By Paul Davies, Marketing & Communications at Yospace
Swedish broadcaster TV4 has long been a leader in the broadcast space, from going digital in the noughties and its early adoption of server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technology, to forming key partnerships with broadcasters and operators to grow its audience and boost ad revenue.
TV4’s innovative approach is paying off, too. In the press release that announced the renewal of its contract with Yospace, the company’s COO Mathias Berg revealed that the company achieved its highest ever revenue in 2018. He credited the ability to provide a platform-agnostic experience for advertisers across all video as a key factor, an experience that is enabled by SSAI.
TV4’s record earnings, at SEK 1,382 million (€112,537,903), were up 35.2% on 2017, making it one of the most successful broadcasters on the continent.
How did the broadcaster achieve these heights? And how did it use SSAI to carve out its route to a profitable future – for TV4, for advertisers, and for its audience?
Digital ad stitching
TV4’s forward-thinking approach was apparent when it became the first broadcaster in Sweden to implement SSAI, notably adopting the technology for both live and on demand content to deliver a consistent TV quality viewing experience, with one to one addressability and ad measurement.
SSAI has allowed TV4 to unlock new revenue opportunities by allowing for consistent monetisation of all its content across all connected devices, and for viewer data to be harnessed to inform and deliver addressable advertising. This is a sector which shows no signs of slowing, with addressable TV ad spend forecast to exceed $3 billion by the close of this year.
Reinvention and investment
TV4’s CEO Casten Almqvist recognised back in 2012 that in order to outstrip the competition in Sweden’s TV market, the network must “continue to reinvent” itself, investing in its digital service TV4Play, while continuing to focus on “breadth, diversity and quality” and producing “engaging TV for the whole country”.
This prompted TV4 to turn to SSAI soon after, which in turn paved the way for another innovative move last year. A first in Sweden, TV4 collaborated with Telia, Discovery Networks and Modern Times Group (MTG) in March 2018 to launch a targeted advertising initiative on Telia’s Play service. This delivers tailored advertising based on an individual’s location, the channel they’re watching, the kind of screen and the type of device they’re using to stream content.
Later the same year, TV4’s adoption of SSAI allowed it to secure distribution deals with other major distributors including Com Hem.
TV4 is clearly a pioneer, with a data-driven, viewer-first approach to growing its business and monetising content for the long-term, an approach that has been enabled by SSAI. In fact, TV4 has precisely pinpointed its adoption of SSAI for helping it achieve that aforementioned record 2018, with Mathias Berg, COO at TV4 Group commenting that, “as a result of a successful implementation of this strategy TV4 delivered its best financial result in terms of turnover and profitability in the history of the company.”
And with the broadcaster continuing to innovate, then long may this continue.