LONDON — After its UK subsidiary Virgin Media spent the last two years integrating with rival pay-TV operator Sky to light up targeted TV ad capabilities, Liberty Global will use the deal as a template for future European roll-outs.

In 2017, rival Virgin Media, a cable TV operator, announced it would take on Sky’s AdSmart to power its own addressable TV ad capabilities.

In this video interview with Furious Corp CEO Ashley J. Swartz for Beet.TV, Adrian Stroud, advanced TV ad specialist at Virgin Media owner Liberty Global, explains the deployment.

“We’ve had addressable (ads on) VOD in the UK for quite a few years,” he says. “But this year was really about getting linear up and running on the Virgin footprint.

“At the beginning of the year, that technology was just being delivered and then it went into kind of test phases and rollout over the summer and now it’s up and running.”

The deal was a watershed in spreading household TV ad targeting in the UK. Leading pay-TV platform operator Sky had offered this through its pioneering AdSmart since 2014.

Virgin Media tapped Cadent, a technology company which enables the practice for broadcasters, to integrate with AdSmart, giving advertisers the ability to buy across both rival footprints.

“Sky have a particularly sophisticated mechanism and a particularly sophisticated way of doing addressable,” Stroud says. “And so we had to mimic that very quickly.

“The Virgin platform now behaves almost indistinguishably from the way the Sky platform behaves. If someone buys an addressable campaign across the two platforms, it behaves and delivers in exactly the same way on both platforms.”

Next up, Stroud suggests the experience will be a “blueprint” for execution by Ziggo, Liberty Global’s Netherlands TV operator.

“In the rest of Europe, we’re now looking to really roll out a very similar proposition to the other territories,” he says. “We’re focusing very much at the moment on Belgium and doing groundwork to get that up and running in NL, in Netherlands.

“It’s very much a blueprint solution.”

We previously covered the earlier efforts of Liberty Global’s Telenet to roll out addressable in Belgium, as well as to Chile.

This video was produced in London at the Future of TV Ads Global forum in December 2019.   This series is sponsored by Finecast, the global addressable TV company that is part of WPP.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.