The Americans are coming

Sometimes a new platform or craze lands and everyone scrambles around for information on how to monetize it or just how to jump on the band-wagon. It happened a few years ago with AR & VR, London was a buzz with startups looking to exploit the new tech. Now it’s happening again with advanced TV.

One of the first stages in a new phenomenon are the calls from our American cousins looking to partner with local London businesses to get their feet under the table early. At Toast, we’ve now had two such calls, from American startups looking to expand into the UK market with platforms that are already up and running in the US. We’ve been doing our research into addressable TV in the UK, read on to see what we’ve found.

What is Advanced TV?

As with many new things people haven’t coalesced around a name yet. Advanced TV is the catch-all term for the ability to serve a TV ad to one family or device rather than traditional TV advertising. Other names used are, Addressable TV, addressable VOD and OTT advertising. These terms are usually platform-specific.

Often seen as the holy grail of advertising, being able to pick your audience and serve the right content to them has been an option for years in the social world. Folks like Facebook know everything from your inside leg measurement to your favourite position! Adressable TV looks to add the same functionality to traditional TV advertising, allowing advertisers to target viewers in the massive TV advertising market directly.

Will Addressable TV Advertising work in the UK?

So far Sky is charging ahead in the UK with their Sky Adsmart platform. Sky uses data about customers to allow advertisers to serve addressable ads to a customer’s set-top box.

One problem for UK advertisers are the silos currently set up on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime Video. Anyone that’s had the joy of logging into UKTV play on FireTV to watch Taskmaster on Dave will know this can’t – and shouldn’t continue.

Channel 4 has a vast inventory, and the broad scope of their channels means they can offer advertisers a decent audience size but nothing close to the audience for linear TV. Software is another issue, and advertisers are going to quickly tire of flicking between ad serving platforms for each broadcaster. Attribution will also be hampered by these silos, with a large spreadsheet needed to work out which platform wins in terms of ROI.

UK broadcasters may be unwilling to invest large amounts of capital in new tech while traditional advertising revenues are up, boosted by the big online firms such as Facebook and Amazon. Perhaps once the war for social eyeballs cools, and the TV advertising splurge from the big online beasts cools broadcasters will have to start investing in addressable TV companies.

The next level of TV Advertising

How do we know addressable TV will be significant? Because companies like Oracle are buying PPC slots advertising their interest in the platform, this is a good indication that the big boys are betting on providing the back-end services needed for addressable video advertising.

Last year, Amazon spent 21% more on TV advertising than in 2017. Imagine if Amazon could sell you a specific product via DRTV advertising, not just Amazon brand advertising, but something that you’d been looking at tiny preview pictures of online suddenly appears on your TV as a glossy full-frame TV advert.

We looked at this future in a previous blog post, with some of our predictions coming true, whispers of a programme called “ad-attributed search” mentioned online.

We’ll keep answering the calls

As with all things new, there’s always a certain amount of BS to wade through before things settle into something that makes sense – and money. So we’ll keep answering the phone and keep our minds open about a partnership with anyone looking to get the best from addressable TV.