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The Local TV Daypart in a Changing Technological World

June 7th, 2018   ||    by John R. Osborn   ||    No Comments

Dayparts have served the local TV buying process well for 65 years, and they continue to be a major approach to understanding the value and pricing of ad inventory.

Dayparts are containers in which sellers package program GRPs for buyers to analyze against their targeted demographics. They provide flexible ways to deal with price and value—programs can be added or subtracted to reach a CPP or CPM goal. And yet, daypart strategies are based on past viewing patterns. Today, differing devices, viewing behavior, ad avoidance, content providers, streaming options, time-shifting, and demographic segments (baby boomers vs. millennials, for instance) are varied, fragmented, and take place in the present, not the past.

The time of day a program is viewed is becoming less important than the real-time viewing of the ad itself. This is supported by recent IAB Personal Prime Time research and a comment from IAB’s Senior Vice President Chris Kuist: “Historically, as an industry, we have taken a crowd-level view of when the best time is to reach consumers, but this study shows brands a different path,” suggesting a “truly consumer-level view.”

Today, local TV is looking to automate their workflow tasks through integrated technology platforms, allowing buyers and sellers new levels of focus and precision in evaluating, placing, and modifying daypart programming. When connected to data sources and order-management platforms, buyers and sellers can now evaluate full-schedule forward-reserve station inventory.

While buying and selling by daypart and program mix within dayparts continues to be the primary industry procedure, it’s important for the entire local TV ecosystem to stay on top of advances and opportunities around future “daypart-less” buying methods. Now is the time to gain experience in technologies that can supplement daypart-buying strategies—and here are four areas to keep a close eye on.

Audience Targeting

Addressable local broadcast advertising now seems ready to grow, with the new ATSC 3.0 technology standards launching in 2018. Stations and buyers can continue to keep pace with advertisers who seek “consumer-level” addressability through digital and the 56 percent of TVs that are IP-connected to OTT and streaming services. A MediaPost commentary by Videa’s Brad Adamczyk cited a recent Forrester study suggesting that the promise of addressable local TV may be just around the corner.

National networks are not sitting still, with NBC, Viacom, Discovery, Fox, Turner, and others “pushing for new kinds of data-driven business guarantees,” according to MediaPost.

Automated Guaranteed + Programmatic

Because automated platforms like Videa can connect with demand-side platforms such as Adobe (TubeMogul), Videology, and The Trade Desk, the pipes are being laid for future programmatic TV (PTV) buying. But this doesn’t mean all of a station’s inventory will be auctioned off through real-time bidding (RTB). Content providers and brand advertisers are not about mass eyeballs at lowest CPMs and so are steering clear of open-auction RTB selling—an informative IAB piece on programmatic and automation defines the differences. For now, the approach for PTV is automated guaranteed.

Direct Sales

Direct deals remain a mainstay, as advertisers still seek custom packages of programming, including sponsorships, specific live-event/sports programming, and “cherry-picked” programs to complement national buys. The execution of these deals can be done, with or without station sales help, through automated guaranteed buying platforms.

In-flight or Real-time Adjustments

Audience data is available faster than ever in these days of big data, so in-flight changes and upgrades can ensure spots are delivered within the important time period planned.

Dayparting has certainly earned its tenure as a go-to TV industry strategy—but, as with so much of the industry at large, it too stands to gain substantially from the increasing pace of technological change.

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