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Addressability accelerated: FreeWheel marries linear and digital video advertising

On the mark: FreeWheel's new MRM platform enables cross-screen addressable advertising

FreeWheel, Comcast’s technology platform that connects buyers and sellers, announced today that it is piloting a new solution to centralize linear and digital advertising. The new offering is designed to take a linear TV spot and make it addressable across multiple platforms and devices.

“We are now able to bring in a single impression goal cross-screen. We were previously doing this separately,” Melanie Hamilton, head of enterprise sales at Effectv, Comcast’s ad sales arm told The Drum.

“With one of the largest addressable footprints — Comcast has 21 million households — marketers can take this audience addressable product and use it as a tactic in a larger marketing strategy.”

What it is

  • The new FreeWheel technology enables video advertising across multiple platforms and all screens, including linear TV, managed in one centralized decisioning space, which is call the MRM platform.

  • Addressability is made possible because the technology leverages de-identified, aggregated data — meaning that no audience member’s personal information is being used to target. The technology is compliant with all applicable data privacy regulations “Basically, you put in your direct sales, your indirect sales and your other advertising, and MRM has a brain that will take all of those inputs and calculate what it considers to be a top few opportunities for a given impression for a given set of eyeballs,” says Geoff Wolinetz, FreeWheel’s head of revenue. “It makes those calls to figure out which ad it should serve to whom in a given instance.”

  • The MRM platform also enforces inventory shares, helps content owners negotiate deals and forecasts across a wide range of distribution endpoints.

  • Comcast and Charter Communications have been piloting the solution since December. FreeWheel will give multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) access to the technology in the coming months.

Why it matters

  • Advertisers will be able make a centralized linear and digital buy.

  • The solution helps marketers maximize efficiency by allowing them to reach audiences across linear TV set-top boxes and full-episode players online.

  • Traditionally, addressable TV ads take advantage of just a sliver of the targeted impressions of a given ad unit, and the remaining impressions are distributed across other promotional spots, direct response ads and PSAs — or may be given to other advertisers. However, FreeWheel’s new platform expands available impressions to all marketers and puts additional impressions up for grabs for use in other addressable campaigns.

  • Sellers can offer deduplicated reach to advertisers.

  • “This is the next step to enabling MVPDs to deliver addressable video advertising across platforms and both traditional and linear endpoints,” says Sara Wallace, FreeWheel’s senior director of product management. “That means that there's a single campaign that's able to be extremely streamlined and optimized across all of these different endpoints. The value of this centralized, real-time decisioning is that it's possible for more advertisers to deliver those customized addressable ads to the audiences they're trying to reach within the linear ecosystem. It's a huge step to enabling addressability at scale.”

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