Dr. Jens Mittnacht, Managing Director of ProSiebenSat.1 Advertising Platform Solutions, talks about digital technologies and the future of TV advertising.

For some time now, ProSiebenSat.1 has made increasing use of AdTech solutions. Please explain to us what that means.

Mittnacht AdTech is the basis for programmatic advertising – data-based, automated ad buying in real time. Unlike in the past, advertising can now be placed without manual booking. At present, the entire AdTech industry is still dominated by companies that provide infrastructure but are also our competitors, such as Google. In order to make us less dependent on these global players and free us to drive innovation ourselves, we invested in Germany’s biggest AdTech supplier – Virtual Minds, which is active on both demand and supply-side programmatic advertising – in 2015. Using Virtual Minds, our platforms allow today’s advertising clients to identify the perfect spot for their advertising format in milliseconds. Think of it this way: When someone accesses one of our websites, programmatic advertising technology, which operates in the background in tandem with the site, determines which banner to load on the site for this user in the blink of an eye.

That sounds like a business for the future.

Mittnacht In the digital segment, programmatic advertising already carries significant weight for us today. We are already selling around 50 percent of our display advertising via these systems. What’s more, by investing in AdClear and esome in 2017, we acquired companies whose technology will help us to better measure and optimize our advertising clients’ overall campaign performance going forward. While we are currently capitalizing on the technology notably in digital advertising, programmatic advertising will in the future also find its way onto big-screen TVs. Here, the keyword is addressable TV.

» Programmatic advertising will in the future also find its way onto big-screen TVs. «

How do you rate addressable TV’s strategic importance for ProSiebenSat.1?

Mittnacht Extremely high. Addressable TV makes it possible for us to exploit the advantages of digital advertising in the world of TV – in other words, to combine TV’s reach with the Internet’s capacity to target appeals. This means we can selectively target advertisements on Internet-enabled TVs. Thanks to HbbTV technology, we are already in a position to display selected digital ad banners on the latest smart TVs with our SwitchIn formats. The next step is to actually “swap out” advertisements within the context of our ad overlays. The bottom line is that this technology serves everyone involved: For our advertising clients, it means not only reaching their audience quickly and effectively but also homing in on target groups. Our viewers, for their part, will be presented with advertising that is even more informative and relevant for them. We, too, benefit because in addition to traditional ads, we are able to offer our advertising clients additional alternatives and show them exactly how their spending on our channels adds value. In this way, we can tap into additional revenue streams in the TV advertising business.

How will this impact advertising on your stations?

Mittnacht Initial results are already in. For our client BMW MINI, we designed an addressable TV retargeting campaign in 2017 that was tailored to the consumers who had actually viewed the MINI TV commercial. A little while later, only these specific viewers were shown a SwitchIn XXL – a digital ad banner that is superimposed on the program, recapping the ad’s message and acting as a reminder of the brand. As part of an ad overlay test, we also dynamically displayed Johnson & Johnson and MediaMarkt ads during commercial breaks on our ProSieben MAXX station. These are just two of countless ways in which we can place more target-group-specific advertising.

Advertising Platform Solutions (Illustration) Advertising Platform Solutions (Graphic)

Since acquiring a stake in Virtual Minds in 2015, ProSiebenSat.1 has continued to grow its investments in AdTech businesses. AdTech serves as the foundation for programmatic advertising – the data-based, automated, customized buying, selling and selective configuration of advertising space in real time. ProSiebenSat.1 bundles its investments and activities in this field under the Advertising Platform Solutions umbrella. The objective is to build up an ecosystem of leading technology suppliers and platforms to offer advertisers, agencies and publishers a strong, independent alternative to the global players, thus generating additional revenue.

1 As of the publication of the annual report (march 2018) the closing was still pending.