SemanticHero for CTV: a targeting solution for the cookieless era
4 October 2021
An interview with Jean-Philippe Caste, Managing Director France, ShowHeroes Group
The arrival of a world without cookies by 2023 is worrisome for some players in the tech landscape. All of them? No, not those who have preferred to bet on contextual and semantic targeting from the start. ShowHeroes Group is one of these players. Jean-Philippe Caste, Managing Director for France, finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm as he announces the launch of Semantic Hero for CTV, a market that is ready to explode.
In France, CTV is still a relatively undeveloped market compared to the already mature German market. How do you explain this delay?
Germany has not developed in the same way regarding television. Historically, this market is much more fragmented on the other side of the Rhine, whereas, in France, access to TV has been largely taken over by access providers Orange, SFR, Bouygues, and Free, who have imposed their own rules. Today, everything has to be built in terms of advertising targeting, and with the upcoming death of the third-party cookie, contextual, semantic advertising targeting is becoming the solution, and this is happening now.
What is your new Semantic Hero for CTV offer? How is it revolutionary?
Until now, targeting tools for CTV were based solely on the recognition of keywords, objects or images to identify content. This is no longer enough as video content evolves so quickly that it becomes necessary to combine several sources in order to “understand” it.
This is the innovation that Semantic Hero for CTV brings: our tool works thanks to artificial intelligence combined with data from the Electronic Program Guide (EPG), which is a digital TV program guide provided by broadcasters. By combining these elements with a set of metadata, our tool, which is directly integrated with the editor, can determine the semantic concepts and tone of each content in detail.
In concrete terms, can you explain what you mean with an example?
In fact, what makes us different is our philosophy. Since our company launched 5 years ago, we have bet on a semantic algorithm that has enabled us to become one of Europe’s digital advertising leaders.
And we have never reduced ourselves to being a simple advertising network. Thanks to our AI, we are not in the business of personalizing content, but rather contextualizing it. It is this expertise that we are now deploying in the CTV market.
In concrete terms, if a car manufacturer wants to communicate within an automotive theme, let’s say the advertisement will not only be broadcast on TV channels relating to cars, but also in automotive contexts in other universes such as in films.
Our technology could broadcast the video ad during the film “Le Mans 66” for example, or at the beginning of a documentary on green cars, or why not, during a program dedicated to global warming where cars inevitably are within the topic.
Would you say that this offer is less Manichean, more constructive even for television consumers?
Yes, absolutely. Our offer allows for more openness, is less intrusive, and is better thought out in relation to individuals’ interests at a specific time. This avoids flooding users with poorly targeted and therefore, ineffective messages.
The French CTV market is far from being mature. Is this good news for your solutions?
Yes, because this delay allows publishers and media agencies to go directly to this offer, which we consider to be more “virtuous”, without going through the cookie box, which is now behind us.
What is your position in France? Who are your partners?
We are partners with Rakuten TV and the Media Funke group, available on the Samsung TVPlus portal, and our solution is present on eight of their channels. We monetize contextually in pre-roll or mid-roll in formats ranging from 15 to 30 seconds. Formats are taken from existing commercials, montages, or simply spots already present on linear TV for advertisers who anticipate and are already positioning themselves before 2023.
The announcement of your offer generated a strong influx of traffic on your Linkedin page. Were you surprised?
It’s because there is enthusiasm, real curiosity, and we are convinced that we have a solution that is both good for business and makes sense. It is essential to be in tune with the times.
Your solution goes hand in hand with the development of CTV in France. Will this take time?
This launch comes at a time of strong growth in the CTV market. Today, 78% of French people watch streaming TV content at least once a week, among them, 70% would choose a free, ad-supported CTV formula if they had the opportunity. This is a major opportunity for advertisers. CTV allows them to reach the strategic target group of millennials for much lower budgets than traditional TV – this is why the market is booming. By 2024, AVoD advertising spending is expected to more than double globally to $56 billion.
I take it you’re already working on the information provided by the images?
Absolutely. It’s in our near future!