Samba TV aims for European OTT advertising market with UK office opening

Data science

AMSTERDAM – Advertising and media analytics provider Samba TV is expanding from the U.S. into the European market, opening a new office in London which will be headed by Hitesh Bhatt, who will join the company in October as regional vice president for EMEA.

“Hitesh is joining us from Sky, so he’s been in the business for a long time,” said Dan Ackerman, chief revenue officer at Samba TV, whose brand partnerships team Bhatt will be joining. “Sky has been a thought leader and trailblazer in the EU market doing addressable TV, data-driven linear and programmatic. He’s got a lot of good experience and great contacts across EMEA.”

The vendor’s Sync and Retarget digital ad buying platform will be available in the UK market first, according to a release.

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Samba TV uses an embedded chip in smart TVs to “recognize everything that comes through a television – whether over the air, subscription television, Apple TV, Roku – you name the source, we’re able to identify the content and the advertising that’s coming through the glass regardless of that source,” Ackerman explained. The Sync and Retarget product then enables advertisers to tailor addressable advertising to all of a user’s platforms.

The product requires a consumer to opt in to the program, and data is kept private by Samba TV and not shared beyond its advertising customer.

Ackerman said the opt-in program is extremely successful: 90 percent of consumers who own smart TVs that include the chipset have opted in, giving Samba TV about 10 million participants in the U.S., and 15 million participants worldwide.

For Ackerman, who recently joined Samba TV himself from AOL, the company’s platform helps fill in a lot of gaps that he saw in the advertising industry around audience analytics. “How do you have a really tight, deterministic connection between consumers’ exposure on the television, on their mobile devices, and then connect that to conversion events, whether it’s online or in the real world?” he said, noting that previously, most of the data he worked with came from set-top boxes, and often had a bias toward one set of viewers or another. “Just from a pure targeting standpoint, understanding visibility at scale into what consumers are doing and then being able to reach them with messages on their digital devices … I hadn’t seen anybody who could string those together on a one-to-one basis.”

Ackerman is confident about Samba TV’s growth potential for EMEA, and perhaps beyond. With Bhatt leading the UK-based team and with the addition of Jay Fowdar, a digital display advertising veteran, as European director of product, the company has a good base to work from, he noted.

“We’ve built a good model in the U.S., have pretty good penetration across all the agency holding companies, working with all the ad tech platforms – many of those are big program creators – and felt that it is the right time to expand into the European market," said Ackerman. "We have TVs that are already deployed; we’ve been capturing data so we have the foundation built and ready to go; and our agency holding company relationships can translate very well into these other big media markets.”

For more:
- see the release

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