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  • Writer's pictureJohannes Kallenbach

HbbTV TA Advertising: What’s in It for Broadcasters?

Updated: Apr 24


modern tv screens connected thanks to the hbbtv standard with hbbtv ta

“Broadcast is Dead - Long Live Broadcast" (with HbbTV TA)


In times of increasing content production and acquisition costs, the companies who operate popular broadcast channels willing to increase their revenue naturally look into optimizing their advertising strategy and improving monetization. Particularly in classic broadcasting, we identified a large potential that many TV Channel operators are missing out on - Targeted Advertising via Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV TA).


“But what’s the point?” Broadcasters might ask, who are on their journey to digitize content distribution and switch to delivery via streaming over IP wherever they can… The answer is existing reach and addressability. While most streaming services require massive marketing budgets to be scaled, many classic broadcast channels already have a huge footprint and popularity amongst their audiences that can be activated by utilizing advanced advertising technology. With more than 175 million Connected TV households in Europe only (see below), the impact of a sophisticated advertising strategy for existing broadcast channels is difficult to ignore.


Dynamic Ad Insertion does not apply to streaming platforms only but also to classic linear broadcast channels that use specific standards such as HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV). In this case, we talk about Dynamic Ad Substitution via HbbTV or, more synthetically, HbbTV TA, which stands for HbbTV Targeted Advertising.


HbbTV TA is a precious opportunity for broadcasters to leverage their existing reach and increase ad acceptance among their audience, and consequently ad revenue, by replacing standard generic TV commercials with addressable ads targeted at a household level and sold programmatically.


But to better understand this, we must take a step back and look at HbbTV in general before focusing on its advertising applications.


Table of content


What is HbbTV? Definition and Main Use Cases

a remote control activating hbbtv on a tv screen

HbbTV, which stands for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, is a global initiative and a technology standard that combines traditional broadcast television with interactive internet-based content and services. It is designed to enhance the viewing experience for television audiences by allowing them to access a wide range of interactive features on their television screens.


HbbTV integrates broadcast TV (e.g., terrestrial, cable, or satellite) with broadband internet, enabling interactive content and targeted advertisement to be delivered alongside or within traditional TV programming.

In many regions, including Europe, HbbTV services are typically accessed by pressing the "red button" on a TV remote control, which triggers interactive applications that can be either related to or independent from the current TV program.


Some typical examples of HbbTV use cases are:

  • EPG (Electronic Program Guide) Enhancements; HbbTV allows for enhanced program guides, providing more information about TV shows, including synopses, cast details, and related content.

  • Personalized Content Recommendations; Via HbbTV it is possible to analyze viewers' watching habits and preferences to offer personalized content recommendations, helping viewers discover new shows and programs.

  • Games; Interactive gaming applications are made possible, enabling viewers to play games on their TV screens using a remote control or game controller.

  • Poll and Contests; HbbTV can be used also for interactive voting and contests related to TV programs, reality shows, talent competitions, and more. Viewers can easily participate and cast their votes in real time.

  • Social Media Integration; Some HbbTV applications include social media features that allow viewers to share their thoughts about a TV program, see social media feeds related to the show, or connect with other viewers.

  • Addressable TV Advertising and Shoppable Ads: Broadcasters can replace generic TV commercials with ads that are personalized at a household level. These ads can also, in some cases, allow viewers to access additional information about a product or service, fill out forms, or even make purchases directly from their TV screens (shoppable ads).


This last application is also referred to as HbbTV TA (specification details) and will be investigated more in detail in the following paragraphs in terms of technical functioning, required infrastructure, and advantages for the broadcaster.


HbbTV: State-of-the-Art

a television with hbbtv settings

The HbbTV consortium was formed in 2009 by several leading European broadcasters and manufacturers of consumer electronics to develop a standard for hybrid TV services. The first version of the HbbTV standard, known as HbbTV 1.0, was released one year later, in 2010, and it provided a foundation for combining broadcast and broadband content on television screens.


Subsequent versions that we support are HbbTV 1.5 and HbbTV 2.0, which were introduced in 2012 and 2014, respectively, adding improvements and new features to the standard.

In more recent years, HbbTV 2.0 has been further developed, refining some of its features and offering new possibilities, including the HbbTV TA specification.



According to audienceXpress, 65% of the Europe population owns a smart TV set in 2023 and the data is constantly growing. Considering that the number of TV households in Europe was 270 million at the beginning of 2022, this means that more than 175 million households have a TV connected to the internet. All these devices carry theHbbTV standard, opening up a lot of valuable retention and monetization opportunities for broadcasters


“So… Targeted Advertising in Broadcast is a Thing?”


How Does HbbTV TA Work?

hbbtv ta ecosystem

HbbTV TA, which stands for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV Targeted Advertising and is part of addressable advertising, is a form of television advertising that leverages the capabilities of HbbTV technology to deliver customized and relevant ads to individual viewers or specific groups of viewers.


This approach allows advertisers to better target their messages to the intended audience, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of advertising campaigns and broadcasters to serve interesting ads for each of their viewers, surging the time spent on their channels. Here's a general overview of how HbbTV targeted advertising works:

  • Audience Segmentation: Advertisers and broadcasters use data and analytics to segment the TV audience based on various factors, including demographics, viewing habits, location, and other user-specific data.

  • Data Collection: Data is collected from various sources, such as set-top boxes, smart TVs, and other connected devices, to build profiles of individual viewers or viewer groups. This data is linked to a consent management platform (CMP) to comply with data privacy standards.

agustin perez, ceo and founder of consent platform sibbo
"In today's complex digital environment, the correct application of privacy regulations is more relevant than ever. For hybrid broadband TV, this requires the implementation of a consent management platform (CMP) that meets the technical specifications as well as implementation support. With a high consent rate, typically above 95%, this opens up premium TV inventory to advanced monetization opportunities leading to higher revenues for broadcast channels.”, Agustin Perez, CEO and Founder of Consent Platform Sibbo.

  • Profile Matching: Ad servers match the segmented audience profiles with the available advertising campaigns, deciding which ads to serve to which particular viewer or household.

  • Dynamic Ad Substitution: Whenever a single viewer (or a family) is watching a program on a CTV device, HbbTV technology allows for the real-time replacement of standard broadcast ads with targeted ads that are relevant to the viewer's profile. This can happen seamlessly and on the fly, thanks to advanced advertising platforms like Serverside.ai that stitch content and advertising together in a single stream, ensuring that viewers receive personalized ads without any latency or buffering.

  • Targeting:

karol trzaska, lead technical architect advanced advertising  at warner bros. discovery

"Targeted ads can be tailored to individual preferences, demographics, behavior, location, IP address, and other relevant information such as household income or weather. This makes them more engaging and resonating with the viewer, so it’s less likely that they will switch channels during an ad break, increasing revenue for the broadcaster and value for the advertiser.” Karol Trzaska, Lead Technical Architect Advanced Advertising at Warner Bros. Discovery
  • Monitoring & Reporting: An analytics tool, which for Serverside.ai is incorporated in our user interface or can be accessed via API, monitors what happens both on the client side (user agents, player events, broadcast events, etc.) and the server side in the cloud (ad server response time, ad insertion per channel, etc.) so the broadcaster is always aware of what is happening in detail.


Opportunities and Benefits for Broadcasters with HbbTV TA

a broadcaster ceo entering the portal of hbbtv ta opportunities

Broadcasters can benefit from several advantages by transforming their advertising strategy from one-to-many to one-to-one, delivering targeted ads to their viewers with HbbTV TA:


  • Enhanced Viewer Engagement and Consumer Satisfaction: When people see more relevant ads, they are less likely to perceive ads as an interruption, leading to higher viewer satisfaction which results in more viewers for longer periods boosting the audience of the TV programs and the value of the broadcaster's ad slots. The increased viewer engagement with advertisements can lead also to improved ad recall and greater interaction with the ads, ultimately benefiting both advertisers and the broadcaster.

  • Better Monetization of Inventory and Increased Ad Revenue: HbbTV TA enables broadcasters to make better use of their ad inventory.

james grant, svp, addressable tv partnerships at equativ
“They can sell more ad slots for a higher price by offering targeted ad opportunities, as advertisers are usually willing to pay a premium for personalized ad placements. This can result in incremental use of the ad inventory for the broadcaster.” James Grant, SVP, Addressable TV Partnerships at Equativ.

  • Reduced Ad Clutter: Targeted advertising can also lead to reduced ad clutter because broadcasters can deliver more relevant ads in a shorter amount of time. This can improve the overall viewing experience by minimizing ad repetition and creating a more streamlined ad experience.

  • Competitive Advantage: By offering targeted advertising capabilities, broadcasters can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract advertisers looking for more effective ways to reach their target audience. Also, targeted ads open the market to new business actors like local franchises and other small to medium-sized enterprises which result in more potential buyers for the broadcaster’s ad inventory.

  • Data Insights: Implementing HbbTV targeted advertising generates valuable data and insights about viewer behavior and preferences.

jasper sasse, managing director  at xad spoteffects

"The growing use of SmartTVs creates new possibilities for the media industry to collect valuable data for measurement, attribution, and targeting purposes. By using HbbTV, we can make best use of this opportunity for classic linear broadcasters, as well as for their media clients.“ Jasper Sasse, Managing Director at XAD spoteffects.
robert seeliger, dai and video sustainability lead  at fraunhofer fokus

“Broadcasters can use this data to refine their ad offerings, better understand their audience, and make data-driven decisions to improve both their programming and advertising strategies.“ Robert Seeliger, DAI and Video Sustainability Lead at Fraunhofer FOKUS.


  • Flexibility and Agility: HbbTV technology allows for real-time ad insertion and changes, enabling broadcasters to respond quickly to market trends, new regulations, and advertiser demands. This flexibility is really valuable in today’s competitive environment.


“Okay let’s go! What does it take to get started?”


What Does a Broadcaster Need to Implement HbbTV TA?

hbbtv ta broadcaster onboarding topics with serverside.ai

To deliver HbbTV TA, broadcasters need a combination of technical infrastructure, data capabilities, and partnerships with advertisers and technology providers. Here are the key components and considerations that a TV company needs to deliver HbbTV-targeted advertising:


  • HbbTV-Enabled Infrastructure: An HbbTV-compatible infrastructure is required to support the delivery of targeted ads. This includes the DVB broadcast chain with playout systems that can signal opportunities for ad insertion. You can read more about HbbTV requirements and specifications on the HbbTV Consortium website.

  • Data Analytics and Processing: To set HbbTV TA a broadcaster needs access to audience data to segment viewers based on demographics, viewing behavior, geolocation, and further relevant criteria. This data can be collected from set-top boxes, smart TVs, and other devices. Then analytics and processing capabilities are needed to analyze and segment the audience effectively. This involves using analytics tools and algorithms to match viewers with target segments for ad delivery.

  • Ad Inventory Management and Ad Sales: Broadcasters have to manage their inventory and ensure their ad slots are correctly signaled for dynamic ad insertion. They also need to develop ad sales and pricing strategies to attract advertisers and maximize ad revenue. This should be done programmatically to determine which ad should be delivered to which audience segments at specific times. All these operations should be highly automated with the help of Supply Side Platforms.

  • Ad Insertion Technology: Broadcasters need ad insertion technology that allows for the real-time replacement of standard broadcast ads with targeted ads. The solution should seamlessly integrate with the HbbTV infrastructure and the chosen Ad Server, the platform that stores, conditions, tracks, and delivers ads. This way personalized ad delivery will happen without any errors, buffering, or pixelated images. Serverside.ai is highly reliable and compatible with most ad servers as our happy customers from Discovery Italy and Poland can confirm (see video below):


  • Ad Monitoring and Reporting: Broadcasters should then implement monitoring and reporting systems to track the performance and effectiveness of targeted advertising campaigns. This allows for real-time adjustments and optimization. Serverside.ai platform has dashboards to monitor, analyze, and debug the workflows. We provide real-time session overviews and details; our software monitors user agents, stream events, ad-server response time, ad insertion per channel, and more.

  • Compliance with Privacy Regulations: Last but not least, ensuring compliance with data protection and privacy regulations is crucial. Broadcasters should have policies and practices in place to protect viewer data and make sure that privacy regulations are upheld. To do so, they should either manage the consent allocation directly or integrate with a 3rd Party Consent Management Platform (CMP).


HbbTV TA: Outlook & Key Takeaways

a paper book with key takeaways written on one of the pages

So what can broadcasters take from this article about improved monetization to run a successful TV business?

leander carell, co-founder and managing director at nowtilus

“For years, broadcasters and operators have been asking themselves how they could further strengthen their linear TV ad monetization and integrate their highly valuable big screen audience into the digital ad monetization value chains. HbbTV and Targeted Advertising technology for Smart TVs in linear broadcasts offer the exact range of opportunities that broadcasters require to make their linear TV audience fully addressable, while at the same time maintaining the high standards of viewing experience associated with linear TV." Leander Carell, Co-founder and Managing Director at Nowtilus

Some Key Takeaways:

  • Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV or HbbTV is a technology standard that emerged around 2010. It is aimed at harmonizing the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services through connected TVs, set‐top boxes, and multiscreen devices.

  • One of the principal and more interesting applications of the HbbTV technology is HbbTV Targeted Advertising (HbbTV TA) which allows broadcasters to replace their generic standard TV commercials with personalized video ads or to insert new kinds of interactive advertising formats alongside their programs. Both of these types of ads are, for the first time in the history of television, targeted at a household level thanks to the new CTV devices that are connected to the internet.

  • As a consequence, ads are more relevant and are no longer perceived as interruptions by the TV audience. Thereby, HbbTV TA can lead to enhanced viewer engagement preventing them from switching to other channels during ad breaks. This results in better monetization of inventory and increased ad revenue for the broadcaster.

  • To be able to do that broadcasters need either to develop their internal technology infrastructure or rely on technology providers and vendors who specialize in targeted advertising solutions and have the expertise to set them up effectively like Serverside.ai SSAI platform.

  • It is important to note that the successful implementation of HbbTV targeted advertising also involves addressing privacy concerns and complying with data protection regulations to protect viewer data and maintain trust.


Overall, the advantages for broadcasters in implementing HbbTV TA include improved revenue streams, increased engagement, and a more competitive position in the always-evolving television landscape.

Article compiled by Johannes Kallenbach, Nowtilus Principal Product Manager for Addressable TV Keen to learn more? Contact us!

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