Interview: How TF1 found a tech solution in Mirriad through Orange Fab

11 April 2019 / / By Colette Wright

The ways consumers choose to watch video are constantly evolving, and so are the ways that advertisers choose to reach those audiences. French media company and Orange Fab partner TF1 was searching for a specific type of technology solution when it first engaged with us. Fab provided an answer by introducing TF1 to Mirriad.

Mirriad is a video technology company that delivers in-video advertising by blending brand advertising into popular entertainment content. The company specializes in a form of augmented reality that places products and advertisements in content that has already been filmed. TF1 has the largest European private TV channel and was trying to implement product placement into one of its programs. Ultimately, Mirriad provided just the solution they were looking for.

Orange Fab sat down with Guillaume Esmiol, the Head of Open Innovation and New Business at TF1 Group. He manages TFI’s startup programs (startup accelerators, minority investment funds, and tech events) to identify startup solutions for different business needs, in addition to developing prototypes to test new technologies and to launch new services. Esmiol discussed his experience working with Fab, why Mirriad is a good fit for TF1, and the success achieved through the partnership.

Orange Fab: How did you first connect with Orange Fab?

Guillaume Esmiol: The previous innovation director first connected TF1 with Orange Fab [in US]. The first time I visited them was for a Fab Expedition a few years ago. Later, when I became in charge of innovation for TF1, I signed TF1 as one of Orange Fab’s corporate partners.

OF: What were you initially looking for when you joined the program?

GE: I was expecting that I’d be able to work with Orange and they’d introduce me to all the upcoming innovations looking forward, mainly in the AI, AdTech, AR, and VR technology realm.

OF: Orange Fab introduced TF1 to the startup Mirriad. Why do you think this startup is a good match for your company?

GE: I had the need for a company to make a virtual product placement in a TF1 TV program, but I never found the right technology. We were thinking of trying to create something on our own, but then Orange Fab reached out saying they knew of a startup that could provide a solution. Mirriad makes it possible to add product placement in TV programs that have already been filmed. We connected with Mirriad and asked them to make us a proof of concept to demonstrate what they could do on a TF1 TV program, and how they are able to integrate a product.

OF: What projects has TF1 collaborated with Mirriad on?

GE: We were really impressed with the proof of concept that Mirriad showed us. The results were amazing because the quality of the integrated product was great; we couldn’t see the difference between a real object and the one that Mirriad put in the footage. We signed a commercial partnership with Mirriad in November of last year and launched the first product placement for the car manufacturer SEAT in the TF1 show “Demain Nous Appartient” (“Tomorrow is Ours”), in January 2019. That is one of the biggest TF1 shows in day time with approximately four million daily TV viewers. This new advertising product was awarded the Best Advertisement Innovation in France for 2018.

OF: What have you gained working with Orange Fab?

GE: I love working with Fab, and I gained three main things. The first is that, of course I met some great startups that provide technology that can be of interest to our business needs. Second, Orange Fab has a great network in the Silicon Valley, and thanks to that TF1 has been introduced to some big companies in the US. Lastly, we’ve benefited working with Fab because of all the insights from the Orange Silicon Valley team; we learned a lot about new forms of content, advertising technology, and OTT media platforms for instance. You guys have about 40-50 analysts at our disposal, that understand and have good insights on the tech market. It is important for us to understand what’s going on in the US through the analysts, because this will have an important impact on the French market later.

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