Some five years ago, Cadent partnered with Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company, to set up dynamic ad insertion for video on-demand for Virgin Media’s TV offering.  

Today, Cadent announced an expansion of its addressable advertising management platform in Europe in partnership with Liberty Global, one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband and communications companies. Cadent has now extended its automated addressable linear and VOD Advertising Platform into Liberty Global’s Irish footprint, Virgin Media Ireland, with its continental European markets to follow starting in 2021.

As the leading independent advanced TV platform, Cadent is focused on bringing proven, scalable and sophisticated data and advertising solutions to platform operators, broadcasters and advertisers. This expansion reaffirms our commitment to innovation through our technology partnership with Liberty Global, which has brought demonstrable success to the TV industry and our respective partners over the years. ” – Keith Kryszczun, SVP of Global Platform Sales, Cadent.

Our partnership, announced in 2018, initially focused on the cross-operator deployment of our platform – Cadent Advanced Advertising Management Platform enabled the value of data enhanced advertising to be monetized in a way that benefits stakeholders across the entire TV ecosystem, including Liberty Global, Virgin Media and Sky, as well as individual subscribers, who received better, more personalized advertising experiences. And by mapping audience data to subscribers in a GDPR compliant manner, marketers were able to precisely target high-value audiences with relevant, impactful messages that don’t intrude on their privacy.  

In Europe, unlike in the U.S., 100% of the inventory is fully owned by the programmers (known in Europe as “broadcasters”), one of the largest of which is Sky, which had already enabled addressable linear on its satellite distribution platform and wanted to enable advertisers to reach more TV households on a one-to-one basis across Virgin Media’s cable TV footprint, the largest in the UK. 

In order to make this possible, Virgin Media and Sky needed a partner to handle the technical integration required to enable addressable linear TV campaigns, one that would take into account considerations like GDPR and advertising regulatory rules, while opening the door for particular ad breaks to be swapped out for addressable ad placement.

In short, there are a lot of moving parts. Sky needed a partner that could accommodate its needs, and existing digital ad serving systems and solutions designed narrowly for satellite distribution wouldn’t work in this environment, nor leverage the highly available, IP STB connected environment Virgin Media supports for their cable TV customers. 

Cadent helped Sky and Virgin Media integrate with each other, allowing them to map audience segments and create addressable campaigns for delivery against a combined subscriber base. Additionally, the integration covered multiple distribution platforms, enabling Sky not only to replace spots in linear programming broadcast to Virgin Media UK set-top boxes, but also to insert ads into VOD (video-on-demand) programs made available for STB and iPTV/app-based viewing. While the campaigns were active and after their completion, Cadent’s platform provided advertising performance and detailed campaign reports back to Virgin Media and Sky, respectively.

Cadent has long been focused on making things simple for our partners: we’ve devised a seamless workflow based on the platform we’ve built over the last decade, with new modules for importing addressable campaign definitions, linear schedules and clash rules that allow us to integrate into new environments.

We’ve been told we’re more than a partner; we function almost as an in-house TV ad tech staff, and we’re proud to say that Cadent’s patented addressable linear TV solution for Virgin Media and Sky is the first implementation of addressable linear on hybrid IP/QAM set-top boxes.

Cadent built technology that gives programmers the ability to construct and map audience segments for pay TV subscribers (with segments being created with first-party data using the Safe Harbor framework), and we let programmers know how audience segments map to households, enabling them to take that knowledge into account when making decisions.  We do all of this while enabling a model whereby Virgin Media retains tight control over all aspects of their subscriber and network data; no ad requests are “re-directed” outside their network.  

Coming up with a solution that allows UK programmers to make addressable inventory available and scale their advertising business took many team members, from product managers, designers, and software developers here in the U.S. to those on the ground in the UK. It was a truly global effort, and we’re grateful to all involved who made this launch possible, including:

  • From our product development and testing team: Krishna Durgi, Matthew Lowe and Sarah Collie, as well as former employees Allan Nicholson, Ripu Vohra, Alex Risi, Shahil Chokshi, Deepak Nagari and James Wang;
  • From our client services and technical services teams: Elvio Caruana, Azeem, Mark Crilly, Eric Caudill, and Ladislav Csehy, who supported Liberty Global on the ground in the UK, spearheading integration and testing work. We also want to extend a thank you to Cadent’s entire San Jose and Noida engineering and operations teams for their foundational work, as well as Les Carter and former employee Srini Chandrasekaran, who helped get this project off the ground. 

Learn more about Cadent Platform, and learn more our partnership with Liberty Global here.

Posted by Joe Matarese

Joe Matarese is SVP, Advanced Advertising Technology Platform at Cadent and based in San Jose. He has worked at Cadent for nine years, beginning with BlackArrow, an ad tech company Cadent acquired in 2015.