ATV in France: News & Updates

Nine months after its authorization, ATV is growing rapidly in France. Indeed, the 5 main TV channel groups have already signed contracts with one or two operators and thanks to this mobilization, one household out of three watching TV via operator boxes will already benefit from addressable TV advertising in the 1st quarter of 2021. So what can be learned from this and what are the next steps for ATV in France?


The minimum viable product tested by TV and telecom operators

Since November 2020, the MVP or minimum viable product, developed by the SNPTV and the AF2M, is being tested by the main TV agencies and telecom operators for a period of 6 to 9 months (Gensous, 2020).

The aim of this phase is to ensure the technical fluidity of the process, to convince advertisers of the interest of this lever, and to refine the advertising offers. The complete opening of the segmented TV advertising market is therefore expected for the third or fourth quarter of 2021 according to Mind Média (Gensous, 2020).


First positive technical results for addressable TV in France

Advertisers and media agencies are starting to collect their first feedback on addressable TV advertising. On a technical level, the results are positive. “This test phase has shown us a very fluid alternation between national and segmented spots,” says Kevin Gras, managing director of Carat France (Dentsu). “This is fundamental because the user experience must be perfect on TV.” (Lefebvre, 2021). Other advertisers have made the same observation: “It works, there are no bugs, the TV channels have fulfilled the contract to deliver the presumed impressions on target”, assures Philippe Bigot, head of video department of the media division of Havas Group (Lefebvre, 2021).

The tests started last autumn at France Télévisions and then, since January, also at TF1. Other tests were also conducted at M6, Canal +, and Altice channels (Lebebvre, 2021). Two-thirds (65%) of the campaigns carried out were geolocalised, ahead of centers of interest and type of TV consumption (or behavioral targeting) (Monfort, 2021). Moreover, according to M6 Publicité, “more than half of these advertisers were communicating for the first time on television and a third of them are local players” (Wojciak, 2021). Indeed, actors from many sectors have already taken the plunge, such as car manufacturers (Renault and PSA), electricity suppliers (EDF and Engie), retailers such as Intermarché, and several consumer brands such as Carte Noire, Harrys and Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (Air Wick, Destop, St Marc…) (Fage, 2021).


The CPM for addressable TV is lower than for traditional TV

Beyond the technical feasibility, these tests allowed us to have a first overview of the level of the CPM of the inventories: the amounts remain lower than those of traditional TV. Moreover, according to Philippe Bigot (Havas Group), “addressable TV advertising will represent a huge opportunity for advertisers who will be able to access this medium by benefiting from a much finer targeting at lower cost” (Gensous, 2021). However, the cost analysis will only be possible when the effectiveness of TV targeting can be evaluated: “the prices announced during these tests correspond to the beginnings, it is the effectiveness of adressable TV advertising that will determine its price” (Christophe Ligeron, Publicis Media in Gensous, 2021).


The major challenge of TV box eligibility

The development of addressable TV advertising is a major opportunity for the French TV advertising market, which had recorded a 20% decline by 2020 (Debouté, 2020). Telecom operators such as Bouygues Telecom, Orange, and SFR have invested heavily in updating their boxes and setting up the infrastructure to guarantee the necessary speed, thus offering an optimal experience to the viewer.

We are very pleased with the strong collective mobilization of operators within the af2m, which has made this ambitious project a reality today for more than 30% of French IPTV households. The excellent response from the advertising market since the launch of segmented TV advertising reinforces our deployment efforts and our future work.” – Christian Bombrun, President of af2m (Af2m, 2021).

Thanks to this strong technical and financial mobilization, 5 million boxes will already be eligible for addressable TV by the end of the first quarter of 2021, out of approximately 16.5 million households watching TV via operator boxes. This represents 30% of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) households, and 60% by the end of the year according to projections (Gensous, 2021).


The households are in favor of ATV

Another important issue for the success of ATV advertising is household acceptance, as the implementation of this solution requires viewer opt-in. Consent is collected by the operator via a message displayed on the home screen of the box and the viewer can of course modify his choice at any time.

Since the implementation of this procedure for the first households equipped with eligible boxes, operators have noted opt-in rates higher than the first projections, with more than one household in two having given their consent (A2fm, 2021).


Overview of french ATV advertisers 

The advertising agencies of the main free and pay-TV channels in France, members of the SNPTV, are involved in this new advertising sector such as FranceTV Publicité, Canal+ Brand Solutions, or Next Media Solutions (Gensous, 2021).

Moreover, given that 80% of TV sets connected to the Internet were using a telecom operator’s box in the second half of 2019 according to the CSA (CSA, 2020), telecom operators are privileged interlocutors on this lever. “They are the ones who provide the technical service of modifying the signal in order to replace one spot with another within the box,” explains Christian Bombrun, director of products and services at Orange and president of the AF2M (Af2m, 2021). Among operators, only Free does not seem to have positioned itself on ATV advertising.


What are the next steps for addressable TV in France? 

ATV will integrate first and third party data

Within the framework of the minimum viable product, the possibilities of ad targeting are still limited, but in a second phase, “they should quickly evolve to integrate third-party data sources or even first-party data from advertisers – which are the most effective in media plans,” according to Olivier Dansac, strategic partnerships specialist at LiveRamp (Gensous, 2020). Data providers could therefore operate on this market, which would also bring in players responsible for building secure data flows.

However, “the finer the targeting, the more it will reduce the coverage of campaigns, but we must not lose sight of the fact that television is a mass medium, and that is why advertisers include it in their media plans” according to Emmanuel Crego, director of the media agency Values. “The goal, in the long run, is to be able to use the same audience segments regardless of the media and the support” (Lefebvre, 2021).

Improvement of audience measurement and effectiveness of ATV

The digitization of television advertising will also be accompanied by changes in audience measurement and effectiveness. Advertising agencies will have to be able to provide advertisers with audience figures for segmented spots, but also to “measure the impact of segmented advertising on the traditional spots that have been substituted”, confirms Julien Rosanvallon, deputy director-general in charge of audience measurement at Médiamétrie (Médiamétrie, 2021). The research institute is currently working on a proposal in this direction, which should be based on the time spent metric, like online video, rather than the GRP (Gross Rating Point) of television (Médiamétrie, 2021).

Similarly, segmented TV advertising should prove its impact on advertisers’ sales, with dedicated tools such as drive-to-store measurement. Some players have already deployed solutions in this sense, such as LiveRamp with Data Plus Math, to evaluate in real-time the impact of a TV wave by crossing data from Bouygues Telecom boxes and advertisers’ CRMs, which can be used in addressable TV advertising (Viuz, 2020).

The ATV is beneficiating the local businesses

Targeted TV advertising could well change the game for the consumer goods industry in the near future. Indeed, by refining the advertisements and making them almost tailor-made, it offers a new field of possibilities for local companies, which were previously excluded from the television. Moreover, according to Thomas Luisetti, Director of Digital Strategy and Technological Innovation at France Télévisions Publicité, “in France, within two or three years, local advertising could account for 60% of advertising revenues linked to segmented advertising” (Delvallée, 2021).


Setting up ATV campaigns with EuroDSP

While it’s still a learning curve, the future of ATV in France looks exciting and full of potential. At EuroDPS, thanks to our experience of more than 2 years in other countries such as Germany and our partnerships with the main TV channels, we are now able to accompany you in the implementation of addressed TV campaigns or any other digitalized TV campaign.