This month we are opening our second US office – in Los Angeles. Our mission is to help US brand owners gain foothold in the lucrative yet highly fragmented European market. But this move is also a critical building block in our own long-term, international development strategy.
When we set up our first US office in New York in March 2018, we did so to open up the complex European marketplace for US brands and offer a premium environment for advertising in an era where brand safety and integrity is in the spotlight more than ever before. Fifteen months on, we’ve learnt a lot, and are ready to take our next step.
Our new LA office – the first of a number of additional offices planned for North America – will allow us to be closer to brands located on the West Coast. More than this, however, it will help us further refine our blueprint for rolling out into other marketplaces.
For any advertiser or agency outside Europe, entering Europe means dealing with 35 countries, 24 languages, increased regulation and a vast and fragmented publisher and broadcaster landscape. And for obvious reasons, this can be daunting. Our aim is to help address this in a number of ways.
First, by leveraging our position as RTL Group’s ‘total video’ sales house to offer unique one-stop solutions for high quality content, providing access to millions of consumers daily through Europe’s leading online video platforms and high reach broadcast channels.
Second, by leveraging our position as part of Bertelsmann to build new partnerships on behalf of advertisers, that help their business beyond the provision of media solutions. For example, in our work with sister divisions – such as publisher Penguin Random House or, in music, BMG, and by providing additional expertise through strategic third-party relationships.
We have been partnering with Tubular, for example, which provides information on social video platforms – such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter – that helps us bring to customers additional insights beyond linear TV. And we have been working with ecommerce companies such as Zalando to deliver additional beyond-media support. At a time of heightened concern about brand safety and ad fraud – currently in the US, 9.5% of video content is placed in an unsafe brand environment (RTL AdConnect: IAS H1 2018 Benchmarks, UK, US, Data refers to Programmatic) – interest in our proposition amongst US advertisers used to operating in a single domestic market that works more or less equally across the country has been significant.
But the challenges US advertisers face in entering Europe are also shared by advertisers based elsewhere. And while upscaling our North American presence is our number one priority for now, we are also committed to extending and upgrading the services we can provide in other regional marketplaces – notably Asia Pacific & China and Latin America. This is why we are a European company that’s fast-becoming a global one.
Our reason for growth is simple: we need to follow our customers and we need to connect with our clients wherever they are. And as our customers become increasingly global, so must we.
Stephane Coruble is Managing Director of RTL AdConnect