Amazon is bringing more ads to Fire TV and its streaming video sites in a product update that comes as brands are looking to increase their presence within the e-commerce giant’s sales and content machine.
Amazon announced new places where ads would start to appear on Fire TV, which is the device that streams to connected TVs of more than 50 million viewers. One new ad unit is called “sponsored content rows.” The ads are mostly for media and publishers to promote shows and movies. A brand like a TV network with a streaming app, or a movie subscription service, could show up to 10 titles in the row to attract viewers, Amazon said.
“The sponsored content row can be used to showcase premier titles from a service catalog, demonstrate breadth, or both,” Amazon said in its announcement. Amazon also expanded the inventory where it will show display ads, like banner ads and screensaver ads, on Fire TV, Prime, IMDb TV and Twitch, its popular video streaming site.
“We’re making it easier by introducing sponsorship opportunities paired with high-quality content from Prime Video, IMDb TV, Twitch, and third-party content,” Amazon said.
The so-called “sponsored content rows” will be sold programmatically, through online auctions to the highest bidder. Those will be sold on a cost-per-click basis, meaning the advertiser is charged when the viewer taps into the content.
While this type of ad unit likely appeals to the major streaming companies that put their apps on Fire TV, it could be a way for brands that are integrated with programming to also get visibility. The streaming services are doing more brand deals that work the marketing directly into the content.
Mark Book, senior VP and head of content at Digitas, says that brands are increasingly looking for such deep content partnerships. One such program launched this week, where Samsung sponsored a show called “Exposure,” a reality series about photographers, which is featured on Hulu. Amazon has a fashion reality show with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn called “Making the Cut,” which has ties directly to sales of apparel created by contestants on the show.
It’s these types of sales and programming that are attracting more brands, Book says. “There is more room to play from an interactivity perspective,” he says. “You can have more connected deeper dive experiences with characters brought to you by a brand.”
This also is how Amazon is thinking about its video ad offering as it heads into this year’s NewFronts, where it will promote Fire TV, Prime Video, IMDb TV and Twitch. NewFronts starts next week, and it will be Amazon’s first year at the show, which is organized yearly by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Amazon has been on a tear in streaming video this year, just as it has been surging in e-commerce, and ad sales are benefiting. On Thursday, the company reported that the ad portion of the business generated $6.9 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 77% year over year, a significant acceleration from the fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, revenue from e-commerce sales rose 44% year over year to $108.5 billion in the first quarter.
Earlier this year, Amazon struck the first-ever digital-only rights deal to stream Thursday Night Football starting in 2023. Amazon won the rights after Fox had owned the broadcast deal for years. Amazon will be the first digital platform where a portion of National Football Games will run exclusively. The move was viewed as another way that Amazon could marry e-commerce with one of the hottest properties for brands and marketing, U.S. football.
Amazon also announced on Thursday that it redesigned the Fire TV app, undoubtedly, partly to accommodate the new ad experience. The new look is also meant to help ease navigation and discovery of content, Amazon said.
Amazon will have more to say about its lineup of shows and video platforms when it hosts its NewFronts on Monday.