German broadcasters Seven.One Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of ProSiebenSat.1, and RTL Deutschland are setting up a new technology joint venture geared towards growing the availability and accessibility of addressable TV advertising across Europe. The partnership is the latest in a series of collaborations between the two rivals, who have been two of Europe’s most active broadcasters when it comes to putting their competitive instinct aside and forging meaningful alliances.
The two companies say the aim of the new joint venture is to “establish existing technologies for addressable TV based on open standards, such as HbbTV, on the European market”. The initiative will offer “central technical solutions to consumer electronics manufacturers and broadcasters to make interactive services on Smart TVs more easily accessible for the innovative advertising form provided by addressable TV”.
Standards such as HbbTV exist to make it easier for broadcasters to offer interactive services which work across different device types and manufacturers. But while this massively simplifies the process (since it avoids broadcasters having to design different technical implementations for different devices), there’s still a lot of work which goes into creating products which get the most out of the interactive capabilities which these standards enable. Even just understanding these ever-evolving standards, and how to work within their frameworks, is very technically complex.
Thus RTL and Seven.One entertainment say they will create a “technical bridge” which will make it easier for broadcasters to connect their new addressable TV ad offerings with these open specifications. The aim is to reduce the barriers for broadcasters to be able to launch addressable TV offerings, or for smart TV manufacturers to run them. The two broadcasters say that solutions created by the joint venture will be licensable for all European broadcasters.
A rising tide…
While RTL Deutschland and Seven.One Entertainment will likely directly benefit from the fruits of their labours themselves, this new offering seems to be more geared towards growing addressable TV advertising across Europe as a whole.
After all RTL and ProSieben’s addressable TV advertising offerings are among the most advanced in Europe, fuelled in part by d-force, another joint venture between two which powers programmatic sales of addressable TV and online video inventory. Just last week, d-force announced that it had seen 86 percent growth in spend on addressable TV ad campaigns between June 2021 and May 2022.
But both broadcasters seem firm believers in the principle that a rising tide raises all boats. As addressable TV advertising grows across Europe, agencies and brands will become more familiar with the format and its capabilities, reducing the barriers to investment. And in the face of competition from the tech giants, as well as the international paid streaming services which are gearing up to run ads on their own content, attracting more spend into linear TV could be beneficial for all European broadcasters.