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The Puzzle of Automated TV: Where Does Data Fit In?

February 21st, 2017   ||    by Melanie Brown   ||    No Comments

In a recent article from MediaPost, The Exchange Lab’s Tim Webster was interviewed and asked to expound on programmatic TV and its potential in the coming years. Webster holds that automated TV buying is slow to gain traction because of the lack of data available for linear television.

Automated TV Is Just Growing

“National TV stations … still have a way to go to be able to advertise programmatically,” Webster said. “There isn’t enough data available yet to gain the type of efficiencies seen in programmatic through other channels.”

The thing to note here is that the “other channels” Webster cites are over-the-top (OTT) and video on demand (VOD) from cable providers and Internet-based streaming-video services. What makes the data for these digital sources so much richer is the fact that users of these services are actively sending information back to the service providers, oftentimes through individualized profiles and screens.

The difference when it then comes to linear TV is that a set-top box’s viewing data can belong to any one of a number of people in the household, meaning the data is less specific than that of a web-based viewing platform.

But It’s Growing Quickly

Regardless of the kinds of granular data that have yet to become available for linear television, automated TV buying is slated to only increase in popularity among media buyers in 2017. In a 2016 recap piece in The Drum, Videa President Shereta Williams broke down the forecasting numbers for the year ahead. Programmatic TV platforms are slated to see a huge increase in dollar spend in 2017, up nearly 128 percent to $710 million; and throughout the industry, local broadcast networks as well as media buying teams are jumping onboard.

Currently, over 200 local stations have signed on to work with Videa’s Q3 2016 release of its Supply Side Platform. On the demand side, Carat, one of the industry’s largest agencies, recently embarked on a private exchange venture with Videa to automate TV buys on local broadcast networks in Florida. Already, Carat is excited about the programmatic possibilities, as are many other agency partners.

The fact is that data is just a small piece of the programmatic puzzle. Automated TV buying is beneficial to buyers looking to streamline processes for more efficient workflow, effectively target local audiences at scale, and reduce overall campaign overhead. The ability to target more narrow sub-audiences is an added value that will continue to mature and expand in the years ahead.

As Videa’s Senior Vice President of Revenue and Operations, Brad Smith, explains, “At their most basic level, automated ad platforms allow for a more efficient buying and selling process. But as they evolve in the television space, platforms will become even more crucial in two distinct ways. They’ll allow agencies to make decisions based on a much richer variety of consumer data, and these processes will also help the industry eliminate underhanded business deals and become more transparent.”

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