FreeWheel forms pact with OrkaTV to enhance ad buying against FAST channels, content

Comcast's ad technology firm FreeWheel has made a pact with OrkaTV that will give its marketing clients easier access to more than 3,500 free, ad-supported streaming (FAST) content streams.

In a press release issued on Thursday, FreeWheel said the agreement with OrkaTV will give advertisers "more accurate contextual advertising targeting abilities" and help marketers reach "a more diverse pool of FAST ad inventory," which will generate more demand.

The partnership will help FreeWheel and OrkaTV resolve some pain points experienced by marketers who launch streaming-related campaigns, including missing and inconsistent metadata associated with certain inventory across channels and platforms. The outcome will help ensure "consistent video contextual data is available to the ad buyer and can be mapped to corresponding audience segments," and marketers using FreeWheel's ad solutions can buy inventory that will help them reach certain demographics.

"Improving the viewer experience is a top industry priority for us and this new partnership with OrkaTV will help pave the way for that," Emily Bromley, the vice president of growth at FreeWheel, said in a statement. "With this new integration, advertisers can better reach target audiences at a granular level, while engaging and capturing their interest with a new array of premium FAST channels."

OrkaTV bills itself as the leading marketplace for streaming television, and touts a number of relationships with leading FAST channel providers in the space. Among its clients are Samsung, LG, Plex, Amazon, Redbox, Philo, Local Now and Sinclair's STIRR, along with Comcast and Charter's joint venture Xumo.

One of OrkaTV's unique approaches toward selling ad inventory is through "packs" of channels that it likens to exchange-traded funds: Rather than sifting through all 3,500 FAST channels available in its marketplace, OrkaTV collates bundles of channels into different packs, including general entertainment, news, sports, kids and political.

OrkaTV also provides contextual-level content metadata, which is extremely attractive to FreeWheel and its tech-based ads solutions.

"Advertisers put a lot of value in contextual relevance, but often their ability to understand the media they’re buying stops at the URL or app level," Marc Gaccione, the senior director of marketplace activation at FreeWheel, told StreamTV Insider by e-mail. "Content-level metadata goes one level deeper, describing the actual video rather than its more generic environment. OrkaTV provides a means for FreeWheel to include these content metadata signals to our buy-side partners."

Gaccione said the type of metadata that OrkaTV is able to provide FreeWheel includes genre, rating and show duration, along with other information that can be extremely useful to ad buyers.

"With the help of industry groups like the IAB, ad tech platforms, publishers and advertisers can unify these metadata signals into a marketplace-wide taxonomy that benefit the CTV and FAST channel advertising ecosystem," Gaccione said. "Ads work better if the messages can reach the intended audience."