LONDON: The decision of confectionery giant Mars to pull its online advertising from YouTube could present an opportunity for UK broadcaster ITV according to one analyst.

A Mars spokeswoman said it was “unacceptable and disappointing” that an ad for its Starbursts brand had been shown in a pre-roll before a drill rap music video – a form of music the Metropolitan Police has argued is linked to violence in London.

“This clearly breaches our brand safety guidelines and Mars adverts should never run alongside such content,” the spokeswoman said, adding that “until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube”.

Google stated it did not want its platform used to incite violence, but last year a number of global advertisers paused their spending on YouTube amid concerns their brands were appearing next to extremist content.

Despite its efforts to remove such material, Ian Whittaker, head of European Media Research at Liberum Capital, claimed “there are no signs YouTube is closer to solving the problem” of ads appearing alongside inappropriate content.

“The seemingly endless wave of YouTube problems on this issue creates an opportunity for ITV to take a greater share of the very fast growing £1.7bn online video advertising market where it has a [less than] 6% share [versus] a 46% share of UK TV advertising,” he wrote in an analyst’s note, reported by Campaign.

Advertisers wary of brand safety issues on platforms such as YouTube may consider diverting budgets into other options and traditional broadcasters are poised to take advantage.

Last month, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall announced a “strategic refresh” that will include developing a “direct to consumer” business where “people want to spend money on a range of content and experiences with a really trusted brand”.

A recent WARC Trend Snapshot also highlighted a growing interest in contextual advertising, driven by brand safety controversies and the restrictions imposed by GDPR.

But, it noted, “if context is to become the key method by which brands reach relevant audiences, there must be a dramatic increase in the volume of inventory”.

Sourced from BBC, Campaign; additional content by WARC staff