RTL takes on Facebook and Google with video marketplace addressing brand safety fears

RTL AdConnect launches trio of adtech offerings to address brand safety concerns across properties and platforms. / Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Pan-European media conglomerate RTL has announced the launch of a new offering to address brand safety concerns, called the Video Marketplace (VMP), one it hopes will offer international advertisers access to European audiences.

VMP forms part of RTL’s Adconnect suite of adtech tools and was created to give international advertisers access to RTL’s library of digital content across VOD platforms, TV channels, YouTube, plus other platforms.

RTL said in a statement that it considered the VMP an independent alternative to offerings given by US tech giants like Facebook and Google, and a one-stop solution that gives international access to viewers of its content.

The RTL AdConnect suite featured three separate solutions in its VMP package: VMP AdPremium for VOD platforms; VMP AdFinity for user-generated content and influencer videos on YouTube; and VMP AdExtension, which reaches its audiences through partner networks such as ITV and RAI in Europe. VMP also lets advertisers access content properties such as Fremantle Media, which includes American Idol and other reality and unscripted programming in its stable.

RTL AdConnect’s managing director Stephane Coruble explained to The Drum how the offering resembled what Facebook and Google propose to the market, but with added brand safety assurances.

Describing VMP AdPremium, he said: “Let’s say you’re watching American Idol. You’ll see a lot of short videos on our YouTube channels and we have access to all sorts of inventory. We’re combining access to these, whatever the platform, in the same approach to a YouTube or Facebook.”

The launch of VMP essentially puts RTL in direct competition for the same ad dollars as those entities, but in a way that embraces their respective digital platforms and gives brand partners access to its own slate of content as well.

Coruble also added that VMP AdFinity lets advertisers purchase video inventory, that can be served across its content curation properties such as United Screens (which it had acquired at the beginning of the year), and others across the EU in one bucket.

VMP AdExtension also offers media buyers video ad inventory on legacy publisher websites that utilize adtech tools from within the wider RTL stable, such as SpotX and SmartClip. Coruble explained further: “This is basically a group of over 1500 that includes Spotify, it includes CNN, or The Telegraph, you can get very specific print websites that deliver video.”

According to RTL, the advantage of VMP is that it lets the media company do what YouTube has failed to do: properly address brand safety where marketers can buy media.

“We have really strong management of our content,” said Corbule. “Because we know exactly which content can be tied to a specific property and curate in a way that Google cannot.”

He added: “Basically, we can blend those three types of offerings into a ‘blended CPM’ across countries, and I think that has an added value, which is quite new for the European market, at least.”

Coruble said that it’s the responsibility of content publishers to step up and provide tools for brands to safely publish ads without fear of running adjacent to unsavory programming.

He added: “There has never been more opportunity, and more risk, for advertisers in today’s digital ecosystem, RTL AdConnect provides a simplified, global solution for brands looking for more transparency on monetization and measurement – in addition to helping create more reliable brand safety for advertisers online.”

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