LONDON – Almost a year after it was announced, the addressable advertising platform from the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster is about to go fully live.

In November 2019, ITV announced Planet V, a platform enabling data-driven buying, optimization and monitoring of ads on ITV Hub, the multi-platform app through which viewers can watch catch-up and live ITV shows.

Whilst the system has been in the market, it reportedly has not been fully operational.

In this video interview with Beet.TV editorial advisor Jon Watts, Rhys McLachlan, ITV’s director of advanced advertising, says Planet V is now ready for prime-time.

“Over the quarter four of 2020, we’ll be rolling this out to all our agency partners,” McLachlan says. “We’ve got agency partners lined up to get hands on keyboards imminently, and we’re very excited about that as a seminal moment in the transformation of ITV.”

Regaining control

So, what is Planet V? It is a mechanism for buying ads in ITV Hub, the viewing platform which ITV operates across devices. The system is run by software ITV has licensed from Amobee, exclusively so in the UK and Ireland.

To target viewers, advertisers can use ITV’s own data on registered ITV Hub users or bring their own data. ITV Hub disclosed 30 million users 12 months ago.

“Planet V represents probably the beginning of our journey in advanced advertising,” McLachlan says.

“The proposition is a response to the market appetite and expectation for more programmatic, more data-led buying, but done in a way that is on our terms. We’re ensuring that we’ve maintained sovereignty of the entirety of the value chain.”

McLachlan joined ITV earlier this year after several years at Videology, including Amobee, which had acquired Videology.

Planet V includes a supply-side platform, demand-side platform, data management platform – all of which means tight alignment which buying manifests ad agency buyers will use, McLachlan says.

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Open to all

At the time of announcement, ITV’s Planet V was notable for operating only within ITV’s footprint, at a time when many other UK broadcasters were partnering on addressable ad solutions.

Sky’s pioneering AdSmart solution has become popular, signing a deal to power rival cable platform Virgin Media’s target VOD ads as well as deals to addressable-enable ads for broadcasters Channel 4 and Channel 5 on those platforms.

But ITV is a powerhouse in its own right, and McLachlan suggests partnerships are coming.

“There’s a relatively well-known public statement, an invitation that we’ve extended to the other broadcasters and premium publishers in the market to participate in Planet V,” he tells Beet.TV.

“I can share that we have well-developed lines of dialogue with a number of parties in this space. And we’re optimistic that, come quarter one of ’21, that there will be a number of partners operating within the platform alongside ourselves.

“There are well-established lines of communication between ourselves and the other broadcasters regarding other areas of collaboration which we need to be consolidating around, to ensure that we are presenting one unified voice to the market that will enable us all to thrive and prosper.”

Data matching

Leveraging Amobee to build its addressable advertising future is not the only such ad-tech partnership ITV has made.

This summer, it invested £1 million for a minority stake in InfoSum, whose technology helps publishers and brands combine audience data in a “clean” way, without sharing it, to build stronger targetable audience profiles.

“InfoSum was selected after a rigorous RFI process to be the partner that we will be working with to extensively develop our data proposition and to enable us to create utility in our data to match it with data from other parties to create really detailed customer audience segments,” McLachlan says.

“We’ve developed a solution which will enable us to work with advertising customers to match data sets and bring those data sets on onto Planet V for the purposes of targeting and buying.”