Liberty Global eyes 2017 addressable TV roll out in LatAm with ‘attention economics’ as a USP

John Paul, Liberty Global's advertising chief, said it will launch addressable TV opportunities in Latin America in 2017

Claiming to be the world’s largest television and broadband company, Liberty Global is in the process of the global roll out of addressable TV advertising opportunities.

As its prepares to implement this strategy in Latin America, John Paul, Liberty Global’s managing director of advanced advertising & data, spoke at the recent Beet Retreat about how it would apply use its global set top box roll out to monetize “attention economics” beginning in Puerto Rico and Chile.

With over 57 million customers and brand-owner of the likes of Unitymedia, plus Virgin Media in Europe, as well as Liberty and VTR brands in Latin America, Liberty Global is one of the leading cable operators in the world, and it’s a massively untapped opportunity, according to Paul, one it will bring to Latin America in 2017.

Speaking at Beet Retreat, Paul described how “attention economics” is one of the key metrics its intends to monetize, particularly as it rolls out more set top boxes throughout Chile, Puerto Rico as well as Belgium, Austria, and Holland before the close of 2018, as it intends to inject these audience insights to its addressable television opportunities.

Currently, Latin America is the only part of the cable operator’s footprint where it has “an ads business”, according to Paul who said that Liberty Global’s pre-existing set-top box footprint (in lieu of the planned roll out of the advanced EOS set top box rollout) will help it launch its data-driven insights sooner rather than later.

This will begin with the rollout of addressable TV services for advertisers in Latin American markets beginning with a 2017 launch of such services in Puerto Rico (where it operates under the Liberty brand) as well as Chile (where it operates under the VTR brand.

Paul went on to explain how it planned to do so in a “monetize-able way”, he added: “I like the term ‘attention economics’ because historically we’ve measured purely commercial, and there’s a much bigger story. The industry has been talking about it at the fringes, but it hasn’t used the data in a monetize-able way, and by ‘attention economics’ I mean understanding the user engagement.”

He later added: “So we’re using the data in two forms, at a very basic level we’re using it to enable addressable advertising, and on the same time we’re also using it to plan at the front end plus to measure what happens at the back end. And there’s a much bigger story there. We are looking at how the consumer accesses the content and the overall consumer experience."

While at Beet Retreat, he later went on to explain that much of the value it will offer to advertisers is derived from applications of data that are a lot more simple than many may think.

“While understanding data and its implications in the marketplace is a must given the current competitive environment, we have learned that we don't need to be a PhD in data science because the value that’s being generated not just within our activities but what we’ve observed in the United States, is actually fairly basic applications of data,” he added.

Liberty recently announced fourth quarter results that included a 198% increase in revenue in Latin America and the Caribbean, driving the company’s stock price up more than 15% in one day. During 2016, Liberty added 946,000 new European subscribers and 94,000 organic Latin American and Caribbean division subscribers.

- Ronan Shields contributed to this report.

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Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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