Egta insight on Addressable TV: interview met Jeroen Coeymans, Director of BI

12 Nov 2020

Jeroen Coeymans

egta sprak met Jeroen Coeymans, Director of Business Intelligence bij SBS Belgium over Smart AD. Lees hieronder het volledige interview in het Engels.

egta: Could you please tell us more about the key components of your addressable offer? What are the main solutions offered by SBS in this area? Who are the partners involved (ad tech partners, telco providers)?

Jeroen Coeymans (JC): The key element of our addressable offer is the dynamic ad replacement in live TV (spot-by-spot replacement). Our Smart AD product was launched in September 2017 and initially it fully relied on the cable network (set-top-box) technology. Our first partner was Telenet. In January 2020, we extended our offer. Thanks to an agreement with Proximus, we are now able to offer IP-based addressable solutions. Deals with these two telco operators allow us to cover 75% of households in Flanders. This makes Flanders the region with the highest penetration in the world when it comes to addressable TV.

In terms of ad tech, we mostly rely on the technical base provided by our telco partners, who work directly with software and technology vendors: Telenet works with Invidi and Cadent and Proximus with FreeWheel.

egta: Could you please explain how audience attributes, segmentation and targeting work within Smart AD? What types of data are used in your addressable solution?

JC: Currently, we offer three targeting options:

  • Advertisers can buy based on basic segements, which use socio-demographic information (market statistics) and viewing data provided by our telco partners. The simple basic criteria include: location, age, gender, purchase power, family typology/lifestyle, house owners, garden owners, etc. and can be supplemented by some extra basic attributes (such as culture fans, sports fans, music lovers, gamers, tech savvies and many more). Buying based on basic segments is the most popular option among our clients. In fact, 70% of the campaigns are purchased against socio-demographic criteria. Geo-targeting is used in 1/3 of the campaigns we run.
  • For specific segments, apart from data sets provided by our telco partners, we also work with Bisnode - a third-party data provider.
  • Our clients can also ask for tailor-made segmentation (eg. to be able to include/exclude their own client lists).

All data sets used in our addressable offer are GDPR compliant.

egta: What part of your inventory is addressable?

JC: Currently, nearly all breaks on the TV channels we sell are addressable and contain ads that can be dynamically replaced.

Since our addressable TV product is purely audience-based (they allow targeting viewers meeting specific criteria regardless of the programme that they are currently watching), we do not exclude nor favor any type of inventory (eg. unsold inventory, dayparts, specific channels, etc.) in our addressable offer.

This approach allows us to capitalize on all types of audience - including the light viewers. Since the real differentiator for light viewers is not reach but viewing time, this is where an addressable offer can make a difference as it can deliver very specific messages to this  specific audience segment as soon as it is watching, even when these viewing sessions are short and scarce.

We pay a lot of attention to the optimisation of the campaign delivery. We have a full control over campaign delivery and manage aspects such as frequency capping, spread (min. number of minutes between impressions), clash codes (to avoid ads for two competing brands, appearing subsequently in one break).

egta: What does the reporting for your addressable campaigns look like?

JC: Currently we only offer an overview of the reach on different levels and the number of delivered impressions (including the information about the daily campaign delivery throughout the week and different day parts).

egta: Is there any specific campaign type/format that "dominates" your addressable offert?

JC: You might expect that Smart AD is mainly used for call-to-action, but 75% of our addressable campaigns are targeted branding campaigns - without any call-to-action. This makes sense, because TV always brings a big 'branding' contribution to the table. That said, even the call-to-action campaigns, still bring a great branding value.

egta: Do you combine your TV (targeted and linear) and OTT offers or are these two distinct products?

JC: For the time being, we sell TV (classic and addressable) and OTT separately and we do not integrate them within the same offer - mainly due to technical reasons. Targeting on linear TV and set-top-boxes is done on a household level, while on OTT we target individual users. Currently, it is difficult to translate the household data into user data. 

Another reason is the fact that we do not collect and use viewers' data in the same way (using the same criteria) on our different outlets. Therefore, we cannot transfer viewers' consent from one outlet to another and apply it to different platforms. But we are working on a retargeting solution to connect the different platforms.

egta: Could you please tell us more about the pricing system for your addressable offer?

JC: We believe that the key to success is to make your offer as simple and easy to understand for your clients as possible. This is why we use the flat CPM pricing model for our addressable product: the level of CPM remains the same for almost all targeting criteria, with a premium for more complex targeting.

In fact, we introduced this model as a temporary solution, when we launched Smart AD, with the intention of revising it after six months. in view of the positive market response, we decided to keep it as it is. This allowed us to make our offer simple and transparent. It also enables us to shift the center point of the negotiations with clients from pricing to campaign results.

That said, we do realize that, in the long run, the current flat CPM might not be a sustainable model (as it may result in the over-targeting of high-value targets) and therefore we may have to introduce a more granular pricing solution - depending on the market evolution.