Sweden’s TV4 optimises its linear offering with a self-service platform


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The topic of this week’s egtabite is Sweden’s TV4 new self-service platform, launched earlier this year. The platform, called Advanced TV, allows all advertisers and agencies to book TV spots directly via an online platform. “Our aim is to automate and simplify, to make the buying process more efficient through the adoption of a modern approach to linear while integrating attributes of the digital ecosystem,” says Mikael Ekelöf, Director of Sales & Business Development at TV4.

Mikael and the TV4 team generously accepted egta’s invitation to publish a report on the newly released platform. It is egta’s hope that the extensive summary will be valued by all readers. The full report is available .

Meeting the needs of advertisers and agencies

Advanced TV is an open platform – open to any and all advertisers and agencies,” explains Mikael. “There is no need for a yearly agreement, there are no contracts, no upfronts, etc. We only use net pricing and the trading currency is all delivered impressions on the 3 to 99 target group as measured by the Nielsen panel. The interface and available functionalities are identical for advertisers and agencies.”

Currently, the inventory available on the platform is the TV4 linear inventory, the broadcaster’s main channel. As the platform continues to evolve, the aim is to add inventory from the other six channels. TV4 can exclude access to parts of the inventory, such as special formats, but the overall approach is to make the whole inventory available once obligations regarding upfront and annual contracts are fulfilled.

“There are several targeting abilities but we primarily focus on non-traditional TV targeting. The usual age and gender segments are not available, as we decided to adopt a digital approach to all kinds of targeting, including dayparts, weekdays, number of viewers per break, families with children, homeowners, different contextual targeting and content categories,” Mikael explains.

TV4 platform image

First-come, first-served

TV4 opted for a system whereby the earlier a client books, the higher the price is. The price thus decreases as the date of broadcast approaches, with the risk of the spot being sold. The booking window is about 5 to 90 days ahead of broadcast. “Prices are net and the same for everyone – regardless of a preferential position in the break – so advertisers don’t have to be concerned about negotiating discounts and talking to a salesperson. Similar to Facebook and YouTube, we work on a first-come, first-served basis. We also apply the same rules as with traditional sales: clash protection (no two spots from competitors in the same break), back-to-back guarantees, etc.,” Mikael says.

There is a risk that clients end up paying different prices for parts of their campaigns depending on how, when and where they book. Some clients and agencies may try to only book cheaper inventory for the same number of impressions via this platform but if they wait too long, the inventory will be gone. The system does offer us the possibility to check the prices that clients are paying and to cap the discounts they get, but we decided against that – it is a commercial choice.”

New clients looking for simplicity

Advanced TV speaks to two types of clients in particular: agencies and new smaller clients who think TV is not affordable for them. For agencies that may have an annual contract with TV4 on behalf of a client, the platform works well if they want to make an additional buy, for example, to achieve cost commitments. “They can then use Advanced TV to automate the process, set a price point they want to hit and use the system to buy last minute available inventory at a low price point. One of the benefits of the platform is that by using both systems in parallel they can use Advanced TV to buy last-minute inventory at a lower price point, exclude all breaks where they already have a spot, and apply other targeting criteria that you wouldn’t usually find in TV.”

TV4 is also leveraging the opportunity to reach out to new clients. “We target direct clients and new clients, such as SMEs that typically do not buy TV, believing it to be too complicated, binding, expensive, etc. For these clients, the concept of discounts does not exist. What they look for is simplicity. Our main ambition is to future-proof linear TV, create and offer a solution that is not the traditional way of buying television, hopefully attracting new advertisers that usually only advertise on digital; thus, increasing sales within the SME client segment,” Mikael says.

To learn more about the functionality, pricing, tech specs and vision of Advanced TV, download the full report .