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Automated TV Buying Trends: An Interview With Strategist Mitch Oscar

August 15th, 2017   ||    by Charlene Weisler   ||    No Comments

Mitch Oscar has been in the advertising business for over 40 years, having worked at Universal McCann, Carat, and Havas MPG. He is currently the advanced TV strategist at U.S. International Media (USIM).

However, Oscar is perhaps best known for his work forming think tanks—such as the Collaborative Alliance and Secret Society—which have focused on automated TV buying trends like big data, audience-based advertising, programmatic, and advanced TV. “We meet to share ideas. We’re probably one of the last democratic institutions left in the United States,” Oscar deadpans.

“There’s a lot of competition by sector, whether addressable of local programmatic, over-the-top groups, data companies, even mixture companies,” Oscar says. “It’s a crowded playing field.” As a result, agencies are having a tough time.

“When I first started in 1975, there was a 15 percent commission, but now, 3 percent in television is considered rich,” he says. “It’s a complicated time and therefore exciting.” Oscar gives us insight into the following TV advertising trends.

Local TV’s Untapped Strengths

Companies like Videa “are gaining traction locally,” according to Oscar. But there are purchasing considerations. “There could be seven stations in a market with some ready to go programmatically and others still manual. I expect continued roll-out so there will soon be programmatic access to all stations in the market,” he says. Currently, Videa offers and supports full-market buys via a managed services solution.

Yet local TV has an untapped advantage. “Local activity is very well-connected into the community. People have a feeling about their local personalities,” he says. “Local TV hasn’t explored that as much as they should.”

In other words, designated market areas (DMAs) have their own personality. “That’s where I think local has real strength and has to build on it,” Oscar says.

Trust and Communication

As agencies seek to adapt, media companies must reach across the aisle, expanding and deepening communication. “One of the important aspects—and I think this is a cultural divide—is building trust relationships,” Oscar says. “Agencies have to be involved in the dialogue, and sales folks have to build and deliver.”

Technology can be complicated, so it’s incumbent upon salespeople to “really do their homework in the presentation and in the write-up,” in addition to providing “supportive collateral” that can be presented to clients.

Workflow Management

One of the biggest automated TV buying trends involves workflow, according to MediaPost. If an agency buys a specific program and that program under-delivers, the network makes good in “like quality” shows. But with advanced TV, the same program is now available on other platforms and services.

“Right now, ABC technically can give us Modern Family from their Hulu inventory or from ad-supported VOD [video-on-demand] or TV everywhere,” he says. “Each has a different value to the agency and network, but they have a choice in what they want to give us for audience deficiency.”

“We can do all these wonderful things. I need a system that helps me in yield management, better targeting, trafficking, and seeing cause and effect. The backbone is workflow, and we need better workflow systems,” Oscar says.

Greater Convergence

“More than ever, there seems to be a convergence of what advanced television means,” Oscar explains. Agencies are looking at addressable TV, programmatic TV, contextual audience networks (portfolio selling of major media companies), ad-supported VOD, TV everywhere, and how platforms are working with other media and within their own company.

“Also, we’re looking beyond age and gender to behavioral characteristics,” Oscar says. “Last count, self-reported, there are about 68 different data sources used in the television realm. So we think things are starting to converge more, and people are trying to understand what that means.” There’s plenty to look forward to—as well as challenges ahead.

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