CANNES – Across Europe, in multiple media industries, what once were competitors are coming together, forming a variety of ad sales cooperatives in a bid to pool inventory they hope can match the vast scale of Google and Facebook.

That is stark contrast to the US, where many media houses remain in competition with both each other and the tech giants.

But one European media company that is amongst the leading exponents of joint working thinks partnerships point the way ahead.

“Partnerships in general, and alliances, will be really the big industry topic from a publisher or a broadcaster point of view in the next couple of years,” says Daniel Bischoff, chief marketing and operations officer for RTL AdConnect , in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“(That is) in contrary to the U.S. where you see a lot of mergers and acquisitions, they’re more straightforward. You’ll see a lot of more alliances, whether it’s around data, whether it around access to inventory.”

Bischoff’s AdConnect is an ad sales arm for broadcasters owned by pan-European RTL Group and shows made by its Fremantle Media subsidiary (American Idol, Got Talent, X Factor) around the world, but also those owned by other operators.

In examples of cooperation from the RTL portfolio:

  • Its French TV channel operator M6 is teaming with rival TF1 and public broadcaster France Télévisions to mix audience data and sell ads across their combined portfolio.
  • In Germany, the RTL TV network formed a joint venture with ProSiebenSat.1, allowing them to control a platform for the automated booking of addressable TV and online video.

It is as though the contestants of Fremantle’s televised song contests were coming together to form a super-group.

“Regarding Germany, I think if you’ve been around a bit in the business, you know that a couple of years back this wouldn’t have been possible, no way,” Bischoff tells MTM’s Jon Watts for this interview.

“The biggest two enemies in the market, RTL and ProSieben are lion’s sharing about 80% of the television market, getting together and doing something. But I think it’s just a start of what we’re going to see”

RTL AdConnect uses a video marketplace platform to access premium inventory across linear TV and VOD, built on SpotX and Smartclip, both of which RTL acquired in recent years in addition to VideoAmp and Clypd.

The idea is to give video and TV companies a leg-up in ad sales against the might of tech platforms, appealing to international companies with a clear pitch in a fragmented market: “Buy Europe”. Specifically, 800 million audience members in Europe.

“It’s a super big challenge,” Bischoff acknowledges. “But at the same time it’s our promise to the advertising industry is that we simplify this continent of Europe with it’s different languages, different legislations, different obstacles, in order to give you a one-stop shop and simplified solution.”

That is why, to bring the world to Europe, AdConnect is going out to the world. Recently, the outfit opened up two US offices and enlisted an agent in Japan.

“What we want to do is really build as multiple touchpoints as possible with the advertisers,” says Bischoff.

This segment is part of a series titled The New Global Marketplace for Premium Video, produced at Cannes Lions and sponsored by RTL AdConnect.  For more videos from the series, please visit this page.   For all of Beet.TV’s coverage of Cannes Lions 2019, please visit this page