Q&A with LightBoxTV co-founder Dean Cussell

Published on
August 3, 2021
Dean is co-founder and COO of LightBoxTV. He has a track record of launching and scaling products with his previous company Statiq having a successful exit to Telefonica Group. Here Dean talks about CTV and the recent launch of LightBox.

What is the current state of Connected TV in the UK?

The promise of CTV is well documented, combining the influence and impact of the TV screen with the targeting, measurement and real-time activation of digital is still the dream. What makes now such an exciting time is that we are at the point where there is enough scale in CTV to deliver meaningful campaigns, and we are still only at the very beginning. There is great TV content to be accessed from so many sources now, and this is only going to grow.

How does the UK compare to other advanced markets such the US?

Everyone says the US is 2 years ahead of the UK and this is true in many ways. Consumption of ad funded VOD is certainly further along in the US. Hulu has the name recognition to rival the SVOD giants, and this has played a role in fast tracking behavioural change. We haven’t had that in the UK so discovery of some of the AVOD apps has been slower, but the recent UK growth figures for these apps is very impressive.

Another key difference is around data privacy. For example IP address is commonly used for household addressable targeting and attribution in the US (for how much longer is up for debate). We can’t use IP addresses in the same way in the UK so we need different solutions.

What challenges are LightBoxTV solving for?

Firstly planning is a challenge right now. Fragmentation of many kinds, across supply sources, data, devices etc. The data from the same show on the same app can look very different depending on the path it takes to the buyer. We are also moving towards more silos as content owners build out their own closed ecosystems. This can make simple questions hard to get a complete answer for. Where will my ad actually run? Will my 3rd party measurement work? What is the best route to inventory? Some of the most valuable data lives outside of the bid stream and this all needs to be factored in. It is often the job of a small team of planners to figure this out and we are building the tools to help manage this process.

On the other end of this is reporting and analytics. Legacy digital systems often don’t answer the right questions when it comes to Connected TV and this leads to more time spent pulling spreadsheets and unharmonised data sources together. We believe to truly solve this you need to come at it from a CTV first mindset, and LightBox platform is purpose built to address this.

Proving ROI is the 3rd area that we spend a lot of time on. We are working with some great partners in this space and are excited to bring some of these solutions into the LightBox platform, which we will be announcing over the coming months.

Finally, how do you see the space evolving in the next 12-24 months?

Regardless of delivery method we are in for a treat as there is a TV production backlog to get through due to the pandemic. We will see more ad funded TV apps, with more access to quality content. We are aware of a few new apps that will be launching soon that we are excited about and expect big things from.

We will be a step closer to all TV being addressable, some innovative broadcasters are already making huge strides in this area so that will be one to watch closely.


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