UK broadcaster ITV this morning revealed the first solid details of its upcoming programmatic addressable TV advertising platform, announcing that the platform will be called ‘Planet V’, and will launch in February next year. The new tool, developed by Singtel-owned ad tech company Amobee, will be trialled in an initial concierge period next month, prior to its full roll out in 2020.
ITV says the platform, first announced in April this year, will allow advertisers and agencies to buy inventory across ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s on-demand platform. Planet V will enable advertisers to optimise and monitor campaigns in real time, and will allow targeting based on audiences built with a mix of ITV’s first party data and the advertisers’ own data.
ITV’s first party data is gained through its direct relationships with customers on the ITV Hub. Part of ITV’s strategy in recent years focussed on heavily pushing Hub registrations and its efforts seem to be paying off. Earlier this month, the broadcaster announced it has reached 30 million registered users, a target it had originally set for 2021.
Planet V has been compared to Sky AdSmart, Sky’s own addressable advertising platform which is seen as a leader in the addressable advertising space in Europe. Unlike AdSmart, Planet V won’t let advertisers buy addressable campaigns on linear TV. But this may change, as ITV’s managing director of commercial Kelly Williams said ITV will be “continually evolving platform, providing the very best frictionless, data-driven buy, in a premium, brand safe environment, for our clients”.
Steve Ballinger, managing director of commercial and trading at Dentsu Aegis Network said the new platform looks set to meet advertisers’ demands for better addressable TV advertising tools. “It’s fantastic ITV has taken a leadership position in this area,” he said. “Planet V is exactly what the industry needs. ITV is investing in technology to enhance and evolve how we buy programmatic, data targeted VOD in premium inventory and that can only be a good thing for clients.”
Williams said that as part of the launch, ITV is extending an open invitation to any other broadcasters to join the platform. But it will be competing with AdSmart in trying to tempt others to join Planet V. ITV itself declined to join AdSmart, preferring to develop its own tech. But AdSmart has the lead, having already signed up Virgin and Channel 4 to join the platform.
Regardless of whether other broadcasters join Planet V or not, the tool is a key part of ITV’s strategy. ITV has been increasingly reliant on digital revenues recently as linear ad sales have stuttered. In its Q3 trading update today, the company announced that total ad revenue was up one percent year-on-year, thanks in part to the Rugby World Cup. But for the first nine months of the year overall, total advertising revenue is down three percent, though online revenues specifically are up 23 percent.