Meeting with Jean-François Jézéquel, Co-Founder of C2m Group


In recent weeks, Kinow has been able to meet some of its partners for special "expert" interviews. Jean-François Jézéquel, Co Founder at C2m Group (Challenge2Media) informs us about "Addressed TV and new use cases".

Jean-François Jézéquel founded, with Michel Boukhobza, the company C2m (Challenge2Media), in 2003.

Jean-François Jézéquel, Co-Founder of C2m Group

Before creating the company, Jean-François and Michel had participated in the digital adventure, within the Canal+ Group and Canal+ Technologies, between 1993 and 2003.

For several years, he has been participating in consultancy missions, on behalf of telecom operators or television broadcasters, aimed at setting up digital distribution platforms.

In this context, for the past two years, he has been involved in the implementation on new use cases for television broadcasters and network operators, more specifically on the technologies and standards for setting up addressed TV.

What is addressed TV and what will it concretely change?

Addressed TV, or segmented advertising, is the possibility for an advertiser to distribute a different advertisement depending on the information related to the user.

Targeted advertising has been around since the explosion of the internet and was not specifically related to video distribution. The Internet companies (the GAFAMs) have set up processes to identify precisely what users were watching on the Internet (websites), in order to propose them targeted advertising, which can be videos, or inserts in web pages promoting a product likely to be of interest to the user.

In parallel with this phenomenon, new video distribution platforms have emerged over the last ten years, these platforms cannibalizing traditional channels: more offers necessarily imply a wider variety of consumption habits.
These habits also vary significantly according to the age group of individuals, but also according to the country. As the audience of television channels is unlikely to increase in the coming years (due to the multiplicity of offers), if we exclude the atypical case of the current containment, it is therefore necessary for the TV broadcasters to find new sources of revenues. And this is where addressed advertising comes in.

This addressed advertising mechanism already exists on connected video distribution platforms (YouTube, Dailymotion, or all the Replay platforms implemented by channel publishers) which add advertising to the content environment. And this added advertising can be different depending on the data collected from the consumer. Unfortunately, most of the time, and especially on YouTube, Dailymotion… platforms, the ads inserted on these platforms cut the program anywhere, in the middle of a scene or a sentence, which is disturbing for the consumer (even if some Replay platforms cut programs more cleanly).

The idea for TV broadcasters is not to randomly cut content to add an advertisement. The principle will be to replace one or more advertisements by one or more other advertisements, and after this replacement, to return to live. We are talking here about linear channels, which, as a matter of principle, broadcast nationally the same program simultaneously to all viewers.

Until now, the regulatory framework for advertising has been governed by a 1992 decree which states that "advertising messages must be broadcast simultaneously throughout the service area". A new decree is expected to be presented authorizing television channels to implement addressed advertising.

How does it work? What are the technical challenges?

The principle of addressed advertising for television channels is a little different from that of personalized advertising on the Internet. Indeed, in the case of linear television, the objective is to replace (or substitute) an existing advertising spot in a screen of several spots by another advertising spot, this time adapted, or personalized to the viewer, according to his profile. And the replacement must be seamless, i.e. without the viewer seeing a cut, or a black screen, or a sound discontinuity, for example.

To implement such a seamless replacement, several constraints must be respected:

● The replacement spot and the spot to be replaced must have the exact same duration (frame accurate)..

● Marks must be added to the linear program. This marking (or signaling) is implemented in automation and playout systems. These systems automatically chain programes, and commercial breaks. They are therefore able to know exactly where to mark the video stream in order to precisely indicate the start and end of an advertising spot in the stream.

● Advertising replacement can only be carried out if the television set is connected directly or indirectly to an IP network. In this case, the television set is connected through the TV Box of the telecom operators, made available to their subscribers. It should be noted that as far as DTT is concerned, replacements can also be made, using the HbbTV standard (the majority of new TV screens are compatible with this standard), this time without the Box TV operator.

● Last but not least, the digital terminal (the Box) must be alerted before the replacement, and prepare for this replacement, to ensure that the replacement will be seamless. Indeed, it is not conceivable that millions of set-top boxes connected to a prime-time program will access an advertising server at the same second. Therefore, these set-top boxes will pre-load the replacement spot several seconds before the replacement takes place.

What are the challenges for operators and TV broadcasters ?

As mentioned above, traditional TV channels have been competing for several years against video distribution platforms on the Internet. These platforms use advertising, often targeted and personalized according to the navigation or habits of the consumer.

The objective of targeted advertising on linear TV is to increase the revenues of TV channels, while at the same time providing viewers with advertising that is more targeted to their profiles. But the idea is to implement such an advertising replacement without affecting the quality of viewers' experience (contrary to what is traditionally done on Internet distribution platforms, where an advertising break may occur right in the middle of a sentence or scene in a program).

For the telecom operators, the challenge is to participate in this distribution, by ensuring a higher quality of service compared to purely Internet-based platforms, and thus continue to provide their subscribers with quality content.

What are the opportunities and dangers for viewers?

Of course, the question of the availability of subscriber 'profiles' is an obvious one, but it is the same question as when a consumer is surfing the Internet. And regulators should require that the subscriber has given his consent for his or her segmentation information (profile) to be used to address relevant advertisements to him or her.

In comparison, the danger for the viewer is less than when he browses the Internet (in this browsing, or in a video consumption on Internet platforms, GAFAMs can retrieve a lot of information). In the case of Addressed TV, the information remains in a dedicated ecosystem (telecom operators in France, and French TV broadcasters).

Find out more about OTT advertising: How to choose your advertising server to start your business in AVOD?

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