Transformation Insights

Reading time : 4 minutes

Talking Co-Seller with Franck Litewka

Many of us are familiar with the international agent model, earning commission.

Do you also know what the co-seller model is all about and for which business this set-up applies?

We spoke to Franck Litewka, Senior Director Strategy & M&A, about the idea behind it, the roadmap, and the impact for everyone involved.

Franck, we all are familiar with the international agent model, earning commission.

Why was there a need for change? And for which business is this offer?

Franck: First, the agent model will not disappear in 2024 – especially not for TV & print – but will continue to be available for a part of our digital business.

For tax & legal reasons, we have to transform the way we work with RTL companies (Ad Alliance Germany, Ad Alliance NL, M6…), that is why we start our first switch off with the AdAlliance Germany by January 2024.

At RTL AdAlliance, digital campaigns for AdAlliance Germany have already been set-up via our ad server (smartx). Thanks to this, we can operate our own deal ID (programmatic deals). The co-selling switch is only a natural improvement to adapt to the digital market needs – also allowing to invoice & collect money , which our agent status does not allow us today.

smartclip implemented the co-seller model nationally with its 3rd party publishers’ network long time before the merger, and it has worked well ever since.

How will co-selling help us on a day-to-day basis?

Franck: Our main motivation to switch to co-selling is to have a better governance of our direct digital business. This co-selling activity will allow us to bundle our inventories (e.g. 6play + RTL AdAlliance’s third party inventory in France) and create one single deal or IO (Insertion Order) for buyers (agencies & brands).

This is not only simplifying the buying process for our clients, it will also allow us to improve our negotiation power with clients due to a better control of the price.

Cherry on the top: it will also allow us to create our digital deals faster with a better tracking of our campaigns (e.g. live performances). Today, with the existing agent model, this is not possible. You are stuck with the price, campaign performances or inventory packages the partner/publisher provides.

What impact does it have on different stakeholders?

Franck: For sales, this shift will not directly affect their daily business. They will brief the AdOps as they are used to.

Effects will be seen more in the offering and negotiation phase: If we act as a co-seller for our media partners, we can offer the media partners inventories to the clients in one single RTL AdAlliance campaign and invoice.

The agent model does not enable us to take over the campaign operation and the client continues to receive multiple invoices coming from each media partner (publisher).

The new set-up will also be more agile & responsive if a client wants a better discount as we will not have to check  with our partners each time. 

Of course, advantages come alongside with responsibility, sales will also have to pay more attention to the negotiation, as each discount will come from our own margin. However, to keep things as simple as possible for the sales teams, we will provide clear central guidelines in form of rate cards and discount guides which define the room for negotiation and guarantee profitability.

It is a new mindset.

For the time being, both models will co-exist as the switch to co-seller requires change of contracts and the integration of inventory on our smartx ad server.

Why is the co-selling model an improvement also regarding future activities?

Franck: As an example, all international co-selling direct campaigns sold on an IO (Insertion Order) will be issued by our Digital Ad Operation team and invoiced centrally by our Finance team.

Sales will be able to sell multi-market campaigns and send only one IO & one invoice (only possible for RTL AdAlliance’s third party inventory now, by January 2024 also for AdAlliance Germany).

For the future, new technical & financial integration with smartclip technology will enable additional improvements – like agency deals, new products, new targeting options…

Regarding the product set-up, our product team is already working on new advanced digital products, either with better targeting options or better packages of inventory.

And which partner are you integrating next?

Franck: Our roadmap is quite clear, we start with RTL companies first, and among them, AdAlliance Germany is priority number 1. We hope to be fully up & running by beginning of January 2024. Next steps: M6 and RTL Netherlands in 2024.

As the co-seller model is the best business model to leverage international digital growth and compete on eye level with the GAFAN, following their market practice.

We will also start to investigate with our other non-group partners, but no roadmap has been defined yet, but we are working on it.