Ria Madrid, VP of Media Operations at XUMO

Ask The Experts: Publishers

November 14, 2018

Connected TVs have enabled audiences to watch thousands of movies and shows but with the number of different apps available, channel surfing isn’t what it used to be. One of our partners that has ingeniously found a way to help viewers find and watch great content is XUMO. By offering both a curated programming stream, similar to what audiences are already used to on their TV, and on-demand library, XUMO makes it possible for everyone to find something that piques their interest. Whether you’re looking for news on NBC or Bloomberg, gadget reviews on CNET or Wired, or a new recipe on bon appétit or Tastemade, XUMO has it covered. We caught up with XUMO’s Vice President of Media Operations Ria Madrid to learn more about XUMO and what 2019 has in store for the company.

The holidays are almost upon us and it’s XUMO’s busiest time of year – can you tell us a little more about that?

In addition to a surge in smart TV sales and explosive advertiser interest, this holiday season brings several areas of growth and company milestones for the XUMO team. We’ve been keeping some very exciting new distribution partnerships under our hats and we’ll finally have our “shout from the rooftop” moments over the course of Q4 and into Q1 2019 by means of CES. With these new integrations, we expect to see game-changing maturity in our audience footprint and the ability to offer robust cross-screen segmentation – both in scale and overall consumer diversity. Being able to share this news, and our enthusiasm for what we’ve been painstakingly working on behind the scenes, is something we are all very excited to do this holiday season.

With so many things to watch on so many platforms, what draws people to XUMO and keeps them coming back for more?

User experience, engagement and quality of content are key performance indicators that the XUMO team obsesses over. With so many options saturating the market, we have to be sure we are always focusing on what is important – providing our viewers with an exceptional entertainment experience and staying ahead of the curve from a technology and product standpoint. Not only does XUMO activate an average of two new channels per week, but we are also continuously optimizing our service to make XUMO an entertainment destination worthy of daily tune-ins where viewers feel compelled to lean back and stay awhile.

With the plethora of paid services on the market, remaining a free TV service is something XUMO holds paramount. The ad-supported OTT sector is where we started, but through several feats of engineering, we now offer an elegant, easy-to-use multi-screen interface; all of which remains absolutely free to our viewers.

What is a development in the OTT/CTV landscape you’re looking forward to? Do you think there will be any major trends that start in 2019?

Accessibility to the masses. With so many cable, satellite and telco companies embracing streaming services, the “Streamer” demographic will cover far more than just a young, cord-cutting audience. Next year is poised to be a big year for ASV OTT in terms of widening consumer appeal and the availability of quality, ad-supported content. It will also be exciting to see growth in live OTT TV options and how the technology to support advertising in this type of environment will continue to be developed.

In terms of developments at XUMO, we’ve been building a customized content delivery product, fully-equipped with DAI capabilities. Officially rolling out in early 2019, this will greatly expand the breadth of our service offering to content partners—existing and new—becoming a true one-stop solution for multi-screen distribution.

What is a misconception that brands have about connected TV that you want to dispel?

Not all OTT is created equally. In order to have your hooks into the data that’s critical for meaningful advertising, it is important to understand the benefits of working with an app or streaming platform with native TV OEM integration(s), versus the alternative. XUMO is currently available on LG, Hisense, Magnavox, Panasonic, Philips, Sanyo, Sharp and VIZIO smart TVs.

What is the most important thing that the industry has to solve for?

Maturity in measurement and attribution tools available to advertising professionals working in the OTT space. Third party vendors have made great strides over the past year, but there is still plenty of room for advancement. As with everything else, this will further point the microscope on quality and provide a more compelling argument for shifting traditional TV spend to OTT. Having successfully integrated Nielsen Digital Content ratings, comScore, and multiple DMP partners, we are doing our part to contribute to these advancements of OTT data insights and streaming trends.

What is your favorite channel or show on XUMO?

I tend to get sucked into our newly released channels. What initially starts off as a QA review for ad experience, quickly turns into full-blown binge – especially with all of the free TV and movie additions to our lineup! On a more regular basis, I do turn to our pop culture and news channels for my daily dose.

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