Revolutionising TV buying: programmatic Linear TV ad break

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Thomas Servatius, co-CEO at smartclip Europe, introduces Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement, the company’s new adtech innovation designed to bring the efficiency and automation of programmatic buying to linear TV.

Advertising is a business of attention, and in an age of constantly – and drastically – changing media consumption behaviours, attention is a scarce resource. In recent years, everyone involved in TV advertising has had to adapt to digitisation and increasing competition for viewers’ attention across devices and platforms. There is no doubt that these changes have presented challenges, but they have also presented many new opportunities — ways to reinvent TV advertising and use this mass-market medium to secure the much-sought-after attention of target customers more efficiently and effectively. Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement is the next big opportunity in TV advertising, designed to transform how linear TV ads are bought and sold.

Meeting the needs of today’s advertisers and broadcasters

Traditional linear TV – where content is delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, or over-the-top (OTT) services according to a broadcaster- set schedule – continues to be a key medium for many brands, offering huge potential for advertisers to grab the attention of a broad audience. However, buying advertising spots in linear TV breaks has, until now, commonly been a manual, often time-consuming process that has been difficult to digitalise. As technology evolves, today’s advertisers are more accustomed to the efficient, automated processes used in digital advertising, which reach their potential customers via precise, data-driven targeting, and they are eager to bring the same qualities to their linear TV advertising campaigns.

Facing competition from digital giants, traditional broadcasters are under pressure to offer effective targeted solutions that meet their advertisers’ needs, respect the user experience, and ensure brand safety, data protection and privacy – all while upholding the high standards of TV advertising. Many have already initiated significant changes to tackle the digital transformation and modify their monetisation streams. These include investing in new technologies to enable advanced cross-device targeting and Addressable TV advertising solutions made possible via smart TVs, as well as forming partnerships, alliances, and joint ventures with regional operators and distributors.

Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement is the next big opportunity in TV advertising, designed to transform how linear TV ads are bought and sold.

Introducing Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement

Representing the next major step in the development of TV advertising, Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement is designed to meet the evolving needs of both linear TV advertisers and broadcasters. This innovative new solution enables the digital substitution of spots within a linear TV ad break via programmatic, automated buying processes. It gives advertisers the ability to place targeted ads through Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), applying the programmatic paradigms they are accustomed to using in digital advertising and reaching relevant audiences at scale within the traditional linear TV ad break.

Programmatic ads can essentially be placed into any position within a linear ad break with versatile options to deliver personalised

Programmatic ads can essentially be placed into any position within a linear ad break (depending on the broadcaster’s preferences), with versatile options to deliver personalised messages to relevant target groups in a brand-safe environment. Supported ad formats include the digital replacement of multiple spots within an ad break or single spot placements as well as the delivery of a pre-roll like format into a linear channel – for example, an ad that plays when the TV is first turned on, right before the live TV content appears.

Enabling the placement of ads in the linear ad break will ideally require minimal integration efforts on the DSP side as the solution is predominantly based on IAB standards. In addition to the benefits it brings to advertisers, Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement also brings new monetisation opportunities for broadcasters, enabling them to open their premium linear live TV inventory up to the more efficient, automated world of programmatic buying. However, it is important for broadcasters to retain control over key aspects of this process when making programmatic buying available on their channels.

More specifically, broadcasters need to maintain full control over their data and guarantee the quality of the programme, in terms of technology and creative. Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement has been developed to guarantee these key quality and privacy control requirements. Our solution provides the technology required to facilitate creative approval and ensures that all ads are served in the optimum way, and it also maintains full control of downstream data flow via smartclip’s advanced data protection features. 

smartclip is one of the first adtech companies to offer programmatic advertising in the linear TV ad break at scale, and we will begin roll out of Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement in the coming months, reaching a few million households across our core markets (Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Spain). By listening to the needs of advertisers and broadcasters, we have been able to deliver a new solution that brings this popular medium right up to speed with market requirements, paving the way to a successful future for everyone in the business of linear TV advertising.

Thomas Servatius

Thomas Servatius

co-CEO, smartclip

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