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  • Writer's pictureLukáš Hnilička

Interview: Hybrid is pushing the boundaries of addressable TV advertising capabilities.

Linear TV spots will be possible to retarget in HbbTV using the Afterspot tool. Hybrid will introduce it during the holidays, says Lukáš Hnilička.

According to the announcement from Hybrid Company, interest in HbbTV advertising increased by hundreds of percent this spring, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you explain this?

Although HbbTV advertising operates within the television environment, its essence is internet-based. Advertising can react extremely quickly, which was evident in clients' interest in deploying advertising messages aimed at assisting in the situation. Additionally, advertising can be targeted, for example, based on city size, which is also an advantage. We see that interest in addressable television is beginning to gain greater momentum. Other television channels, including smaller ones, are entering this environment, expanding opportunities for advertisers.

You mentioned the term addressable television. Is it synonymous with HbbTV, or how should that term be perceived?

Addressable TV is a general category, encompassing any television that can be targeted. HbbTV is primarily a technology that falls within the category of addressable TV. Addressable TV also includes IPTV or smart TVs, which are technologies based on delivering messages to viewers primarily via internet protocol.

Did the situation around Covid-19 reveal any additional targeting opportunities?

Even before the pandemic, we began preparing for further development opportunities. We reached a stage where it is necessary to move forward and start implementing the things we have been preparing. COVID showed the importance of reacting quickly in advertising campaigns, even on the television screen. Through advertising switch-ins, it was possible to create a campaign with a current message on the largest screen in the household immediately and flexibly. The COVID crisis also confirmed that targeting regions or cities and municipalities has great potential.

"While last year we talked about hundreds of campaigns in addressable TV, this year will definitely see thousands."

What are you specifically working on?

There will be more novelties, but the most significant one is the Afterspot service. It is focused on traditional linear broadcasting and helps advertisers target ads more precisely and optimize their frequency of viewing. Afterspot can recognize whether a viewer saw a particular ad in the HbbTV environment, allowing us to target them within addressable TV, for example, with pre-roll advertising in the archive or switch-ins. Thanks to Afterspot, advertisers can reach even light-TV viewers who spend minimal time in front of television screens. Some viewers see the message twenty times, which is probably too much, while others only once, which is too little. We work with what the viewer has seen and what interests them, and based on that, we respond to their behavior on linear TV.

Why should advertisers use it?

It allows achieving the reach that the advertiser desired. Based on how the viewer behaves, we decide whether to offer them the message. It also allows delivering additional campaign information to viewers who have already noticed the campaign and offering them interaction.

In general, thanks to Afterspot, we can work better with the audience.

Yes, it is a tool for working more deeply with viewers. In other words, giving the right messages to the right viewers. It can also be used in the programming department of a TV station or in marketing. If we know that a viewer regularly watches a particular series, we can offer them previews in VOD, for example. Conversely, if we see that they regularly watch a program and for some reason miss an episode, we can offer them a catch-up viewing. Viewership can also be counted towards delayed viewing. In this sense, the benefit of the new service may be just as important for programming departments as it is for business.

What targeting options are available within your advertising platform Hybrid AD's?

Targeting varies, and we offer several methods. We start with the fact that we must respect GDPR. Our system is not based on cookies but on device information. The basis is technical parameters, not personal data. We must be very careful about this and consult with lawyers for every step. We anonymize the profile of each device - we are interested in what they are watching. We know which channels they have tuned in to and in which region they are located. Based on this, we can target campaigns. We reach the level of cities with around two thousand inhabitants.

When will Afterspot be launched?

We plan to launch it during the holidays to be ready for the autumn season. We are currently communicating with our partners. In addition to Afterspot, we are preparing other smaller innovations. We have also looked into remarketing, which is not far from Afterspot, but works even more with television data. We are striving for the greatest symbiosis between television and the internet.

How big is the addressable advertising market?

From a financial point of view, I cannot say because we are only an executor of advertising and do not directly sell it. However, we estimate a rapid growth. In previous years, we recorded approximately double the volume of advertising messages. While last year we talked about hundreds of campaigns, this year will definitely see thousands.

One GRP in HbbTV is not comparable to one GRP on television. Or do you have a converter for that?

There is currently no unified conversion in the market, and we do not use one. Advertisers mostly invest in addressable TV from an online perspective, not from the perspective of traditional GRP TV advertising. The primary metrics are reach, impressions, CPT, and CTR. With Afterspot, we bring parameters from linear TV, such as frequency. Television provides the message with the dimension of a reputable medium; we don't have to worry if it appears in environments like fake news websites, etc.

When will it be possible to address spot advertising so that different ads are shown to different viewers at one time - the so-called spot replacement?

That will come with HbbTV 2.0 technology, which is already appearing in this year's model ranges of televisions. We see that HbbTV 2.0 already has 40% of hybrid televisions in the Czech market. The group is growing very fast, partly due to the transition to DVB-T2. By the end of digitalization, this percentage may increase even further, opening the doors for these ad spot replacements. I firmly believe that we will be able to test this possibility with some television channels later this year. Until now, it didn't make much sense to us because I was thinking about what the advertising exchange or overlap would be based on. However, Afterspot may pave the way for spot replacement.

"I believe we will test the possibilities of so-called spot replacement later this year, which allows targeting different ads to different viewers."

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