roughly 30 years in the digital media and advertising space with senior roles at Facebook and Viacom, Gruters has helped Loop broker major new partnerships, including with Microsoft Advertising (via its Xandr property). “What this Xandr deal does is really drag our industry forward quickly when it comes to clarity and ROI on the advertising side,” said Niermann. “In our central advertising video on-demand (AVOD) model, the advertisers foot the bill for the content we provide to venues. What makes the trains run on time, so to speak, is how effective we can make the advertising value chain for all involved, but especially the ad buyer, whom we want to provide maximum information and context around who exactly is going to see this ad and where, and that starts with effective categorization of the inventory.”
Prior to the Xandr partnership, Loop was dumped blandly into the wide and mirky Digital Out of Home (DOOH) bucket, which is confusing because it makes people think of random content on a billboard somewhere. “That simply didn’t fit with where we are these days. We were able to have Xandr create the connected TV (CTV) for OOH category with Loop as the first use case to better serve a wide swath of businesses with a much more accurate understanding of their ad purchase. It’s been a real game changer for Loop, and frankly, the entire space of in-business ad supported content. On this same front, it’s noteworthy that we’ve also joined the Interactive Advertising Bureau to continue advocating for proper designation of inventory,” Gruters explained.
“Microsoft Advertising is committed to empowering our clients and the industry to create a future that meets the evolving needs of advertisers, consumers, and partners,” said Erik Zamkoff, Microsoft Advertising’s associate director of Marketplace Development. “By utilizing the new Premium CTV-Out of Home (OOH) catalog, advertisers can easily identify, find, and activate non-multiplier CTV-OOH supply and can connect with consumers seamlessly in public spaces and venues on connected TV devices. The possibilities for brands to extend campaign reach beyond the home and maximize effectiveness are endless. Partners and publishers, like Loop Media, benefit from this new inventory category, as it provides buyers with more accurate information about the available CTV-OOH supply and enables buyers to extend CTV campaigns reaching valuable audiences in venues outside of the home.”
A new partnership also emerged with Assembly AI in July around the deployment of its AI-Powered Brand Safety Layer, which became a part of the loop offering for all stakeholders at no additional charge. Maintaining brand integrity is of paramount for venues that operate free ad-supported streaming television channels, so the partnership allowed Loop to offer state-of-the-art ad detection techniques at scale, ensuring businesses are shielded from inappropriate or competitive advertisements. Brands get assurance that no rival will show a competing ad in the same environment as the ad they’re showing, and families and family-friendly venues also get guaranteed assurance that no unsafe content would ever pop up randomly on screen.
"Preserving a business' reputation is paramount," said Gruters. Traditionally, businesses have not only been burdened with the cost of their television service but have also been compelled to accept all ads displayed without any control. Loop’s new Brand Safety Layer in partnership with Assembly AI is a cutting-edge network service that operates seamlessly with any demand-side platform (DSP). Loop leverages AI models to analyze speech, detect unsuitable content, and identify competitive keywords in advertisements streamed on Loop TV streaming channels. Platforms like Loop TV process billions of ad requests monthly, so thanks to this incorporation of best-in-class AI capabilities, Loop can effectively and efficiently ensure brand safety and that each advertisement shown on the Loop TV platform aligns with venue brand values.
Bob Gruters, Loop Media Chief Revenue Officer at Adweek NYC, 2023
SOURCE: LOOP MEDIA
A First Of Its Kind For Regional Businesses
Loop also released a beta testing of a self-service video advertising platform called “Loop Ads Manager” in September for local businesses and venues to advertise on the Loop Media platform. This new line of advertising revenue could be a significant contributor to Loop Media’s revenue, as Loop Media seeks to capture local advertising dollars that do not generally flow through the larger ad demand partners, which work with regional and national advertisers.
Local and regional venues, services, brands, businesses, and agencies will be able to place ads on any of Loop TV networks’ 71,000+ screens, which includes partner screens, via the Loop Media Ads Manager, built in partnership with OrkaTV—yet another key partnership, this time designed to empower local and regional marketers’ access to Loop Media’s powerful network.
“The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) estimates that national advertising makes up 35% of the yearly out of home advertising revenue and this is the area where Loop Media has primarily participated in since its inception,” said Niermann. “With Loop Ads Manager, which we’ve built for the growing local demand for our platform, we are now able to more aggressively participate in the local advertising revenue stream which makes up 65% of the annual out of home advertising revenue. In addition, we’re providing our customers—and essentially any local business— the opportunity to advertise directly on the Loop TV platform in their local markets or beyond. Advertisers will be able to select their choice of markets anywhere in the nation with a quick, efficient, easy to use tool, and at an advertising entry price point that a local business owner can justify and manage,” Niermann continued.
McCallum Unlocks The Power Of AWS
Loop announced on October 4th that it had “gone all in” on Amazon Web Services for total support of its many back-end systems, believing that it could not only amplify the team’s overall work product, but also streamline many business processes and create greater efficiencies. The 6 month-long migration was spearheaded by Liam McCallum and his team.
Liam McCallum, Loop Media Chief Product Officer
SOURCE: LOOP MEDIA
“Navigating the tech landscape has been a fulfilling journey for me,” said McCallum. “In the early days of LoopTV, we integrated technologies we were most familiar with. The opportunity here was to experience the cohesive integration of an entire suite of AWS products- it was much more about that than the superiority of any of them in a standalone capacity. Overall, we successfully migrated over 12 services to AWS, and we remain excited about exploring even more of their offerings,” he continued. The team from AWS Startups collaborated with Loop closely throughout the journey. “We had regular weekly meetings, where they provided invaluable support and architectural guidance throughout our migration journey... Such high-level support is something I've only experienced at larger companies, making it even more appreciated as a startup founder,” McCallum added.
McCallum and his team will continue leaning into what is possible on the interactivity front in-venue in the coming quarters, among other initiatives. “We’re all about pushing the bounds of what technology and product innovation makes the most sense in an in-business environment,” McCallum said. “If it's something that fosters engagement and creates a positive experience for patrons– which leads to the opportunity for increased sales for those businesses–chances are we’ll be working on it, whether that’s peer-to-peer gaming or something else.”