ITV launches Planet V as 'new programmatic ecosystem' for UK TV market

From today, agencies from Omnicom and Publicis Groupe will have access to the long-awaited ad-buying platform for ITV Hub.

Planet V: soft-launched in January
Planet V: soft-launched in January

ITV wants to avoid making “mistakes that the digital world has made” as it formally launches Planet V, its addressable TV ad-buying platform, to the market today (5 October).

Planet V will allow both advertisers and agencies control over the planning, buying and reporting of their campaigns across ITV’s video-on-demand service, ITV Hub. A key strategic priority for the UK’s biggest broadcaster is to digitally transform its ad sales operation as viewers consume more TV on catch-up and streaming services. 

Having soft-launched in January as an in-house “concierge” solution operated by ITV’s ad operations teams, Planet V has fulfilled ads on almost 500 million impressions on ITV Hub programming.

In the past month, ITV has begun enabling agencies to test the software and, from today, agencies from Omnicom and Publicis Groupe will have planning and buying access in the beginning of a phased rollout to major media buyers. While only media agencies will have access to Planet V in this phase of the rollout, eventually ITV wants to enable brands to buy ads direct. 

Kelly Williams, managing director, commercial, told Campaign that ITV built its own platform as a “new programmatic ecosystem for television” that would ensure all money spent on ITV goes to the broadcaster and is not hived off by third-party adtech companies, as happens in open-market ad buying for digital display ads. 

“It’s a complete step change in the way the industry can buy ITV VOD, it’s completely automated, it’s completely data-driven and it’s completely self-serve,” Williams said. “And its completely transparent, so there’s no third-party adtech companies taking their chunk of the media spend out of the value chain."

ISBA and PwC revealed in May that only 51% of the money spent on programmatic display ads actually goes to the publishers that provide the content and the advertising space.

“We’re trying to avoid that – we don’t want to make any of those mistakes that the digital world has made,” Williams added. “We’ve made sure it’s built specifically for broadcaster VOD, because if you use demand-side platforms off the shelf, they’re built for the digital display and video market where there is literally limitless inventory, most of it very low value.” 

“Ultimately, the skill of a programmatic buyer in that area is all about working out which inventory has got any value or not, whereas all our inventory is valuable."

ITV reports an audience of 32 million for ITV Hub, most of whom view for free and consume digital video ads, while there is an ad-free subscription option, too. Advertisers using Planet V should be able to use an array of targeting options to suit their campaign objective, such as extending the reach of campaigns bought on linear TV, or refining audiences according to a target market or the creative execution. 

The platform was built using Amobee’s adtech and integrating with “privacy by design” specialists InfoSum to enable brands to target audiences that blend their own data with ITV’s first-party data in a GDPR compliant manner. It plans to join up the tech stack with other data and technology, including Barb audience data, on an "end-to-end" basis. ITV has also invested £1m for a minority stake in InfoSum.

Williams also renewed an “open invitation” for ITV’s broadcast rivals, such as Channel 4 and Sky, to come on board Planet V in the coming years.  

He said: “We think premium broadcast content shouldn’t be bought and sold mixed together with non-premium online inventory. Success for us is that in a few years time, some other broadcasters come onto the platform. 

“We built it for us, we built it for a TV market, but it’s a platform that every agency is going to have sat on their desktop... If you can buy Channel 4 and ITV and Sky and other broadcasters, that’s got to be a positive for buyers.”

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