BlackArrow, a US-based provider of TV advertising data solutions, plans more aggressively into the European market in 2015. Towards the end of last year, the company struck a deal with Virgin Media to partner with them on their addressable TV strategy. BlackArrow President Nick Troiano told VAN that his company views the deal as a beachhead for further expansion into the European market.
“Our first foray has been into the UK with Virgin Media and our next move will be to build up our business across Western Europe. We’re also going to be launching in Asia and Latin America later this year and into 2016,” said Troiano. The Virgin deal will see BlackArrow build on Virgin Media’s existing dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capability, but the advertising and data solutions from BlackArrow will allow brands to target their campaigns more effectively across up to 5.3 million British television screens.
Troiano says the technology from BlackArrow will use traditional TV sales metrics while also offering attributes more commonly associated with digital like audience segmentation, frequency capping and real-time reporting. Data will of course play a central role in the revamped Virgin offering. “We have the ability to marry anonymous subscriber information with first and third party data sets to create audience profiles at the household level. This will allow Virgin Media and their broadcast affiliates to reach households based on any set of targeting variables, allowing advertisers to target right down to the household level,” said Troiano.
Troiano also said that addressable TV is now gaining meaningful momentum on both the buy-side and the sell-side. A recent study by Virgin Media into the nation’s viewing habits found that almost half (43 percent) of people watch primarily recorded or on demand TV and a third (34 percent) use mobiles or tablets at the same time. On the buy-side, Troiano says that agencies are starting to “We’re starting to see real convergence now. For example, if you’re buying a TV show on a tablet, is it a digital buy or a TV buy? The simple truth is that you need digital capabilities to reach those audiences. It’s our job to standardise how those people are reached, but how that inventory is sold is completely up to the inventory owner.”
BlackArrow is privately held, and the company is backed by Cisco Systems, Comcast Ventures, Intel Capital, Mayfield Fund, Motorola Mobility Ventures, Polaris Venture, Partners and Time Warner Cable. In the US, the company says their platform currently reaches nearly 32 million homes. The company counts Comcast, NBC Universal and Rogers amongst its clients in the US.