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An Interview with Videa’s Archie Gianunzio from NAB New York

November 9th, 2018   ||    by Howard Shimmel

Howard Shimmel is a media industry veteran, with nearly 40 years in the broadcasting industry.

I had the pleasure of meeting Archie Gianunzio, Videa’s vice president of sales and marketing, at NAB NY and interviewed him the day after. I was really impressed by the advancements that Videa has brought to market, both in terms of their use of technology and their use of advanced analytics to improve the buying and selling of local TV.

Here are key excerpts from that interview:

Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you arrived at Videa at this point in your career?

I’ve been in the local TV world for 24 years, including the last four at Videa. For most of my career, I spent time in the TV rep world, and that is where I saw first-had just how manual the process of buying and selling local TV is.

Can you describe some of the early challenges at Videa?

Initially, Videa encountered some challenges because of the prospect of Videa enabling programmatic TV. The market was concerned that some of the components that impacted programmatic for the digital display market might bleed into local television. It was really important to reinforce the core value of Videa, how the use of technology will free up agency buyers’ time for better purposes and eliminate some archaic processes like manually dealing with program changes. This in turn, would dramatically reducing the cost of executing spot TV and increasing its ROI.

What are some of the refined solutions that Videa offers?

Well, there are many incredibly dynamic and purposefully-driven solutions in our platform. Videa has integrated key components of the buying and selling process into one cloud-based platform. We have specifically alleviated much of the manual burden on both sides of the transaction – updating inventory, handling makegoods, and order stewardship, for example – while leaving the heart of the negotiations process up to the buyer and seller.

Another key component of our evolution comes from our R&D team, that works on using advanced analytics to refine and simplify time-consuming parts of the sales process. Their work will help us produce more precise estimates of audience, and pricing, as well as help sellers create proposals that meet and exceed advertisers needs. Scheduling and stewardship are supremely important in spot tv, so we are building towards easing the processes of both.

You mentioned in your opening remarks at TV2020 that you’re feeling optimistic. What’s driving that?

We’re starting to see broadcasters lean into the changes that are happening in the industry, and to understand that to compete in this ever-changing media landscape, we can’t do things the way we’ve always done them; that what got us here, isn’t going to get us there.

Programmatic and automation have been industry buzz-words for at least five or six years now, but for most of that time, that’s all they were. I think now broadcasters are realizing that an easier, more efficient process to buying and selling spot tv is not just an idea, it’s a need. Agencies can’t keep promising lower rates to advertisers, and then placing buys that require armies of buyers to implement, track, and maintain. Decades old processes don’t hold up in a modern world. In addition, the amount of data that can be tracked, mined, and used in automated systems can be remarkably valuable to stations when pricing, and maintaining schedules, and they’re starting to see that as well.

Broadcast has weathered many storms over the past forty or so years, from cable, to VCRs, DVDs, the internet, DVRs, social media, etc., etc., without falling. So, it makes sense that broadcasters have been slow to adopt to automation, since history has shown spot to be resistant to most threats. But what’s happening now in broadcast isn’t just a threat, it’s a reality. And when faced with this reality, I think we’re starting to see broadcasters embrace technology and automation because they’re finally ready to fight back.

What are you excited about in relation to the future of this industry?

There are many things to be excited about, not only at Videa, but in our industry. One of them though, is the role out of ATSC 3.0 and its ability to bring addressability to local TV.

I left my interview with Archie feeling much more optimistic about local TV’s future. The opportunity that addressable offers, along with the right data and technology support, will mean that the local TV business of the future looks nothing like its past, but look more similar to Facebook, Google and other major digital platforms. Very exciting times!


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