Estrella Media's Christina Chung Talks Expanding AVOD Channels' Targeted Reach Via Media Partners
What are some of the best approaches to take to help expand AVOD channels’ targeted reach via media partners? Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, sits down for a chat with Christina Chung, VP Business Operations, Estrella Media, in this Streaming Media East 2023 interview.
Siglin welcomes Chung and mentions that they last spoke during Streaming Media West 2022, then he asks her to introduce herself and talk a bit about Estrella Media and her role in it.
“I’m the VP of Business Operation at Estrella Media,” Chung says. “My particular role is I build out the digital infrastructure for the business, so everything from monetisation, ad operations, and business intelligence.”
“For those who may not have seen the prior interview, what is Estrella Media?” Siglin says.
“We are one of the largest producers of Spanish language content in the United States,” Chung says. “Our digital business reaches 10 million unique monthly viewers [and] we have 260 million minutes viewed of content every month. So it's a pretty broad platform across our FAST channels and our AVOD platforms."
The Current Challenges For SVOD and FAST Channels and How Estrella Media Faces Them
“So let's talk about the current economic climate, especially with FAST,” Siglin says. “One of the things I’m seeing is that interest in launching FAST channels is declining, although, interestingly, possibly declining because the revenue splits are a little unfair between the gatekeepers, the Rokus, etc., versus what revenue the FAST channel owners have,” Siglin says. “But regardless, there's a challenge in challenging economic times, both [with] SVOD and FAST. Does Estrella see similar issues?”
“I think that there's an opportunity,” Chung says. “As with every economic uncertainty, there's always an opportunity to find ways to reduce costs, increase revenues, and overall generally produce a better ROI. Some of the things that we've really found are that we want to scale the business with limited resources. And how do we do that? We find more automation. Where's that automation coming from? It’s coming from data. So we're trying to do a lot more with data, and where is that data coming from? It’s coming from a lot of our technology partners, our distribution partners, and all of this data is going to help us better inform our businesses and therefore disseminate to our ad serving into our programming. So it's very important for us to be able to get the data that we need, which sometimes is behind walled gardens at the moment. And so we are trying to reach out to these different business partners to try and get some of that data so we can be better informed about how [to] reach our Hispanic audience in a much more curated way, whether that be through programming or advertising.”
Addressing Issues Around Data, Privacy, and Advertising
“One of the other concerns that I've heard people raise raises around advertising [is] that [it’s] too personalised,” Siglin says. “Several companies here have suggested that they're making it easier for their FAST viewers to opt out of being tracked from that standpoint. Does Estrella have a similar strategy if somebody doesn't necessarily want highly personalised ads?”
“Most certainly,” Chung says. “I think generally, from an ad-serving capability perspective, users have a lot more capabilities if they want to be tracked or not. If users want to be tracked, we can curate certain ad experiences. And if not, we can do a more generalised ad experience.”
“Now you also mentioned partners,” Siglin says. “Are the partnerships just on the technology side or the media side?”
Chung says that Estrella manages their partnerships based on the nature of their relationships. “From the tech side, these could be our ad surfing partners,” she says. “We use a few different ad servers, but our primary one is FreeWheel. We work hand-in-hand with FreeWheel. We work closely with our Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) and CDN partners, such as Amagi. And then, we also work with our business intelligence. So that's the technology side. When it comes to our distribution partners, we all work very closely with all of our different partners, whether on the actual distribution, so getting the content onto each of these different related endpoints. Also, the marketing team. How do we make sure that their consumers know of Estrella Media’s content? How do they know what's coming up in the Fall or how do they know what's coming up next month?”
Siglin asks if Chung has any announcements she would like to make about Estrella’s media partner space.
“Our sales team is doing a really phenomenal job,” Chung says. “Our audience really captures this under reached market of U.S. Hispanics. One of the things that we discussed in our new fronts and upfronts presentations was that one third of Estrella Media's audience is actually not looking at other competition. That's really interesting because that's incremental reach for our advertisers and our clients. And we actually just recently announced in the last few months a really great partnership called EMAS, Estrella Media Audience Solutions. This particular formation is the combination of four different independent media entities that are really focused on the Hispanic audience. And that includes Estrella Media's networks…Hemisphere Media is five networks, beIN SPORTS has two networks…that combination has a total reach of 26 million unique audiences. So it’s a really great opportunity, and we're very, very excited to be announcing it.”
How Estrella’s Partnerships Assist Advertisers in Finding the Best Hispanic Media Placements
Siglin says, “From a practical standpoint, somebody who would watch the typical Estrella Media who also wants to watch beIN Sports because they're Hispanic sports followers – does this make it easier for them to find that content?”
Chung says that Estrella Media’s EMAS sales team approach is aimed at helping advertisers find the best possible placement in Hispanic media through its suite of media networks. “For us, this is one way to compete with the big competitors out there,” she says. “But then also finding this other representation of Hispanic audiences that our other competitors may not be reaching. This is allowing these four independent media companies that are a bit smaller to be actually represented more in the market.”
“And you can build out a better demographic of a particular [area],” Siglin says. “That makes sense. Because it may be somebody who likes content you have, but is also a sports fanatic…”
“Exactly,” Chung says.
“Cross-pollinate,” Siglin says.
“And it's under one marketing team and one sales team,” Chung says. “We're representing everyone. It's a very unique opportunity, but it's also very unified, which is very helpful.”
Learn more about FAST, AVOD, and targeted advertising reach at Streaming Media Connect 2023.
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