Decipher calls for free-to-air ad network

December 3, 2013 11.59 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Media consultancy Decipher has said a new ad network is needed to support the UK’s free-to-air TV sector.

The consultancy argues that the next round of TV innovation os being held back by the failure of the free-TV platforms Freeview, Freesat and YouView to invest in consumer data and ad tech systems. The whole UK ad-tech market is suffering as a result.

Decipher has released a report The Failure Of Future Ad Tech in the UK that says the desire of UK broadcasters to develop their own, individual ad-tech systems, while understandable given the failure of the FTA platforms to invest, is ultimately self defeating.

“Broadcasters can’t win an arms race against the platforms and the media agency groups. They need to pick sides, and let those two groups fight it out,” says Decipher MD Nigel Walley. If I was a broadcaster, I would be picking the TV platforms because they are inherently interested in TV. However, in the UK the broadcasters’ arms are tied by the fact that the free-to-air platforms aren’t building anything’.

The report calls for the creation of a single, unified ad network – optimised for TV – to service Freeview, Freesat and YouView in the UK, and their constituent broadcasters. The report makes the case that it should deeply integrate into each of the three platforms, and at the same time support the development of the next stage web ad-tech platforms in each of the FTA broadcasters’ multiplatform players. The report recommends that it should be a ‘shared build’ across the PSBs so that it can deliver them the economies of scale needed to compete against the combined forces of the media agencies and the global web ad-tech groups.

The report also makes the case that BT TV and TalkTalk must be treated as pay-TV platforms, given their broader triple play intentions.