Swisscom is an example of how telcos like AT&T, Verizon or Singtel might evolve.
In April, the Swiss telco combined its mobile phone and set-top box data with digital, print, radio and TV content from 85 media brands. The joint venture, called Admeira, reaches 95% of the Swiss market and lets advertisers precisely target their buys across all forms of media.
Admeira hired 200 ad sales execs to sell across the entire portfolio, using Swisscom tech such as Improve Digital, which manages direct and programmatic campaigns. Almost all of Admeira’s digital brands use the monetization platform.
“The value prop is premium inventory with technology, data and ad sales in one company,” COO Marc Sier said.
Next year, Admeira will expand into addressable TV. Swisscom’s customers have 1.4 million set-top boxes, accounting for one-third of the pay TV market in Switzerland, giving advertisers a scaled marketplace. Admeira also plans to explore features like cross-media frequency capping that leverage its immense scale.
“Telcos have huge scale, mobile access, home access and tons of data,” noted Joelle Frijters, CEO of Improve Digital, which also serves European publishers that aren’t part of Admeira.
Improve Digital will build out its tech to support Admeira’s expansion into addressable TV and is working to activate the first user group tests.
Swisscom landed on advertising to expand beyond its core business, which had already saturated the market.
“[Swisscom] sits on a ton of data and has very large pipes that allow them to actually address their customers. I was looking into monetization opportunities for those data assets,” Sier recalled. “We came to the conclusion that advertising is an interesting way of monetizing.”
Sier sees other telcos following.
“I’ve worked in telco for 20 years,” he said. “Most telco companies came from an access-driven business. Some developed into a content-driven business, and the next step seems to be an advertising business. All around the world, you see telcos getting into the advertising business.”
Admeira has observed both positive and negative feedback from the industry. Advertisers went from having dozens of sales reps to a single point of contact. In the new setup, one dedicated rep sells everything from print to TV.
But publishers who aren’t part of the group fear the power of Admeira’s consolidated content. “They are scared of being left behind, which is not our intention,” Sier said. “We see ourselves as an open platform, and our mission is to strengthen the Swiss media landscape.”
While Google and Facebook dominate internationally, Sier said Admeira’s properties speak to Switzerland’s unique culture, as well as its four languages.
As Admeira continues to get off the ground, Sier said the company is not receiving pushback from local consumers about data concerns. The company has clear opt-outs and reduces its data use to respect users’ privacy.
For instance, it does not use transaction data or any data from Swisscom email accounts for advertising. Plus, because Switzerland is a small country, it avoids any hypertargeting that could create segments small enough to be traced back to an individual.
“The information we use is based on segment-level data, not one-to-one marketing,” Sier said. “We need to make sure we never identify a particular person.”
Sier also noted enhanced data protection rules coming from both the EU and the US. Eventually, Admeira may need to move to an opt-in model, which mirrors recent FCC noise about requiring internet service providers do the same thing.
This post was syndicated from Ad Exchanger.