Advanced Television

GroupM launches Finecast addressable ad unit

September 27, 2017

By Colin Mann

GroupM, the media investment arm of multinational advertising and public relations company WPP, has launched Finecast, a company aiming to deliver digital-like precision and accountability to advertising on television.

With TV audiences fragmenting across a range of platforms and viewing behaviours evolving, TV advertisers are grappling with how to continue making best use of one of their most trusted mediums. GroupM is launching Finecast in the UK to solve this challenge.

Finecast enables advertisers to precision-target viewers across multiple on demand, linear and live streaming TV environments. It helps advertisers address hard-to-reach TV viewers through a single access point with standardised measurement. All Finecast campaigns are designed to be inherently viewable, running on TV screens within high-quality, brand-safe content with no ad blocking.

“Finecast is built to strengthen the TV ecosystem for advertisers and media partners alike. By unlocking the ability to be targeted in TV campaigns, Finecast opens the door for new advertisers who haven’t used TV before, and it gives traditional TV advertisers new ways to use the medium. This represents tremendous upside for TV broadcasters,” said Kelly Clark, Global Chief Executive Officer, GroupM. “Through partnerships and joint investment, Finecast will also provide a platform for industry collaboration on new products and measurement standards.”

Jakob Nielsen, previously Managing Director at GroupM Digital in the UK, has been named Chief Executive Officer of Finecast. Nielsen joined GroupM from Microsoft in 2009. His Finecast leadership team includes Chief Product Officer, Rich Astley. Together, they will lead the continuous development with the ambition of becoming the market-leading addressable TV technology and help set industry best practice standards for programmatic and addressable TV internationally.

Now live and running campaigns in the UK, Finecast is the first company giving advertisers the ability to deliver targeted adverts to audiences across multiple TV channel brands, pay-TV platforms and set-top boxes, a range of video on demand (VoD)/catch up TV services, over-the-top providers, and game consoles – all combined for scale.

At launch, this includes distribution across Sky, Virgin Media, Samsung, YouView, Amazon Fire, Roku, and gaming consoles such as Xbox. Finecast’s vision of a truly multiplatform, multi-broadcaster addressable TV solution will extend to other markets around the world over time. “Our goal is to integrate with all technologies,” confirmed Astley, who suggested that certain key characteristics of the UK market made it the ideal launch pad for the initiative, such as a strong pay-TV market with “reasonably decent” penetration.

“You’ve got a good base there for ad insertion,” he noted. “The on-demand market is growing rapidly; it’s very vibrant in the UK. That started with the iPlayer, one of the best and first on-demand services and that spurred a lot of innovation in the market place in the UK. You look at the quality of broadcast players and they are very strong here and we’re in an innovative market,” he declared.

“You look at the expectation of our advertisers across the agencies: addressable TV is increasingly up there as a primary ask of where they want to be as a TV business. They are looking at testing, they are pushing us quite rightly in that direction, so we think there is an appetite in the market place. As a place to launch Finecast, it has a lot of the right technical and market-based ingredients,” he concluded.

With access to over 180 different targeting segments, from socio-economic to life stage, purchase and financial data, Finecast can identify and reach precise audience profiles on the big screen. Finecast is integrated with major industry data platforms such as Acxiom, Experian, MasterCard and Kantar to power audience discovery and targeting. Finecast is also integrated with [m]Platform and will soon be activating campaign targeting at the household level using [m]Platform audience segments.

Each Finecast campaign is custom built around the advertiser’s audience target or response objective for TV campaigns and provides a more targeted and faster path to market than traditional linear TV advertising. Finecast is already seeing demand for campaigns from both large brand advertisers and response oriented marketers looking to leverage TV to drive sales more tactically.

“The time is right for traditional TV and over-the-top providers to scale their new classes of addressable inventory to the benefit of our advertisers and to meet demand for targeted TV advertising,” said Nielsen. “With the rapid growth of digital advertising, TV budgets may be at risk from new competitors, particularly as digital video improves in quality and ease of access. Finecast’s offer of scaled cross-platform addressable TV solutions is a win-win for TV providers, their advertisers, and consumers who can enjoy highly-relevant commercial messages in their big screen viewing.”


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