COLOGNE-Irish public broadcaster RTÉ took the plunge into native branded content several months ago to provide a more immersive experience for advertisers like the Irish Tourism Board. But as the broadcaster continues to expand its reach across devices, it faces the same gremlin as its competitors: accurate audience measurement.

“We’re primarily a broadcaster and we’ve been very strong in terms of our position online and our video on demand content,” RTÉ Commercial Director Conor Mullen says in an interview with Beet.TV. “We’ve always tried to differentiate our product from basically everybody else.”

The broadcaster’s native content efforts draw upon its deep production experience, using modern-day features like HD and drone footage. Its work with the Irish Tourism Board, a seamless blend of animation and on-location footage that encapsulates 5,000 years of history, is titled Ireland’s Ancient East.

One of the pitfalls RTÉ has avoided as it watched native branded content evolve over the last couple of years is content recommendation engines. Mullen describes them as “not somewhere we want to go because you can have difficult content appearing against quite sensitive storylines in that regard, and some of it is quite click-baity.”

As viewing fragments across screens, “The big challenge still remains with regard to measurement,” Mullen says. “Because quite a lot of the data that’s used to measure attribution can be questionable.”

For its video ads, RTÉ has been using FreeWheel, whose automated ad technology platform enables publishers to monetize video inventory across traditional direct-sold and market-demand sources.

While acknowledging that ad-blocking technology “is always going to be there,” it’s less of a concern for RTÉ than other content providers.

“If you look at Ireland specifically, ad blocking’s running at about 30 percent,” Mullen notes. “Ad blocking for us is running at less than 10 because we have a low ad load.”

We spoke with Mullen this week at the FreeWheel European summit in Cologne presented along with StickyAds.tv. Please visit this page for additional videos from Beet’s coverage.

FreeWheel European Summit, Cologne, 2016