Behind Samsung’s Burgeoning Addressable TV Ads Business

samsungSamsung is quietly briefing agencies and media partners about an addressable TV ad product that uses smart-TV data to target ads across linear broadcasts, according to AdExchanger sources.

Samsung’s scale includes 20 million Samsung smart TVs in the US and 50 million globally, and sources say the electronics manufacturer is beginning to activate and monetize around its data footprint.

Samsung will serve addressable ads through its smart TVs, similar to how DirecTV, Comcast and Dish do so via satellite or set-top box devices.

Although the linear addressable program is in beta, sources report seeing AdGear/Samsung tags in their network, indicating certain cross-screen campaigns are live today.

Samsung’s partners include Sorenson Media, which will help serve “first-screen” interactive ads, and inaugural publisher/broadcast partners Hearst and Sinclair, which will supply inventory, sources say.

“Bringing addressable television through a smart TV on broadcast inventory… has never been done before,” said Michael Bologna, president of GroupM’s advanced TV agency, Modi, which uses Sorenson. “Currently all of the addressable stuff is done through the cable box using cable inventory.”

Although other third-party set-top box manufacturers such as Roku provide reach-based targeting, no digital, IP-based players connect over-the-top TV to traditional broadcasts at scale. Samsung could provide this connection.  

“We would start to see personalized ad spots overlaid on generic Sinclair local TV ad spots,” said one source with knowledge of the company.

Samsung’s entrance into the ad-serving space could also improve measurement.

“We know Sinclair and other TV station groups [such as Hearst and Tribune] have been unhappy about a lack of ratings for the local stations from Nielsen and Rentrak,” that source said. “So there is the possibility they need someone with scale to come in and help them with data to measure and justify the value local ads they sell.”

A scaled consumer footprint is key for Samsung’s addressable advertising pursuits.

Samsung has a robust smartphone business (it owns 28.5% of the market share for smartphone OEMs, according to comScore’s March Mobile Metrix), and although it’s too early to tell how or if it will connect addressable TV to its device graph, Samsung’s recent deal history points to a developing cross-screen initiative.

In June, it acquired the Canadian demand-side platform AdGear, which sources predicted would help Samsung deliver cross-screen ads to both mobile and smart TV devices, and to find and retarget those audiences across devices.

Partnering with Sorenson also opens more doors to census-level viewing data, which has the potential to boost the precision in those cross-screen campaigns.

“Samsung is now competing with AT&T, Comcast and Dish,” Bologna said. “Compared to other OTT players [like Roku], yes, they bring more scale. But we’re talking about addressability in broadcast television.”

Samsung did not immediately respond to interview requests.

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  1. Definitely a step in the right direction, but still comes up short. Addressable ads only reach a specific device….they have no idea who is actually watching. Plus, this is another infringement on consumers. Filtrie resolves both of these issues by involving consumers so ads becomes interesting and relevant…..and ads are delivered based on who is actually watching. After all, advertisers want to reach people, not boxes.

    • Do you know when Filtrie plan to start providing the service? Their website still states that “We are currently commercializing and licensing the technology so it will be in the market within a few months. Join the movement, and you’ll be one of the first to get the service!”
      And if there any more technical info on how this technology works?