The television ad industry has been connecting brands with consumers for 60 years – with little change. My father covered the Mad Men days of the New York ad industry as a trade publisher when agencies had all the answers and brands were virtual passengers.
When digital landed we created more of a gap between basic demographic targeting and the new hyper-personalized, click-based targeting that frequently produces odd results – like the Skate ramp ads I am still getting from my son’s birthday purchase.
Fast forward to 2017 and now brands and video providers have the data, agencies are playing catch up and TV has grown up as a multi-platform medium. An important part of this story is the growing addressable TV ad market that combines the reach and data of a cable operator with the quality of TV advertising – and in TV read premium video – to deliver the right ad to the right home.
Addressable advertising creates a more capable middle ground between the traditional TV age and digital ‘over-targeting.’ And when advertising becomes more efficient it relieves pressure on frequency and relevance of ads – creating a better user experience. It does not replace the value of national brand advertising but enhances the broadcasters’ toolkit – in some cases attracting new to TV ad spend due to lower campaign costs.
Today, Liberty Global’s UK business, Virgin Media, has signed a collaboration with Sky’s targeted advertising service AdSmart to expand addressable in the UK and Irish markets. It’s a rapidly growing market, with strong performance from US operators already generating almost $1bn in addressable TV ad revenue, a figure that’s projected to grow to $2.2bn by 2018.
Essentially, Liberty Global leverages its set-top box and multi-platform reach by using data to define new customer segments and delivering the ads into the segment homes. In this way we play a critical role in the development of cutting-edge, data-driven advertising. The investments we are making today will deliver new opportunities for broadcasters and advertisers across our footprint. This includes plans for five markets by the end of 2018 and services that are already up and running in Belgium (on linear TV) and the UK (on Virgin Media’s video on demand service).
It’s an exciting time for consumer brands who are desperately seeking more efficiency – and we’re very proud to be playing a part.