Digitalisation of Broadcast TV Advertising: smartclip Announces the Programmatic Linear TV Ad Break Replacement

Hamburg, 04 April 2023: smartclip, the adtech development unit of RTL Group, has announced the launch of the programmatic linear TV ad break replacement — the technical implementation of programmatic buying for TV spots within the linear TV ad break. The brand-new feature can replace the full ad break or single spots via Addressable TV, based on the European-wide HbbTV standard. The programmatic ad break replacement enables advertisers to target TV audiences with dedicated TV spots on a household level. This innovation represents another step taken by smartclip to empower European broadcasters to fully leverage TV viewing data for targeted advertising solutions across TV and digital video.

Through programmatic ad break booking, individual spots can be placed into any position within the linear ad break digitally — expanding TV advertising with versatile targeting options to deliver individual messages to different audiences in a brand-safe environment. Supported ad formats include the digital replacement of one or multiple spots within an ad break or single spot placements as well as the delivery of a pre-roll-like format into the linear TV programme.

“The programmatic replacement of the linear TV ad break is the next big opportunity in TV advertising, and will transform how linear TV ads are bought and sold”, said Thomas Servatius, CEO at smartclip. “TV advertising has adapted to digitisation and increasing competition for viewers’ attention across devices and platforms. While we have made significant progress in Connected TV advertising and Addressable TV solutions with regards to special placements within broadcast TV, the traditional ad break was largely untouched. Digitising this last frontier of TV advertising, while broadcasters retain control over their ad inventory and usage data, opens up new opportunities to monetise the most consumed video medium in Europe.”

The programmatic linear TV ad break replacement is designed to meet the evolving needs of broadcasters and create new opportunities for advertisers. The solution enables advertisers to digitally substitute spots and place targeted ads within a linear TV ad break via programmatic, automated buying processes through Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs).

The technical framework is based on smartx — smartclip’s holistic full-stack ad serving and SSP solution — and follows IAB guidelines to provide open access standards for DSPs. The first ad deliveries have been successfully carried out via an exclusive partnership with d-force and Active Agent in the German market. Programmatic linear TV ad break replacement is planned to be rolled out to other European markets later in the year.


smartclip is the adtech development unit of RTL Group — Europe’s leading free-to-air broadcaster group. Our proprietary advertising technology is custom-built for the needs of European broadcasters and publishers — enabling media owners to implement smarter monetisation strategies. We are committed to delivering the most innovative video ad experiences spanning in-stream, out-stream, connected TV, addressable TV, and gaming — ultimately empowering brands with true cross-screen storytelling opportunities on all devices. The media sales division of smartclip will merge with RTL AdConnect and G+J i|MS to form RTL AdAlliance, an international advertising and technology sales champion. Once the merger is complete, smartclip will focus strictly on technology development.

Headquartered in Hamburg, smartclip has offices in Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Gütersloh, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Milan, and Rome. 

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