Petr Hatlapatka; Zdroj: MediaCLub
27. 5. 2024

Media Club has expanded its inventory for video advertising sales to include Canal+. It brings sports content as well as quality of reach, says Petr Hatlapatka.

Since the beginning of May, Representation Media Club's advertising space has expanded to include Canal+ content in video advertising. The video ad appears on the back of Canal+ Sport TV shows with coverage of the English Premier League, WTA, World Padel Tour, Rugby League Top 14 and Canal+ Action shows. According to Petr Hatlapatka, commercial director of the Media Club's online division, Canal+ brings sports content that was previously missing from the agency's offering, as well as quality impressions. "In the last year to year-and-a-half, we've seen advertisers place more and more emphasis on the quality of the environment they associate with in video advertising," he says. In the interview, he also describes how Media Club plans to continue to increase its capacity in video advertising.

Media Club recently announced the addition of Canal+ to its portfolio of represented online projects. In what ways have you incorporated Canal+ into sales?

We have included Canal+ content in our entire video advertising package since the beginning of May and are now waiting for the first monthly numbers. Depending on performance, we will then include Canal+ in individual offers. Canal+ has primarily sports content, exclusively broadcasting the English Premier League, and it's also the first time for us that Media Club is getting into sports. We consider it to be premium content, so we plan to include it in individual offers for those clients who want to connect with this type of content. Plus, we see that it's long-form content that people sit and watch and the ads don't skip. Media Club's inventory continues to improve as a result.

What are your expectations in terms of the yield of Canal+ Sport? How many impressions can it achieve per month?

We are waiting for the first results and have only implemented the first part so far. We will deploy the next part of the ad space with video advertising gradually, so the ramp-up of the whole inventory will be gradual. In addition to Canal+ Sport, we are also integrating Canal+ Action cinema. For us, the main thing is that we are expanding the video advertising space and also improving its quality. We can see from the reactions of clients and media agencies that the quality of the video advertising environment has been addressed more intensively in the last year or year and a half.

Turning to Canal+ Sport, what options do clients have when buying video advertising?

The options are the same as for our other video channels, so you can buy advertising for standard positions. These are standard pre-roll, midroll and post-roll. Right now, primarily on Canal+ Sport inventory we sell pre-roll, but in general it's more about selling the whole package rather than individual formats or positions.

So by when will the space on Canal+ stations be fully integrated into the Media Club offering? Can you make the autumn season?

Yes, we estimate full deployment within two to three months. For autumn trading, every impression - and one of this quality at that - is important to us.

Not only does the inclusion of Canal+ broaden your focus to include sports content, but it is another offering from a streaming service operator alongside your home online on-demand service Prima+. Is it realistic that another similar service will appear in Media Club's portfolio?

We are certainly interested in such a possibility to expand our portfolio and we are looking around the market. We are in talks with other online service providers, but we are not at a stage where we can say that a deal will happen.

However, we are pushing a lot for the implementation of videoinvetory with IPTV operators, so we can expand its offer. We already have a deal with BetterTV from earlier and we have recently completed an implementation with SledováníTV, which is a mid-sized IPTV operator. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in online inventory in the last month as the operator has completed implementations on set-top boxes and smart TVs. This has expanded the possibilities of video advertising engagement that were previously only on PCs, laptops and mobiles. These devices are still critical for video advertising, but viewership of video content via smart TVs is increasing, so this is an important step for us. Unfortunately, we can't influence or speed up the implementation from our side, that's up to the operators. Our advertising system has one standard that is applied to all devices.

We are pushing for the implementation of video adverts by IPTV operators, so we can expand its offer.

The first quarter is already closed. How do you assess the video advertising business in the first three months of this year compared to last year?

We were significantly better than last year in the first quarter this year. But it's the result of several things, it's not just one factor. The comparison is also affected by our acquisition of Impression Media, which boosts the result. For several months after the acquisition, we have been aligning formats and creating new advertising products, which we have offered since the new year. But even if we add up the money for Media Club and Impression Media separately, the result is also significantly higher than last year.

Which means double-digit growth?

Yes, it does.

And to what do you attribute this?

With the acquisition, we moved up to second place in NetMonitor's total traffic data in the first quarter, just behind At the same time, we've been growing our sales teams since last summer, and our expanded advertising capabilities have helped us communicate towards our clients. The acquisition has also increased the reach of our packages. Even so, we have occasionally run into inventory opportunities where demand has exceeded our capacity, not only in video advertising but also in display advertising. But it was the acquisition of Impression Media that helped us increase our space in display advertising.

The capacity you have increased through acquisitions, will you now sell out the entire capacity?

It varies, but for example, for a package that targets the car segment and which includes 5 to 6 sites, we struggle with selling out. Therefore, clients who want to advertise on the most sold formats are advised that they need to book in advance. However, it's not that we are completely sold out on the entire package. For example, the female segment has significantly more advertising space.

Assume that video advertising is a supporting part of your overall online advertising sales.

Video advertising makes up about 60% of total sales.

And do you see video advertising's share of total sales continuing to increase?

Not anymore, it's more likely to decrease, but that's again a result of how our offering has profiled. Media Club has historically been strong in video advertising, but hasn't had that kind of offering in display. The acquisition of Impression Media helped us especially in display. So budgets that we couldn't have before are now opportunities for us to increase revenue. This will affect the overall revenue structure, where we expect to grow as a whole and we expect to see a higher percentage of revenue growth in display advertising. However, we will still stand out in the market as a player that has significantly more from video advertising compared to the rest of the market.

Budgets that we couldn't have before are opportunities for us to increase revenue. This will affect the overall revenue structure.

Media Club has also incorporated electronic GRPs into TV ad sales. Where do you stand in terms of overall sales of GRP's?

They are doing well, but we would need more inventory in video. Canal+ content can help us with that and we are trying to expand inventory. It is possible that we will add deals with other IPTV operators, as this is where we expect the biggest jumps in total inventory offered.

The question is whether they have the motivation to implement something like this...

But it brings them money. We share some of the revenue from video ad sales with operators, so it's not like we're not offering operators anything in return.

Do the GRPs you get from IPTV back-viewing count towards TV sales in terms of overall results?

These GRPs are loaded into TV numbers between 0-3 days from the time of airing, so media agencies can see in the Kite software how much fulfilment they have run off in the backhaul, called time shift.

And what is the average incremental hit rate of GRP campaigns in online to TV?

It's around 5%. But it depends on what type of campaign it is and what kind of client it's being run for. If the TV campaign is strong, the additional reach of onlin GRPs is less than 5% and vice versa.

Media Club has also been using artificial intelligence for campaign planning for some time now, and you also intend to reach viewers with real-time advertising on HbbTV. How exactly does this work?

We are still testing artificial intelligence in this case. The goal is to have the content tagged so that it can be targeted, so that we can show the ad to viewers at the right time, at what we call the 'shoppable moment'. For example, it describes that a romantic scene is taking place in a given show, and this allows us to better position the ad according to the topic and insert it as close to the scene that is most relevant to the brand as possible. Plus, with AI, we can keep an eye not only on one scene in one episode, but also on similar scenes in other episodes. Yes, it's still an add-on to campaigns, but we can move the brand as close as possible to the content it wants to connect with.

Is it mostly contextual targeting, or is it socio-demographic as well?

Both types of targeting can be combined. We draw sociodemographic data from ATO-Nielsen measurement and it's the targeting that media agencies and clients are used to. The other thing is contextual targeting, which works similarly on the internet and we are extending it to TV screens in HbbTV broadcasts thanks to AI.

We are extending contextual targeting to TV screens in HbbTV broadcasts thanks to AI.

What about live deployment? When will you use AI for spot placement in video advertising?

We are just testing the tool, but we want to bring it to life soon. I can't give a date yet.

So can it only be used in HbbTV broadcasts, not in linear?

The AI will tag all content in linear and onliner, but implementation is only possible in onliner for now, where different ads can be deployed on each TV according to affinity targeting by sociodemographics or context at the same time. Since more than half of the Czech population receives the TV signal via antenna, contextual targeting cannot be used on these screens. In the future, we expect that the possibilities of extending contextual targeting will be technologically possible for IPTV operators. But implementation may be challenging and complicated.

Towards the future, there is talk of new standards in DTT and a standard that should also allow for personalisation of advertising in linear broadcasting. Is this something that may come or is it more of a theoretical idea?

It is hard to say. We are watching the market evolve. Covid has helped IPTV develop faster, but that hasn't affected the reach level of terrestrial broadcasting. Connected TV, in my opinion, is the closest to our IPTV operators. But in the UK, for example, TV reception works differently because terrestrial reception is less there and most TVs are connected to the internet. Czechs are used to having a terrestrial signal and I don't think that will change fundamentally.

Half of the people have terrestrials and of the remaining half, some people use satellite. So IPTV is the primary source of reception for about 30-40% of the TV population, where CTV technology or ad personalisation can be used. Due to this situation, these advertising technologies can only be used on a smaller part of the TV population and this is not an ideal solution.

Petr Hatlapatka, Online Sales Director, Media Club

Petr has been Head of Online Sales at Media Club since July 2015. Before that, he worked for almost a year and a half as a sales consultant for Prima Online. Before joining Prima, he worked for more than four years as a group manager at Mladá fronta publishing house. He also gained experience for several years at Centrum Holdings.