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French addressable TV market is a model for all of Europe, white paper claims

A white paper authored by Realytics provides a deep assessment of the French addressable TV market from 2020-23, drawing on interviews with senior buyside and sell-side executives. It plots market growth, who is using addressable TV and how they are using it, and considers advances in addressable TV measurement, including how you show incrementality vs linear TV. In 2023, attention is turning to proof of effectiveness and the use of advertiser first-party data to enhance campaigns. This paper also argues that the deep collaboration across most of the major sales houses and service providers in France, and alignment around consistent standards, sets the benchmark for what a successful launch-industrialisation-growth roadmap should look like, and that all European markets should take note.

Realytics has made an English language version available for its 2023 assessment
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Addressable TV in France has moved beyond the launch and industrialisation phase and is now ready for serious scale, and Realytics (the adtech provider that is a subsidiary of smartclip and part of the RTL group) has just published the second instalment in its ‘Addressable TV in France’ white paper series, outlining recent progress and what needs to happen next to drive growth.

The paper, entitled: ‘Addressable TV: Digitalisation of an offline media’, is available to download now. It is the result of interviews with key players in the French addressable ecosystem including executives from Mindshare, Altice Media Ads & Connect, Gamned, Novembre, Canal+ Brand Solutions, M6 Publicité, SNPTV, Values, Jellyfish, Bouygues and France Televisions Publicité. This is the first time the annual white paper has been published in English and it is a good read for anyone that wants to understand the French addressable market since the law was changed in 2020 to permit household targeting.

The paper declares that, “Addressable TV has brought television into the digital age, sparking a renewed debate about its position in advertisers’ media mixes. This development allows the all-digital world to incorporate TV into its strategies, bridging the gap between a traditionally offline medium and the digital world.”

According to the SNPTV, the French TV advertising advocacy group, there were more than 1,300 addressable TV campaigns in France during 2022 – a three-fold increase over the previous year (the 2021 figure was 376 campaigns). Developments impacting reach include permission for prime-time ad substitution and the introduction of multiple targeted ads per ad break (in a market that opened with a rule allowing only one per break), while work is underway on a unified addressable TV solution that will get smaller TV sales houses into the game. Measurement is one of the big priorities ahead, and there is significant interest in what CRM onboarding (so use of advertiser data matching) can achieve and how that is implemented.

The paper, which is authored by Realytics and extensively quotes the interviewees, believes France now serves as a model for the rest of Europe when it comes to collaboration as the basis for addressable TV market growth. It points out that France is the only European country where all television channels and ISPs (telcos/service providers with Pay TV) have collaborated and agreed upon common specifications for addressable TV implementation. This includes clear rules and unified reporting for advertisers and agencies, and technology alignments to ensure a seamless viewer experience. SNPTV and AF2M have overseen the development of consistent standards. France has a standardised CPM buying method and uniform targeting, the paper observes.

Five of the TV sales houses (TF1 Publicité, France TV, M6 Publicité, Canal+ Brand Solutions, Altice Média Ads & Connect) have signed with Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom. M6 Publicité is already in the process of signing with Free. Addressable TV can be bought direct or programmatically. Third-party players are heavily involved in this ecosystem to support data (e.g., LiveRamp), performance measurement (e.g., Realytics) and programmatic buying (e.g., Adkymia and TheTradeDesk).

The paper outlines how addressable TV is being used in France today, with targets based on geolocation, household characteristics (e.g., income, family with children) and consumption (heavy to light TV users). By 2021, half of all campaigns used geolocation (and the figure was 52% in H2, 2022, and is expected to be 50% in 2023) with one-quarter based on household characteristics or TV usage.

Rapid growth has been recorded since 2021. Olivier Roberdeau, Head of Multiscreen at Mindshare, is quoted from the previous year’s white paper as he recorded how substitutions grew from 0.5% in January 2021 to 10% in January 2022. By 2022 addressable was gaining traction among traditional TV advertisers as well as new-to-TV advertisers, as witnessed by Isabelle Vignon, General Delegate for Marketing at SNPTV. One executive says the priority is to bring more of the 2,000 existing TV advertisers into this new market. Half of addressable TV advertisers in France are still new to TV, as of 2022.

By 2023, half of addressable TV advertisers came back for more, according to Nathalie Dinis, Deputy Executive, Director of Trade at France Télévisions Publicité. Five sectors stood out as addressable TV users in 2022, the paper says: tourism, retail, services, culture & leisure, and automobile. Beyond geo-targeting, use-cases include reach extension beyond linear TV (including into light TV households).

The white paper notes the importance of measurement. Since March 2021, Médiamétrie has been re-evaluating the corrected Gross Rating Points of broadcasted advertisements that were impacted by addressable TV spots. This recalculation is based on the number of impressions served during these spots.

Mindshare’s Roberdeau is quoted saying: “Advertisers treat addressable TV like digital media and anticipate receiving data similar to digital campaigns to maximise their investments across campaigns. In this regard, the BEE measurement study developed by Realytics presents an excellent opportunity”.

As the paper explains, with BEE, Realytics can deterministically measure the performance of national linear TV, addressable TV, IPTV and Replay TV campaigns in households with Bouygues Telecom TVs. The purpose is to show how complementary different TV-activated devices are, in terms of both audience and online engagement. This includes measurement of audience conversion into website or mobile app activity. In 2022, BEE measured the effectiveness of addressable TV campaigns, including when combined with either a national linear TV campaign or an IPTV Replay campaign.

The white paper suggests that the effectiveness of addressable TV will come under the microscope in 2023, with most sales houses focused on demonstrating the impact via test campaigns conducted near the end of 2022. TV sales houses and ISPs (Pay TV operators) are collaborating in these tests.

Another focus for 2023, and looking ahead, is the use of advertiser CRM data to enhance targeting and personalisation. This first-party data matching comes with both technical and legal hurdles (including the need for new consents), and one executive points to the need for large customer bases to even begin this journey. Additional costs, and therefore higher CPMs, may also need to be factored in. Nevertheless, the paper reports that 2022 saw a significant increase in discussions around this subject.

As of 2022, France Televisions Publicité was offering more addressable TV inventory than BVOD, and between H1 2021 and H1 2022 the French addressable customer base grew by 54% to 6.3 million households, the paper reports. Free’s entry into addressable TV could potentially add 6.9 million more subscribers to the audience pot.

The white paper is 71 pages long, so this summary barely touches the surface. If you want to get the deep-dive, you can download the English language version here. It includes full interviews with all the contributors, in addition to analysis of all the research. The paper argues that ‘addressable TV is strengthening the convergence between TV and digital advertising. The brand-safe environment and high completion rates with digital metrics are reviving the TV medium. TV is positioning itself as a valuable complement to video strategies.”

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