ITV this morning announced it has agreed a new commercial partnership with Virgin Media O2 which will cover IPTV, advanced advertising, and deeper integrations of ITV services within Virgin TV. The deal will eventually see ITV offer programmatic access to addressable advertising on its linear channels through its Planet V buying platform, a significant milestone for the offering.
The wide-ranging agreement will initially see ITV’s on-demand service ITV Hub fully integrated into Virgin TV set-top boxes. The two haven’t specified what this full integration will look like, beyond saying it’ll be easier to search for ITV content through Virgin’s interface, and new features including cloud recording will be made available to some Virgin TV customers in the future.
Ad inventory on this ITV Hub content will be available through ITV’s self-serve buying platform Planet V. Virgin’s own customer data could theoretically be layered into these buys, providing more targeting options, though the two haven’t specified whether this will be the case or not.
But even more significantly, the two have announced that ITV Hub and ITV’s linear channels will all be available on Virgin TV’s upcoming IPTV service.
And when this happens, ITV will begin selling addressable ad inventory for these linear channels through Planet V too. So far, inventory has been limited to ITV Hub, though the broadcaster has long said it planned to eventually enable programmatic buying for its linear channels too.
A busy first year
It’s been just over one year since Planet V went live, and signs suggest that ITV’s programmatic buying tool has had a successful debut.
Over the past year ITV has been steadily training up agencies and advertisers on how to use Planet V, while also layering in new capabilities – notably an integration with data clean room InfoSum.
ITV also brought in Samsung Ads as a partner last December, selling inventory on Samsung’s CTV channels through Planet V.
CEO Carolyn McCall has frequently mentioned Planet V in quarterly financial results, saying that the buying tool is driving more investment in ITV Hub, and leading major advertisers to experiment with VOD-only campaigns.
Now one year in, ITV will look to continue fleshing out Planet V’s capabilities. Today the broadcaster also announced the introduction of a new ‘Dynamic Creative Solution’, in partnership with ad tech company Cablato. The new feature lets advertisers dynamically adapt creative to different audiences, while maintaining broadcast quality and Clearcast approval.
Today’s step into selling linear inventory may also be a sign of things to come, as the broadcaster has previously indicated it will gradually expand the volume of linear inventory available over time.