The result of a year-long collaboration between multiple companies including IPONWEB, The Connected TV Initiative report is now finally complete. As an in-depth review of five major CTV markets in Europe, what does the report tell us about the present and future of CTV in 2022? 

In 2007, Apple unveiled its iPhone, an event that transformed the consumer experience, and with it the opportunities for advertising. The result was a wave of innovation across the board. Today, the TV market is undergoing a comparable revolution thanks to widespread connectivity, operating system investments and increasingly sophisticated user interfaces.

This is seeing the broadcast TV and online video advertising ecosystems converge but also collide, with disparities across continents as well as countries. In Europe, huge opportunities are on offer – but, as with any period of change, there are also some major challenges that must also be addressed.

Industry collaboration

In recognition of this pivotal period, in November 2020 the European Connected TV Initiative (ECTVI) was launched. A working collaboration, with partners including Google, IPONWEB, Roku, and Fincons Group, as well as trade bodies such as the IAB Europe, its aim is to explore the full CTV landscape and shape the initiatives and guidance that will see this ecosystem reach its potential of transforming the European media market.

The ECTVI appears on the scene at a time of wide-ranging discussions about the future of media in general, including media measurement, planning and buying across TV and digital media, the responsible use of data to support targeted advertising, identity resolution, the role of programmatic buying, the future of the TV trading model and the relationships between TV platforms and media owners.

Debate and dialogue

Against this backdrop, the ECTVI’s first major project was an extensive, year-long review of the burgeoning, but often disparate, CTV market. 500 senior executives from across the spectrum – broadcasters, media agencies, CTV manufacturers, advertisers, technology providers and key trade bodies and industry associations – took part in research aimed at providing an open forum for debate and dialogue.

The result is The Connected TV Initiative report – available to download in full here.

European market(s) and the US

This report provides an in-depth review of the five major CTV markets in Europe, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. It also offers important insight from the US, widely recognised as significantly more advanced than its European counterpart, and home to advanced services and key industry initiatives. (Although the report notes that it would be ‘naïve’ to assume Europe’s TV market development will follow the same path as that of the US.)

In the US for example, CTV advertising is already an established part of video advertising strategies for many advertisers. The market is not without growing pains however, such as fragmentation, inventory supply constraints, restricted data, inventory and workflows and, of course, the identity resolution challenge.

In Europe, CTV penetration is extensive in most markets, but these markets are fragmented by country (each with its own unique structure, dynamics, culture and language) as well as platform and manufacturer. For example, support for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV), an initiative to provide advanced interactive TV services, is strong in Germany, Italy and Spain, whereas the UK is more focused on streaming services and programmatic platforms.

Priorities – and future debate

The Connected TV Initiative report explores market variances and similarities in depth, summarizing months of research, and presenting facts, statistics and considered opinions from across the global industry. It then identifies the four priorities that it believes will support the development of the CTV advertising ecosystem in Europe, with these concentrated on measurement, a transparent supply chain, simplifying the deliverability of addressable campaigns across fragmented devices, and investment in a standardized and interoperable ecosystem.

It also acknowledges that it is exploring a highly complex and fast-paced industry, inviting as it does ongoing and constructive debates about the European CTV ecosystem and all it has to offer.

The report can be downloaded in full here at The Drum.