Samsung is to expand its television advert business to Europe, placing ads on the menu screens of its Smart televisions currently on sale, and on those already installed in customers' homes via software updates. The adverts, which began appearing on Samsung TVs sold in the US in 2015, are being used to help boost revenues earned from the declining TV industry.
Despite being regarded as making some of the best televisions around, and holding around 20% of the global market, Samsung can't overturn the dwindling fortunes of an industry that shrank 20.9% in the first quarter of 2016 and 6.3% year-over-year.
Worse still for Samsung, its margins on TV sales are very thin, at between 3% and 5% over recent years, according to analyst estimates, and competition from low-priced Chinese alternatives is also a growing threat.
People "familiar with the matter" told The Wall Street Journal how the adverts will start appearing on Samsung televisions sold in Europe "in coming months". They added that Samsung is working to expand its pool of advertising clients by using agencies and an ad-sales team in New York.
New televisions sold in Europe will have the ability to play adverts pre-installed, while TVs already sold and in the homes of consumers will receive a software updated over the internet to enable the ads. Adverts are expected to appear, as they do in the US, in a new tile on the main menu bar of Samsung's premium Smart TVs.
By selling an estimated 50 million TVs each year, Samsung has the power to push these adverts in front of a lot of people all over the world, which advertisers and agencies will no doubt find attractive. Samsung is not alone here, as both LG and Panasonic have both experimented with adverts on their TV sets in recent years.
Thankfully, it is often possible to disable the adverts by digging deep into the settings menu and rejecting certain privacy policies, then disabling a feature called SyncPlus, but this countermeasure is likely beyond the reach of some consumers, who will simply have to put up with the new ads.