HbbTV technology has opened the door for Internet video ads on TV. Since its arrival, classic video ad blocks are no longer the only way to show viewers ads. Space for this form of advertising is now growing rapidly and has reached beyond the borders of the Czech Republic.
Red button technology, otherwise known as HbbTV, was developed primarily to make additional content available on TV screens via the Internet. What’s more, it has had to take into account the simple form of user access, only via remote control. Just as on standard TV broadcasts, on HbbTV there is also advertising potential.
Six times more space and twice as many viewers
Due to the fact that it involves Internet layers, it has also opened the way for programmatic buying. In the first quarter of last year, it offered 13 million impressions (monthly) for video ads on HbbTV in the Czech Republic. A year later, there were already more than six times as many impressions available, thus a bit more than 85 million impressions per month. Several factors played a role in this increase. The first was the gradual growth in the number of TV viewers with the red button. At the beginning of 2017, there were slightly more than 1 million. A year later, we reached 1.9 million in the Czech Republic. Then the number of HbbTV channels where video ads were available also started to grow, even beyond Czech borders in Slovakia. And now the number of viewers who can be reached with HbbTV ads has lept past 2 million.
Multiple formats and advanced targeting
There are several types of video ads available on HbbTV. The main one is the ad format Switchroll, which directly competes with ad blocks. In contrast to classic ads, it is displayed immediately after the viewer interacts, for example, when the viewer switches channels. Switchroll can currently be found on the music channels Óčko, Šlágr, and Retro TV along with all the Slovak channels currently available—Markíza, Doma, and Dajto. In the HbbTV app, usually in the TV video archives, are Instream formats identical to those on the Internet. Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll videos are positioned directly on the players and are displayed automatically according to where the user is in the program—at the beginning, in the midst of it, or at the end. According to IAB Europe, in 2017, the post-roll and mid-roll formats were used much more frequently than in previous years at the expensive of pre-roll. Instream ads are available in the video archives of all FTV Prima channels, including their newest channel KRIMI. They are also offered on the music stations Óčko, in the Playtvák video archive, and Šlágr.
The main difference between HbbTV ads and standard TV ads is the targeting options, especially for programmatic purchases. Although TV stations know the sociodemographics of their programs’ viewers, on standard TV the ad is always displayed for everyone. HbbTV is the first to provide the option to display ads regionally, even to the level of postal codes. The largest number of programmatic impressions in the first quarter of this year were offered in the Prague, Moravian-Silesian, and South Moravian regions, which together made up more than a third of the available ad space. In Slovakia, it was the Bratislava, Žilina, and Prešov regions, which in the end made up more than half of all impressions available.
HbbTV ad space will continue to increase. With it, reach will grow with an increasing number of viewers owning TVs with HbbTV technology. At the same time, it is expected that advertiser demand will also increase, and that may be because classic ad blocks on TV will be sold out due to the quantity available.