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‘Programmatic’ ad-insertion goes ‘live’ for TV

The UK’s Channel 4 is just one of many European broadcasters who are making heavyweight changes to how TV commercials are sold. While many of today’s broadcasting ad-sales confirmations can still frequently be faxed into the broadcaster, this is rapidly changing, said Jonathan Lewis, C4’s head of digital and partner innovation, speaking at IBC’s ‘Advertising Meets Big Data’ session.

Delegates learnt that today’s typical digital usage on computers, consoles and smartphones would carry about 40% of their commercials from dynamically generated ads and via realtime bidding to appear on the web page. “TV is very different,” said moderator Rob Ambrose, “not least because of quality issues and compliance.”

Lewis said C4’s demographic skews younger (16-34), “so it is in our interest to drive innovation with this premium programmatic platform which we are calling our Automated Ad Allocator”.

Lewis said that C4 now had some 12 million registered users, drawn from its various channels and platforms and was already supplying around a half-billion streams via its All 4 service to around 25 different platforms, and were thus a ready and willing market for personalisation.“Remember, we launched a year earlier than the iOS and even the BBC’s iPlayer service.

“Test users of our dynamic ad-insertion include brands such as Coca-Cola and Burberry. Coke saw a 59% boost to sales (and a Cannes ‘LION’ award), and Burberry a 55% uplift for their use of the system and using highly personalised ads.”

He explained that the technology was now moving into mainstream TV starting this October on consoles, iOS and Android platforms and then using Freeview, Freesat, YouView and Sky’s Adsmart options, as well as being available on Samsung ‘smart’ TVs.