LOS ANGELES – When one of the world’s largest media buyers plugs contextual targeting into its connected TV offering, you know the new practice is about to get a leg-up.

That’s what GroupM’s Finecast did in November, when it announced it would make IRIS.TV’s contextual targeting and brand safety tools available to its US local advertising clients.

That means “any publisher who is IRIS-enabled can make their video library available for contextual-based buys via GroupM”, according to IRIS.TV’s announcement.

Eye of the deal

Interviewed at the Beet Retreat in Santa Monica, IRIS.TV CEO Field Garthwaite explained the deal.

“Finecast is the advanced TV division of GroupM that’s newly formed, and GroupM is the largest TV buyer in the world,” Garthwaite said.

“So, as they move the same way that audiences are moving into these new environments, like streaming and connected TV, they’ve created this new division to enable advanced targeting capabilities.

“On behalf of Finecast, we’re unlocking all of the signal and enabling them to tap into all of these different data solutions for brand safety, contextual targeting, and verification.”

Enabling CTV

Finecast is GroupM’s specialist advanced TV buying unit. In 2017, WPP’s GroupM launched Finecast, aiming to “help advertisers address hard-to-reach TV viewers through a single access point with standardized measurement”, beginning in the UK and since launching in a total of 11 countries.

Finecast aggregates video ad inventory in programming from some of the UK’s main commercial broadcasters, plus over most main set-top and over-the-top devices, from Sky’s satellite box to games consoles.

It has since been spreading into other countries.

Relevant ads win

For IRIS.TV’s Garthwaite, it is is all about helping create “relevance” – matching ads to the content in which they are placed.

“The major problem that we’ve seen in this environment has been transparency and driving reach and relevance and performance at big scale,” he says.

“TV buyers are used to being able to hit a huge spike in environment, and there’s no equivalent in streaming for prime-time.

“So we do believe that this capability’s going to become normalized because, if you can actually reach audiences at the exact moment that they’re watching relevant content, we’re seeing time and time again that relevance drives outcomes, relevance drives recall and sales.”

You are watching coverage from Beet Retreat Santa Monica 2021, presented by FreeWheel, IRIS.TV, Samba TV, TransUnion & Warner Music Group. For more videos, please visit this page.