HbbTV Enables Addressable Advertising

Advertising is a key revenue stream for Operators/Broadcasters and the potential to target adverts to specific audience/demographic is somewhat of a holy grail in advertising. In theory it means users are only exposed to adverts that are of interest to them, and advertisers are targeting potential customers that would be interested in their products, so a win-win situation. Such technologies are wide spread on the internet, just take a look at your Facebook feed, or Google, but they are still in their relative infancy where traditional broadcast TV adverts are concerned.

Some of the larger Pay TV Operators such as Sky have developed their own solutions for targeted, or addressable, advertising which it offers to other broadcasters. A few commercial FTA broadcasters are using existing web technologies to deliver addressable adverts in their OTT catch/up and VOD content, but they are still seeking a solution for traditional broadcast content.

HbbTV with their Targeted Advertising spec is aiming to provide an addressable advert solution for classical broadcast TV. HbbTV brings the worlds of broadcast and broadband TV together, and is widely deployed in TVs across Europe, Australia, and is gaining a foothold in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Combining web based technologies with classic broadcast, it brings a wealth of interactive applications, information services, and content on demand to the user, all at the click of their remote control. It also offers the capability to provide related content to a second screen such as mobile or tablet.

The Targeted Advertising specification, builds on the core HbbTV standard, to provide a framework which enables adverts to be delivered to a smart TV or STB which can then be used to replace some of the broadcast adverts with ones targeted to the viewer. The process is controlled by an HbbTV application which the broadcaster can transmit to all compatible smartTVs and STBs, and is activated when a user tunes to one of the broadcaster’s channels. The app will then download adverts specific to the viewer, based on some form of profiling, via IP in the background, and automatically switch to them at the signalled point in the conventional broadcast ad break. In this way the broadcaster knows exactly who is watching which adverts.

The base HbbTV specification provides much of what is required for addressable advertising, but the new Targeted Advertising spec introduces new elements to enhance the user experience; specifically the ability to pre-load adverts and a new fast switching API, which provides a seamless user experience when transitioning from the broadcast adverts to the IP delivered adverts and back again.

The specification was published in February of this year, and browser vendors and device manufacturers are working to bring solutions to the market. As one of the companies working with HbbTV, Ocean Blue Software has been actively supporting this process by developing the test materials which will enable manufacturers to ensure their products are compliant with the new specification.

Further information on HbbTV and the Targeted advertising specification can be found here: www.hbbtv.org.

For more information on what Ocean Blue Software has been doing to support bringing the targeted advertising specification to market, or for our products and services, please contact us at info@oceanbluesoftware.co.uk.