We interrupt this broadcast to tell you a start-up has saved TV

5 Dec 2014

If TV is threatened by the internet, the second screen and streaming, then a start-up from Dublin called TVadSync is on a mission to restore balance to the broadcast advertising world.

TVadSync is the brainchild of Ronan Higgins and Peter Oonk and addresses changing TV viewing behaviour.

A new report by global Nielsen has shown TV viewership in the US is on the decline as the public spends more time surfing the web and watching video-streaming services than before.

TVadSync is working to ensure that viewers distracted by wireless devices during ad breaks don’t miss the ads that advertisers want you to see.

By making clever use of video fingerprinting and recognition software from the prestigious Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, as well as combining algorithms and APIs, TVadSync aims to ensure TV advertising dollars won’t go to waste.

“We enable online advertisers to sync their media buying with live TV,” Oonk said.

Merging the first and second screens

The company is already working with advertising giants Omicom and Publicis to introduce the new paradigm to online and TV advertisers in the US and UK.

The platform works by interfacing intelligently with demand-side platforms (DSPs) that enable the buying of advertising inventory in real-time.

“We had noticed that audience for linear TV was still pretty high at 90pc but that enormously high numbers of people, around 80pc at times, were using a phone or tablet while watching TV and some surveying showed that the behaviour was all over the place – some Facebook, Twitter and lots of web browsing focused on content related to the TV show. 

“We realised quickly that the best way to capture that audience – at that exact moment their attention is gone from the first screen – was through buying as many impressions in real-time through RTB ad exchanges.

“So that, when an ad for, say, Vodafone airs on RTÉ 1, we buy up any and all impressions available in the Irish market for a short time window of a few minutes during and after the ad airs and display the Vodafone ad on the smartphone or tablet. 

“We focus on the highly rated channels and run the online campaigns mainly in prime time. Basically, anyone with a phone/tablet in their hand watching, say X-Factor, will see an online ad synced with the TV ad that just aired.

“Sometimes, we sync directly with the online advertiser’s TV ads but we’ve also done a lot of piggybacking – have an online ad be synced with their competitor’s TV ad,” Oonk explained.

Working with Omnicom in Dublin, TvadSync has already synched campaigns for brands that include Vodafone, Specsavers, PepsiMax, Ryanair and Heinz.

The company is raising funds to expand internationally to work with global agency networks.

TV screen image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years