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ITV transforming the streaming landscape with real-time ad delivery at scale

ITV uses SAS® 360 Match to drive viewer engagement with customized ad experiences


ITV, the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, is using an API-driven first-party ad server developed by data and AI leader, SAS, to deliver personalized advertising to the 40 million registered users of its content hub, ITVX.

A year after its launch, as well as 40 million registered viewers, ITVX boasted 2.7 billion streams which was a new record for ITV. Recent successes include the Rugby World Cup streams, which have reached 60 million views - an 80% increase compared to the 2019 tournament. 

Advertisers are increasingly moving budgets to platforms that can provide verified audiences and automated buying options. Streaming services and Connected TV are well placed to benefit from this shift, but to facilitate this they need a robust advertising technology foundation that’s also flexible enough to integrate and develop in-house solutions. 

The intelligent advertising solution, SAS 360 Match, delivers this by providing highly targeted, real-time ad decisioning on an immense scale in on-demand and live simulcast delivery. It operates in a flexible and transparent way yet can handle complex business rules and criteria. 

With SAS 360 Match, ITV can:

  • Confidently forecast its digital audience and ad inventory across scheduled programming and on-demand content.
  • Take control of its ad monetization strategy with intelligent advertising-supported video on demand (AVOD) – even in a cookie-less world.
  • Deliver contextually relevant ad content based on deep analytics about viewers’ content preferences.
  • Build an AdTech stack with embedded advertising intelligence to take control of monetization and the digital advertising ecosystem.

“When we have a challenge or see an opportunity, we have a conversation with the brilliant minds at SAS,” said Alex Maison, Head of Digital Ad Platforms, ITV. 

“We often come back with something better than what we were thinking. We’ve been able to progress at a great pace and keep ahead of the market because of those conversations.” 

One of these key innovations is Planet V, ITV’s self-serve programmatic platform that provides advertisers with a range of campaign booking options based on show content and audience data. Planet V, self-built by ITV and now the UK’s second-largest programmatic platform, is a high-fidelity integration with the SAS 360 Match solution for ad delivery and campaign management. 

“The flexibility of SAS 360 Match allows us to develop things at our own pace,” added Maison. “We define our own development queue – we’re not waiting for a third party. We’re able to build most of the things we need to get to market ourselves.” 

One of the biggest advancements on the horizon for ITV is addressable linear advertising. Ads delivered on standard broadcast TV are the same for every viewer, but addressable linear allows different ads to be shown to different households, even though they are watching the same program. This is achieved through set-top boxes and smart TV technology that can receive and display ads based on the household’s demographics, viewing habits or other targeting criteria.

Roderick Crawford, Senior Vice President for SAS Northern Europe, said: “SAS has been working with ITV for more than 10 years and it’s been great to see the collaboration develop to the point where our customer intelligence software now helps deliver personalized ads to the 40million registered users of its content hub, ITVX. We know ITV has ambitious plans to become a leader in UK streaming and grow digital revenue significantly, and we’re delighted to be supporting them on this journey.”

Find out more about SAS’ work with ITV here.

About SAS

SAS is a global leader in data and AI. With SAS software and industry-specific solutions, organizations transform data into trusted decisions. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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