Peach has been one of the ad industry’s cornerstones for as long as we can remember. Having recently celebrated their quarter of a century business birthday, we caught up with Shelby Akosa, VP Global Growth, Creative and Production to chat about the changes over the pandemic and a look ahead of what's to come in 2022.
“At Peach, we orchestrate the creative workflow from production to playout, and we support the entire advertising industry by automating and streamlining video. We basically make it easier for creative agencies, media agencies, production, advertisers, broadcasters, and media owners to work across the entire ad-tech ecosystem.
This year we celebrate 25 years in business. During this time we’ve supported the entire advertising industry and now our focus is very strongly on workflows. We love this industry and even though advertising is not complicated, the whole process behind the workflow sure can be - that’s where we come in.”
We’re certain that there are plenty of people that will agree with you on that! You must have seen a fair amount of changes and challenges over the pandemic. What were some of the positive aspects that transpired?
“In March 2020, as airtime was being pulled and producers and crews got stuck on location unsure if they were going to get home, it was all a bit of a scramble. However, within a very short space of time, the true ingenuity and resilience of our community started to shine through.
It was interesting watching the creative output in the early days of the pandemic as advertisers were so concerned about getting the tone right. User-generated content was prolific as perfectly polished content just didn't feel quite right. Unfortunately, amateur video doesn't always make for usable content, and Peach spent a lot of time working with editors to ensure that we could get something that would not fail transmission standards.
We were asked to deliver a number of very last-minute campaigns that supported NHS workers, charities, and organisations trying to update consumers about essential services. One campaign was delivered in April 2020 with less than 30 minutes before its live airing. The team worked on it all day with real-time UGC updates - there was quite a lot of teeth clenching and holding of breath, but it was amazing when we watched it air.
A rhythm of work was quickly established, despite the changing restrictions. Shoots still happened but with limited numbers and more remote, safer ways of working became the norm. It made the need for collaboration platforms like Frame.io essential. It also fast-tracked many of our upstream APIs integrations as people relied more heavily on collaborative infrastructure.
On a personal note, I've found the ability to offer an entire industry a more flexible work pattern totally brilliant. Nothing beats the thrill of an in-person meeting or a get-together and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to the British Arrows Awards evening. But the pandemic forced our industry to look at long-held beliefs about remote working and to really assess what works and what doesn't. For individuals to be given the ability to understand more about how they work best is truly liberating.”
And we cannot wait to welcome you! It's set to be an incredible evening with lots of outstanding work to celebrate and to be able to do that in person feels all that more special. We feel very proud of the work that has been shared for this show as we know how hard everyone has had to work to get it across the line. As everyone settles into this new year with few to no restrictions, are there any challenges that you think the industry should be aware of?
“One of the most pressing challenges is the proliferation of digital content and the systemisation of platforms and processes. We’ve gone back to the early 2000s with the digital workflow process. Man management is high and there is higher stress on the platforms and in the processes. All of the control and certainty you have with linear and tv on a global capacity you don't have with digital. We are seeing stressed-out account managers doing roles that they were not hired to do. While the lead times for delivering digital campaigns are four times as long as for linear campaigns.
We see teams choosing to invest in a variety of different tech solutions and platforms that they think will solve their workflow problems. The issue is that many of these platforms do not connect up, so they are really just adding to the complexity - that is where we come in. It’s about the entire ecosystem, this is what Peach does so well, we integrate platforms up and downstream, enabling a more streamlined workflow.
The measurement conversation is also an important one that we are having with clients. How do we get to a common currency for both linear tv, addressable tv, and video on demand, as many of the ads are running on different infrastructure sets? To counteract this and provide a solution, we’ve just announced a new integration with Innovid where we are providing more efficiency for brands and agencies to create and manage video advertising across all media types, with a visible audit trail. So a massive step in the right direction.
Anything that helps with efficiency will be greatly received across the industry - there is no doubt about that! Is there any more you can tell us about Peach’s latest innovations and integrations?
“The last year has been a real game-changer for us!
We announced a series of integrations, including one with talent rights organisation The Team Companies while our platform integrations include YouTube, Google Campaign Manager, Comcast Technology Solutions, and Amazon Advertising’s Sizmek Suite.
At the back end of 2021, we announced our integration with Frame.io, connecting production with a distribution more seamlessly. In addition, we’ve been supporting the broadcasters in getting advanced broadcast video on demand infrastructures set up so the creative workflow can really work seamlessly.
We are enhancing the developer API for partners to pull content from Peach, not just to push content to us. There are going to be many more workflow enhancements on linear and digital to make life even easier for our users. And last but definitely not least, we will be rolling out Advalidation to more media owners and bringing the same benefits to advertisers and people on the buy-side.”
You really have been all systems go! Can you predict any trends for this year?
“At Peach, we experience ‘first hand’ the trends and innovations as our clients live and breathe them.
Automation is a big trend, as we see the volume of assets start to grow, so will the increasing complexity and scale of converged campaigns. We also see lots of manual effort, still! This really should and could be automated.
Secondly, is the development and emergence of best-in-class technologies covering different aspects of the creative workflow. The technology platforms being used are not always connected to each other, so the opportunity is there to create seamless experiences for our customers. Take for example our integration with The Team Companies where we created and joined up distribution and talent & licensed element management, this created a streamlined workflow to help global advertisers reduce exposure to usage rights violations saving them time and money.”
So Shelby, what else can we expect to see from Peach in 2022?
“Well, that would be telling! All I can say is watch this space. We carried out two big acquisitions last year with Adtoox, expanding our geographic footprint to the Nordics and Advalidation, strengthening creative QA in the digital space. And we announced some exciting integrations with Frame.io, Innovid, and Sizmek, to name a few! As we move into our 26th year we will continue to grow, collaborate and develop the advertising ecosystem, making it easier for creative agencies and brands to get assets to the right place, at the right time.”
We are really pleased to be sponsoring the Integrated Category at the British Arrows Awards this year and look forward to celebrating innovation and creativity in advertising. But even more so, super excited to see what 2022 brings.”
You can find out more about Peach and its services by visiting: https://www.peach.me