EUROPE: Channel 4 has joined the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX), a digital sales group which intends to tap into the continent’s rapidly growing video ad market and to challenge the dominance of the digital duopoly in this area.

EBX now comprises four broadcasters with Channel 4 (UK) joining ProSiebenSat.1 (Germany), TF1 (France) and Mediaset (Italy and Spain); each have a 25% stake in the new organisation and each will supply inventory from their VOD platforms to enable advertisers to reach a European audience with a single buy, the Financial Times reported.

“A lot of advertisers are global and they have global budgets and want to have deals at a European level,” said Paula Colombo, general manager of Publitalia, the sales arm of Mediaset. “But because we are local we are not in those conversations.”

EBX, which will begin operations next year, aims to change the dynamics of the video advertising market.

“It means we can compete with the likes of Facebook and Google which are having these pan-European conversations,” said Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation at Channel 4.

Back in the UK, Channel 4 is pushing ahead with targeted advertising on its on-demand service, to which sign-in is now mandatory. “From next year every All 4 advertising opportunity will be personalised or targeted," said Lewis.

Channel 4 is also talking to potential partners about how it can develop targeted advertising on linear TV, MediaTel reported.

EBX partners are also exploring this area: Mediaset has been testing addressable TV on its on-demand channels since last autumn while ProSiebenSat.1 has led the way in Germany, where limited addressability using “hybrid broadcast broadband” (HbbTV) is on offer, according to a new GroupM report, The State of Video.

“Germany could significantly expand its TV advertising footprint,” according to Jens Mittnacht, managing director of ProSieben’s sales arm, SevenOne Media. “So many products are regional, and a lot of that money is still in print,” he added.

Meanwhile, Channel 4’s rival UK commercial broadcaster ITV last week announced a new partnership it said would enable it to “execute addressable advertising campaigns across ITV’s range of linear broadcast channels starting early next year”.

Existing TV ads can be either dynamically replaced with more relevant ads or enhanced with interactive content for those viewers using connected smart TVs.

Sourced from Financial Times, MediaTel, GroupM, ITV; additional content by WARC staff