GroupM is taking on the challenge of cross-screen audience targeting and standardized measurement by launching its own addressable TV company in the U.K. called Finecast. Following nine months of in-house testing, Finecast is up and running and spans multiple TV channels, pay-TV platforms, set-top boxes, video-on-demand services, over-the-top providers and game consoles.

Jakob Nielsen, Managing Director at GroupM Digital in the U.K., has been named Chief Executive Officer of Finecast. The company is headquartered in London with Rich Astley as Chief Product Officer supported by Kelly Clark, Global CEO of GroupM, and Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman of GroupM.

“The time is right for traditional TV and over-the-top providers to scale their new classes of addressable inventory to the benefit of our advertisers and to meet demand for targeted TV advertising,” Nielsen said in a news release. “With the rapid growth of digital advertising, TV budgets may be at risk from new competitors, particularly as digital video improves in quality and ease of access.”

Nielsen will be one of the featured speakers at the 2017 Beet Retreat in Miami, where the theme will be The Future Of Advanced TV.

Finecast offers advertisers access to 180 different targeting segments, from socio-economic to life stage, purchase and financial data. It is integrated with GroupM’s [m]Platform along with such major industry data platforms as Acxiom, Experian, MasterCard and Kantar to power audience discovery and targeting.

Beet.TV interviewed Nielsen last year at the Future of TV Advertising Forum in London where he discussed the potential of addressable TV ads in the coming years. We are republishing the interview in light of today’s news about the rollout of Finecast.

About 42% of US homes are now able to receive so-called “addressable advertising” – TV ads custom-targeted at individual homes thanks to one of a variety of return-path TV systems. But how much of the multi-billion-dollar TV advertising industry could be funneled through that channel in the years ahead.

It’s early days, but ad agency GroupM’s UK MD Jakob Nielsen says his group is taking a guess.

“You are changing how you are thinking from the past – therefore, it will take some time,” he cautions, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“But, if you look across all our clients, we think 30% to 50% of all TV could eventually – not tomorrow – be addressable TV. You will have some clients having 60% of their total mix, in five or 10 years, being addressable, other clients being 20%.”

Nielsen says Europe is farther behind on roll-out, but dominant UK pay-TV provider Sky is already an early leader with its so-called AdSmart technology, pushing multiple alternative ads to consumers’ set-top boxes for subsequent decisioning and play-out during standard ad moments.

The beauty of the idea is two-fold. First, it is opening TV advertising to smaller new advertisers. Second, it means those advertisers can target people close to the point of purchase, not just spend money on raising initial awareness.

“You have the top of the funnel, but all of a sudden TV can start going in to the mid and lower parts of the funnel, that they weren’t part of in the past,” Nielsen adds. “AdSmart, in the beginning, 70 to 80% of their advertisers came from non-traditional TV advertisers.

“They were able to reach a BMW dealership who wanted to sell a BMW in Edinburgh. That puts a completely new perspective on what you can do with TV.”