LONDON — For the UK’s main cable TV operator, targeted advertising was a long time coming.

Although the cable distribution method, coupled with its use of a connected TiVo set-top box, seemed to offer distinct advantages, it was not until relatively recently that Virgin Media began offering addressable ad targeting capabilities.

For that, it can partly thank Cadent. On top of announcing, this week, that Virgin Media has signed on to its new Cadent Advanced TV Platform to power addressable ads over broadcast and VOD, the advertising technology firm has been working with Virgin Media owner Liberty Global for five years.

“We basically integrate our technology into the Virgin Media infrastructure and we’re enabling them to dynamically target ads into live viewing in a set top box with just-in-time download of those creative assets to the set top box that will then be spliced into the stream,” says Cadent global sales SVP Keith Kryszczun in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“So our infrastructure’s managing how creatives are pushed out to those set top boxes, how the targeting is enabled for the ads against those set top boxes and households, and the campaign execution of that based on all the campaigns that are being managed across all the different viewerships.”

That capability would be enough for some TV services. But, whilst Virgin Media is the UK’s leading cable TV operator, its customer footprint is dwarfed by that of satellite rival Sky.

So the pair last year partnered to dovetail Virgin’s offering with Sky’s pioneering AdSmart addressable TV ad buying service, allowing advertiser to buy across both.

“This will give about 10 million homes – 30 million viewers, is what Virgin Media and Sky – are saying, for them to now addressably target, and that’s very meaningful scale,” Kryszczun adds.

Whilst the leading UK cable and satellite TV operators, which are also both telcos and TV channel owners, now offer addressable linear and VOD ad targeting, free-to-air – which is popular in Europe – is farther behind.

Digital terrestrial consortium Freeview now has its Freeview Play standard, but that is really just a means of hot-linking viewers to distinct channels’ own-brand VOD players. The YouView smart TV standard, offering Freeview plus IPTV via broadband providers, has seemed to stagnate. It all leaves the individual channel operators – like ITV and Channel 4 – ploughing on with offering their own ad targeting through their own-brand players.

That puts Cadent’s customers in the driving seat when it comes to offering cross-platform scale.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the Future of TV Advertising Forum 2018, London. The series is sponsored by Finecast. For more segments from the series, visit this page.