GroupM Launches ‘Finecast’, a New Addressable TV Advertising Company

WPP-owned media investment body GroupM today announced the launch of Finecast, a new addressable TV advertising company that provides advertisers with a single access point for buying targeted ads across multiple TV environments (on-demand, linear and live streaming) with standardised measurement. Finecast will be headed up by GroupM’s Jakob Nielsen who will be taking on the CEO role. Nielsen will be presenting the Finecast product publicly for the first time at New Video Frontiers in London next Wednesday and he will be joining the addressable TV panel afterwards.

At launch Finecast will offer distribution via Sky, Virgin Media, Samsung, YouView, Amazon Fire, Roku, and games consoles including Xbox; this ability to deliver addressable TV advertising across such a variety of platforms makes it the first of its kind in the UK. The platform will provide access to around 180 targeting segments, with data drawn from platforms including Acxiom, Experian, MasterCard and Kantar. While only operating in the UK for now, Finecast plans to expand into other markets as it grows.

On the ad tech side, Videology’s technology will be key for things optimisation and allocation. Finecast will also be plugged in to TV sell-side ad servers and platforms such as Cadent, Invidi and FreeWheel. Then the company will also make use of GroupM’s [m]Platform for data management and TechEdge for measurement, which for example can combine Sky and BARB data for planning purposes. However, Nielsen said the product will be evolving continuously as the addressable TV space evolves.

Xaxis for TV?

Nielsen confirmed to Video Ad News that advertisers will not get a full breakdown of technology and media costs as they didn’t with GroupM’s Xaxis. However, Nielsen was keen to stress that all clients will opt-in in the full knowledge that that’s what they’re buying in to. “The reality is that if we don’t build a product like this at our own cost, it simply won’t exist. And when we’re building something at our own cost, we have to charge accordingly. Our clients know this wouldn’t exist without investment and they’re excited by to see a sexy new product that meets their needs in the way that no other product on the market does.”

Finecast will be headquartered in London and other people in the leadership team include Chief Product officer Rich Astley, formerly of Videology, with GroupM executives like Global CEO Kelly Clarke and Chairman Irwin Gotlieb providing strategic guidance. In an interview with Video Ad News, Finecast CEO Jakob Nielsen said that the project was the brainchild of Irwin Gotlieb who has been strategising on addressable TV for ten years now, evidenced by GroupM’s investments in companies like Visible World (one of the early forerunners in addressable TV advertising, acquired by Comcast in 2015) and INVIDI.

“By unlocking the ability to be targeted in TV campaigns, Finecast opens the door for new advertisers who haven’t used TV before, and it gives traditional TV advertisers new ways to use the medium.This represents tremendous upside for TV broadcasters,” said Kelly Clark, Global Chief Executive Officer, GroupM. “Through partnerships and joint investment, Finecast will also provide a platform for industry collaboration on new products and measurement standards.”

Nielsen sees his addressable TV advertising platform as a way to keep TV advertising revenues high even as digital advertising grows. “With the rapid growth of digital advertising, TV budgets may be at risk from new competitors, particularly as digital video improves in quality and ease of access,” he said. “Finecast’s offer of scaled cross-platform addressable TV solutions is a win-win for TV providers, their advertisers, and consumers who can enjoy highly relevant commercial messages in their big screen viewing.”

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