AMC Networks said Thursday it will allow advertisers to dynamically insert ads to reach specific households, marking its first foray into addressable TV.
The offering will be available in the fourth quarter, said Adam Gaynor, AMC’s VP of advertising and data solutions. Sorenson Media’s addressable ad platform will power the capability with Samsung smart TVs that contain Sorenson’s automatic content recommendation (ACR) technology. (Sorenson declined to disclose exact numbers).
If more smart-TV manufacturers add Sorenson’s ACR chipsets, then AMC will also be able to send addressable ads to those devices.
AMC isn’t sure how much addressable inventory it will make available – though Gaynor indicated it will do so based on demand.
He hopes the addition of addressable inventory into AMC’s portfolio will enhance the network’s appeal to current advertisers and attract new clients.
“This is still about us working with our clients to understand who their audiences are,” he added. “With addressable, we can be a lot more specific than we had been with broader audiences. We will identify the households that match what the advertisers are looking for and we will deliver the right message to them.”
AMC's challenge will be to figure out how to reconcile the costs for the ad it pulls in favor of its dynamically inserted replacement.
The initial plan is to place AMC’s addressable inventory into a national marketplace overseen by Sorenson. As more networks make their content portfolios available, Sorenson can add their inventory to the marketplace.
AMC first wants to test the stability of Sorenson’s platform, which it will determine based on metrics such as how many smart TVs Sorenson can bring to the market, how fast Sorenson can replace the ads and how fast it can issue reports.
But Sorenson CRO Pat Ivers is confident. “In a matter of microseconds, we see a smart TV is turned on,” Ivers said. “Then we match it to the IP address, a profile of that household, then we match it back to a database, fire off an ad and replace the ad that AMC earmarked as replaceable.”
If all goes as planned, Sorenson will build and maintain a private marketplace for AMC.
Advertisers will be able to use their first-party data to inform their addressable AMC ad buys. Sorenson will handle all client data, including first- or third-party data, which will be aggregated, anonymized and stripped of PII.
This isn’t the first time Gaynor has worked on an addressable advertising program, having built one at Dish during his previous gig.
At AMC, Gaynor is tasked with building a sales team that sells data-driven ads, which command higher rates.
And 2018 seems to be the year where networks focus on addressable advertising capabilities.
Comcast, Charter and Cox formed a data division within their joint ad sales team, NCC Media, which just hired its first chief data officer. Viacom began using Comcast’s set-top box data to improve the precision of its addressable TV capabilities. Both Verizon and AT&T have touted their abilities in addressable TV.
And speaking of AT&T, owning a scaled addressable-TV platform is one of the telco’s biggest weapons against Facebook and Google.
Correction 7/30: An earlier version of this story cited Ivers saying AMC will test Sorenson Addressable on its own marketing inventory. A Sorenson spokesperson said AMC is still figuring out its approach, and no strategy decisions have been made.