Dwise and Rakuten in conversation about Programmatic and Connected TV

Sep 14, 2023
Media channels

Connected TV (CTV for short) continues to grow and this time we met with Lisa Degerfeldt of Rakuten Advertising to talk about programmatic advertising and CTV.

Hi Lisa, your title at Rakuten is Nordic Lead. What does that role entail? 

Lisa: Hello and thank you for your interest. Nordic Lead means that I am responsible for Rakuten's advertising portfolio in the Nordic region, primarily Rakuten TV.

About Rakuten & CTV

Dwise: Can you tell us briefly about Rakuten and your offer to advertisers? 

Lisa: Rakuten was founded in Japan as an e-commerce platform.

Rakuten TV, which is our primary product in the Nordic region, is a Connected TV application that is pre-installed on TVs from 2017 onwards. The application is also available as a button on many TV manufacturers' remote controls.

In our app you will find both a classic video on demand service and around 100 FAST channels, i.e. live TV. Our selection includes films, documentaries and series for every conceivable target group. If you like sports, we have a bunch of very good sports documentaries, but also lots of movies. At Rakuten, there should be something for everyone, whether you like fishing, music or cooking.

Dwise: Having also worked in traditional TV, how would you describe CTV advertising in relation to traditional TV advertising?

Lisa: I would say that CTV has the same great features as linear TV. The ads are shown on a big screen, always in full and there is always sound. This is in a fire-safe environment with well-produced content. CTV also has the advantages of being a digital media channel which means control possibilities, tracking etc.

Another advantage of CTV is that it opens the door for advertisers who do not have million-dollar budgets to advertise on TV. For example, we can control the postal code, which means that local advertisers can only show advertising in their local area. But it also works the other way, if you are a Nordic advertiser who wants to advertise in other European countries, you can make these ad purchases from Sweden. TV buys become more local and global at the same time.

We also have fewer advertising minutes than traditional TV. Our commercial breaks are two minutes long and a maximum of 5-7 minutes per hour. This compares with traditional TV, which has about double that.

Dwise: What makes Connected TV advertising different from other digital media that use video in their offering?

Lisa: Advertising on Connected TV means that you are shown on a large screen, with sound and that the viewer cannot rewind or skip the ad. You are usually watching with others and you have actively chosen the TV content. This can be compared to ads that are shown on a smaller screen, without sound and where you may not always see the entire ad, you have a completely different observation value on a CTV ad.

Dwise: What are the main benefits for advertisers in choosing you? 

Lisa: We were one of the first companies to start with CTV advertising in Europe, so we have a lot of expertise in CTV. 

Another advantage is that - through our primary target group of 18-50 year olds - we reach the target group of 18-40 year olds, a group that is otherwise difficult to reach on linear TV and which is a must for building brand awareness in the long run. 

A third advantage is that you do not need a login on Rakuten. The content is free to consume, which means a low threshold to start watching. In a few years, I think we will not use the term CTV but instead say TV and Rakuten will be considered as any other channel.

Dwise: What is important for advertisers to consider when advertising programmatically with you? 

Lisa: A TV is owned by a whole household, unlike a mobile phone or tablet, which is usually owned by one person. You watch with other family members and there may be several different people in the household watching. This means that while a campaign is measured and sold on impressions, an impression is not the same as a person. In fact, one impression from a CTV can be several different people. This is important to keep in mind when evaluating a CTV follow-up.    

The future & trends

Dwise: How do you feel Connected TV advertising has evolved over the last few years? And what do you think the future holds? 

Lisa: A lot has happened in the last few years and even more will happen in the future. A study by Magnite in the US predicts that CTV investment will overtake investment in linear TV by 2025. Now we are a few years behind in Europe, but the viewing figures speak for themselves, so if you want to continue to reach viewers on TV, CTV is a must.  

Dwise: What do you think the future looks like for programmatic ad buying at Rakuten? 

Lisa: Many people who buy Rakuten today do so programmatically and in all likelihood this will grow further in the future.


Dwise: What are the most common spot lengths for Connected TV advertising and what are the benefits of each length?

Lisa: We primarily work with film lengths between 6-30 seconds. What is best is hard to say, it is usually about what the advertiser wants to achieve with their campaign.

Dwise: What to consider to produce a good Connected TV ad?

Lisa: Usually you might think of CTV as a digital instream format, but this media type can be considered more like traditional TV, which means that audio and storytelling are more important. Of course, image and sound production should be of good quality. 

Dwise: What do you think are the main benefits of integrating Connected TV advertising into your media mix?

Lisa: CTV is a relatively new medium, but will become very large as viewers move from linear TV to streaming. What will affect the advertising minutes on CTV the most is when existing players such as Netflix, Disney etc. open for advertising. They already have high reach in terms of viewership. So I think it is good to grasp the medium now, test, learn, to have a ready-made strategy when Connected TV will be a must in the media plan.  

Dwise: Thanks Lisa!

Josefine Lopes Helgesson

Sales & Marketing Coordinator

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