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New Change Management Study from Videa Reveals Opportunity for Automation

July 31st, 2018   ||    by Alan Wolk

People don’t always like change. Whether it’s a new brand of coffee in the cafeteria or a new technology for their workflow, getting people over that initial hump is not always easy, even when they know that ultimately, that change is going to be for the best.

That was the high-level takeaway when I read the results of the recent change management survey that Videa released last month.

The report looks into how players in the local TV ad sales ecosystem feel about the prospect of automation, both from a macro POV (“is this good for the industry?”) and from a more personal one (“is this good for me?”). 

The good, though not unexpected news, is that most respondents felt change was indeed coming and would ultimately be for the best, but saw challenges in the speed of adoption.

Many of the biggest hurdles seemed to come from the way companies in the space approach technology. Or don’t approach it, as the case may be: only 21% of respondents felt that their organizations were “very effectively” using tech solutions to adapt to TV industry changes.

Not that they weren’t trying though: 84% felt that their organizations were enthusiastic about technology’s place in the industry, and 91% said they were personally enthusiastic about the possibilities.

Can Technology Promote Greater Pricing and Inventory Transparency?

One key topic all respondents agreed on was that the ad buying process is inefficient and all too frequently manual. (It’s 2018 and people are still sending faxes!) Media agencies and TV reps are looking for greater transparency on ad delivery, while TV reps and TV stations find ratings research to be overly time-consuming and inconsistent. And everyone felt that the negotiations and makegood processes were way too lengthy.

 Pricing transparency was another area where there was strong across-the-board agreement: 94% of media agencies, 80% of TV reps and 72% of TV stations marked pricing transparency as important, while 68% of media agencies noted that “pricing seems inconsistent and I’m not sure I’m getting the best price.”

Inventory transparency was another matter. While 74% of media agencies felt that having real-time access to inventory would be “very valuable,” only 26% of TV stations felt that not having access was an issue, and only 36% of TV reps felt that they were losing clients because of lengthy inventory selling processes.

While that’s a pretty marked dichotomy, the report revealed even more reason for concern: 82% of media agencies were either very or somewhat concerned that their clients’ dollars were not being invested appropriately.

That’s where the right technology can help.

While close to one-third of each group has tried new tech in the past that’s failed to assist, more than half of each group felt that automation will drive better results for buyers and sellers. Media agencies (no surprise) want software that would let them see a station’s real-time inventory as they feel it would be valuable in reducing the time spent to estimate ratings and negotiate buys, while TV reps and TV stations felt that tools to provide optimized pricing data and ratings research would be “very valuable.”

In other words, both sides are a lot closer than they think.

The Future Is Getting Closer

Change is coming and automation is too. In fact, 72% of the respondents said their organizations’ plans to automate are already in the works.

That’s going to unsettle some people at first. Change always does. But just as people learned to embrace email and smartphones and (for the most part) social media, they’ll learn to embrace automation in local TV ad buying as well. There are too many efficiencies to be gained and too much money to be made from modernizing current systems for the industry to stop moving in that direction.

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