Up until very recently, IP delivered video has for the most part been regarded as an add-on by the television industry. However, the launch of YouView last year — a set-top box combining both broadcast and IP delivered services — promised to finally push online content into the heart of the mainstream TV experience. As well as providing a platform for connected TV apps, YouView has been working with ISPs and content providers to allow them to make IP delivered TV channels available that will appear in the program guide alongside the regular set of broadcast TV channels.
YouView-style hybrid services are a particularly attractive opportunity for ad tech companies with platforms designed to meet the needs of broadcasters and owners of long-form content. One such company is Videoplaza, a sell side ad management platform, who just announced they’ve been selected by STV – the Scottish franchise of ITV, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster – to manage their video advertising across multiple devices and services. STV will be using Videplaza’s Karbon platform to manage advertising on its STV Player, website stv.tv, and its ‘hyper local online service’, stvlocal.com.
The deal gives Videoplaza market presence in an area which they say ‘provides an opportunity for broadcasters to grow their audience reach and develop new premium revenue streams’. However, while the potential is undoubtedly there, YouView hasn’t had the smoothest of launches, and the service has been hampered both by delays in getting to market and a hefty £299 retail price for the boxes. According to the Guardian YouView had approximately 260,000 subscribers at the end of January, but those numbers are expected to rise significantly as BT and Talk Talk advertise more heavily and continue to offer the boxes for free.
New Video Audiences
In an interview with VAN, Stephen Byrne, UK Commercial Director for Videoplaza, said, “One of the reasons we’re so excited about this announcement is that we see YouView as real game-changer as the demographic user of a YouView box is typically different to the type of person you find online accessing catch-up/VOD content. It tends to be an older audience who require different targeting and advertising requirements, which is going to require broadcasters to approach campaigns differently.
“It’s also exciting in that we’re going to see the uptake of IPTV services similar to the those that are so prevalent in Europe, particularly in places like France. So it’s the first small step towards the UK moving into line with the rest of the European market,” he added.
Broadcaster Ad Strategies Evolving
But as online advertisers know all too well, device and audience fragmentation creates a need for more targeted advertising. Are broadcasters ready to adapt to this new way of working? Rags Gupta, COO of Videoplaza, says there’s still some work to do. He said, “It’s partly down to how broadcasters are currently organising themselves to sell. We’re seeing many customers who are still combining and unifying digital and traditional broadcast to sell it as one package. There will need to be a transition at some point and we’re already in that phase now, but it’s not going to be able to happen overnight.”
However, broadcasters are adapting their strategies in other ways, as Byrne explains, “The value that we bring is that you can create ad insertion policies at the device level, so for instance you might want to reduce the number of pre-rolls for YouView, where the viewer might want to get straight into the content – then you can set up a few mid-rolls further down the line. Whereas on mobile, it’s easier to get the programme up and running, so they might be more inclined to sit through two or three pre-rolls. But of course it also depends on the type of content too.”
So, technically, is there any difference between serving ads into YouView? “In this case the ads can be served using VAST, but one of Karbon’s strengths is that it’s so easy to create device profiles at the back end, so you can target, forecast and report based on the different device groups you’ve selected via the user interface. So STV for example, have a ‘YouView profile’ enabled so they can target campaigns specifically to YouView. We think that’s a very different and unique proposition in comparison to what’s on offer in the rest of the market.