A view from Mark Middlemas

Tech viewpoint on connecting audiences

Technology has given TV advertising more power and flexibility than ever before.

As well as superior brand-building ability, TV advertisers now also recognise that there is a wide choice of ways to find audiences whatever device they are on, wherever they are.   

The emergence of technology means TV companies are now awash with data. Audience data has always been critical for the TV industry but, today, companies are mining much bigger, more valuable and immediate data sets from across increasingly sophisticated ecosystems.

Established players such as ITV, Channel 4 and Sky are beginning to harness their own data sets to help unlock sustainable growth, as are popular online platforms such as Netflix and YouTube.    

Powerful technologies are generating deeper understanding by cross-referencing terabytes of audience consumption data in real time. The result: better audience understanding, a more sophisticated content approach and more valuable advertising strategies.

Channel 4, for example, launched Premium Video Ad Xchange, allowing advertisers to buy demographic audience segments on its All 4 service across devices and platforms via programmatic. Meanwhile, Sky’s new AdVance enables advertisers to connect journeys across screens and extend the reach of a spot campaign digitally.

TV companies are leading the way in this period of data-positive marketing. It’s not just the data within their four walls they are harnessing. Recent history has painted TV and online media as enemies battling for consumer eyeballs. But attitudes are changing. Many are innovating through collaboration with ad-technology partners to help deliver an extra dimension to their businesses and connect with relevant audiences wherever they are.

For example, Sky set up a new programmatic ad system with Videology, while ITV teamed up with RadiumOne for a programmatic product called AdSync+ to unite traditional and new media. With ITV, when a TV ad airs, a similar digital ad can be served to multiple connected devices with a similar profile to the TV audience in terms of socio-demographics and geography.

The technology includes an additional layer of audience – those likely to be interested in the ad based on the online content they share or engage with. This extra "qualification" means advertisers are more likely to find the right consumers in the right frame of mind.

By operating as a sophisticated "system", not in silos, TV companies are leading the way in the big-data revolution. By harnessing internal and external data, they are connecting audiences and opening up innovative ways for brands to reach audiences. 

Mark Middlemas is the director of communications, Northern Europe, at RadiumOne