Finecast targets a revolution in TV ads

London’s Red Lion Square is a place often associated with political revolution. But a few steps away from Conway Hall, home of meetings for radicals and disruptors since the 1920s, is the gleaming modernist UK HQ of global advertising giant GroupM. There, a very different kind of revolution is being conceived.

In September, GroupM officially launched Finecast, an addressable TV service that offers British broadcasters and other UK-based content platforms the ability to provide targeted advertising via a single access point and using a common data currency.

Peter Bazalgette's TV diary

Peter Bazalgette at the RTS's 90th birthday party (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Up early to listen to radio news in the shower before I turn on for my daily dose of Good Morning Britain. Pay debates rumble on in the media kasbah.

The day after Carrie Gracie resigned as the BBC’s China editor, here she is presenting Radio 4’s Today, but barred from curating the news story about herself. A magnificent confusion worthy of Evelyn Waugh or David Lodge at their best.

The item itself is less than helpful, since the programme’s guest doesn’t seem to know the difference between equal pay and the gender pay gap.

Event report: Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

Many broadcasters are convinced that targeted advertising is a silver bullet. They claim it will help level the playing field with Google and Facebook and so future-proof their businesses.

But at a packed RTS early-evening event, 'Is targeted advertising the future of TV?', it became clear that the debate over smart advertising’s role in commercial TV is more nuanced than that. It is conceivable that internet-­delivered, personalised ads aimed at individuals will one day be as commonplace as driverless vehicles are expected to be.

Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

That was one of the main conclusions from an RTS early evening event, Is targeted advertising the future of TV?

A capacity crowd heard how the arrival of streaming services headed by Netflix and Amazon Prime plus the challenge from Facebook and Google are changing the dynamics of TV advertising. 

Catch-up TV and the traditional broadcasters' own on-demand offerings are also driving change.  

All this is posing problems for audience measurement, the bedrock of TV advertising for more than half a century.

Stunt man to perform 100ft free fall live on Channel 4

On Sunday 18 December, Hollywood stuntman Dave Grant will make the 100ft 'Leap of Faith' and free fall at a speed of over 50mph live on Channel 4 to promote the new Assassin's Creed cinema release on 1 January 2017.

The bold jump pays homage to the protagonist's 'Leap of Faith' jump in the film, where Michael Fassbender's character free falls from the top of high structures. 

The ad break has been created to celebrate the film’s director Justin Kurzel's decision for real life stunts to be used in place of CGI wherever possible in the film.

How TV defines the digital era

The Big Bang Theory

Some years ago, when The Guardian hosted a supper at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, there was an unfamiliar face sitting among the executive classes.

It should be said that, over the years, this event has been notable for a number of spectacular rows. And, in the interests of transparency, I have to admit that I was responsible for one of the worst, when I asked Luke Johnson, then Chair of Channel 4, what a “pizza maker” like him knew about television.

Guidance on gambling adverts to be improved

Roulette wheel

New improvements have been introduced by The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) for advertising gambling products on television.


The changes follow a review commissioned in 2014 by the then Secretary of State, Maria Miller, to work out the best way to protect gamblers.


The improvements will form part of a revised version of the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising, which provides a benchmark for the gambling industry.