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By Christophe Kind, Director Market Development, Advanced TV Advertising, MediaKind

Since the invention of the internet over four decades ago, the way we consume and engage with media and entertainment has radically evolved. Even over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a fundamental shift in consumer viewing habits towards streaming and video-on-demand content models. For advertisers, this digital evolution offers a ripe opportunity to capitalize on new technology advances, which allow them to connect with their audiences more directly and efficiently than ever before.

The most exciting product of the IP-delivery era for advertisers is addressable TV advertising; the ability to show unique ads to different households watching the same program. It has helped to redefine programmer-consumer relationships and opened up exciting two-way conversations based on first-party data.

Yet, the TV advertising landscape remains relatively complex to understand. First, the technology used to enable advertisers to deliver ads to individual households selectively is quite fragmented. Then, consider that there is no established industry standard, and operators may not have existing relationships with advertisers, certainly to begin with. The opportunity to engage audiences and reduce channel switching is ripe and will only grow further. However, operators must first find ways to build relationships with advertisers and capitalize on the data already available to them.

The recipe for success in addressable TV advertising

The key ingredients for success are reasonably straightforward. Addressable TV advertising helps operators maximize their advertising budgets and reach a specific audience using qualified first-party data in a premium TV inventory. Depending on the ownership of these two assets (first-party audience data and the premium TV inventory), three use cases are derived:

  • Distributors have their own inventory, which they monetize in a linear fashion, becoming increasingly targeted
  • Programmers and OTT pure players/vMVPDs deliver premium TV inventories over free ad-supported TV (FAST) services to a direct-to-consumer (D2C) audience
    • In parallel to leveraging new inventories enabled by OTT consumption, programmers are also making their “legacy” broadcast TV viewership addressable. Please refer to the “TV Advertising Trends & Opportunities” application paper for more details on this particular use case and related business, legal and technology challenges

The last use case consists of bundling a programmer’s premium TV inventory, enriched by a distributor’s high-quality, first-party segmented data inherited from long-standing relationships with end-users.

Addressable advertising solutions for every TV workflow

I recently joined Proximus’ Gert Marien, Innovation Manager, TV, Adverts & Digital Media and Gérald Sauvageon, SVP Sales Video, Addressable TV at Smart AdServer, to outline our recent project in the addressable TV advertising space. During the panel discussion, we looked at how operators can support per-user targeting across live, time-shifted, and on-demand content working with all ABR formats within an addressable TV advertising ecosystem. MediaKind, for instance, is currently applying this technology to power Proximus’ addressable TV advertising service, using its PRISMA advertising portfolio for a dynamic ad-insertion solution.

Gert Marien revealed that one of the reasons for the deployment was that despite having an intimate relationship and an in-depth knowledge of its audience, Proximus could not monetize from it. PRISMA has helped to address Proximus’ challenges by making more of its audience addressable, in both main and second screen instances, – in turn enabling it to target ads on a per-user basis, whether for live, non-live, or near-live content.

Deploying MediaKind PRISMA’s server-side dynamic ad insertion (SSAI) solution, Proximus Is able to deliver rich, targeted adverts by eliminating any latency when switching between original programming and replacing or inserting ad spots. The project enables pre/mid-roll SSAI across all workflows and all ABR formats, ensuring maximum resistance against ad-blockers. Due to minimal developments needed on the receiving terminal, the deployment also means there is little to no need for Proximus to maintain multiple client applications.

Personalization is the future of TV

Any Pay-TV operator’s goal is to deliver content offerings that provide the best experiences to their audiences at the best possible cost. Luckily, as the addressable TV advertising landscape continues to evolve, new technology developments emerge by the day, and practices surrounding standards and compliance are regularly renewed and updated.

Operators can leverage the technological advancements in this area to better understand their audiences, helping them build closer relationships like never before through content personalization. Big data and machine learning are opening the way for deeper audience insights in the future, and the evolution of the market is only set to continue.