The TV Industry Should Maintain Straightforward KPIs to Preserve Scale

Maria FloresLast week Videoplaza launched their Konnect platform, which is a video SSP aimed at the premium publisher and broadcast market (although just for IP-delivered inventory at this point). Maria Flores is VP of New Business for Videoplaza, and here she discusses the TV industry’s moves into programmatic, the impact automation is likely to have on TV trading, and the state of programmatic video across Europe.  Maria will be giving a presentation titled ‘Everyone Wants Premium..Or Do They?’, at New Video Frontiers in London on October 22nd. 

Where are most broadcasters at when it comes to programmatic trading?

It does depend on the market, but we’ve seen a phenomenal shift over the last months. A year ago, launching a programmatic sales channel was seen as either scary or simply unnecessary, and only contemplated as an opportunity by the most progressive broadcasters. Today, the majority of them are already trading part of their inventory through private marketplaces or at least evaluating it. It’s a bit of a mindset shift, of course, and requires organisational evolution, new tools and data expertise, so programmatic is not going to be mainstream among broadcasters overnight. There are some good success stories out there, though, which is great encouragement and should accelerate adoption.

Why might they need a broadcaster-specific SSP like Konnect?

In fact, Konnect works for all publisher segments, but we are really doubling down to make programmatic work at the most complex level, which is probably the broadcaster world. There are two key components to this mission. First of all, programmatic needs to be easily introduced into their existing workflows. Relying on one vendor to be able to manage and optimise across their direct and programmatic sales is really the only way to achieve the promised efficiencies of programmatic. And secondly, video programmatic is still a complex industry, both from a technology point and a buyer perspective. So we’ve invested very heavily in offering local enterprise-class service as well as enterprise-class software. We make tech work and world hard to optimise our clients’ revenues.

Does the TV industry have a data problem?

It depends on what you mean by data problem, but the answer is likely yes. TV budgets are not really following their audiences to the digital platforms at the right pace, which is surely creating significant waste for both media owners and brands. There are many reasons for this, including internal agency dynamics, but the fact that it’s still hard to track unique users across platforms is definitely an important factor. Nielsen and others are doing some attempts to resolve that through initiatives like XCR, but I feel we are still a long way from cracking this issue. Even when we crack it, there will still be question marks about the best currency definition and whether there should be some nuances around it just for digital platforms – for instance, viewability measurements may still be relevant as a basic hygiene factor, etc.

How will programmatic buying change how TV advertising is traded?

It’s hard to generalise, since  models vary per market, especially if you look at digital assets. In some countries, linear TV is bought through yearly up-fronts with digital being a week on week sale, whereas in others digital inventory acts pretty much as a kickback.

From a very high level, though, you could say that programmatic has the potential to shake up a little bit the balance between up-fronts and spot buys. Having real time information around users and access to larger supply naturally gives buyers the ability to fine tune their campaigns to avoid waste, so budget decisions should become a lot more dynamic. Model-wise, things won’t change dramatically until programmatic arrives to linear, but given that digital audiences are increasingly important to achieve reach targets, we should see some changes earlier than that.

Will data-driven advertising change how brand advertisers approach advertising?  

The concept of “reach” may be adjusted a little. We are already seeing digital video budgets moving from CPM based to GRP/TRP based models through Nielsen OCR or similar, which is the first step. And on paper, there could be appetite to make further use of data and create a “super TRP”, but I am personally skeptical about creating too complex KPIs. It just doesn’t marry well with scale. From my point of view, the revolution needs to happen at a measurement and delivery level: being more effective at measuring delivery against target, ideally in real time, and adjusting the campaigns according to that. That naturally applies to both online and linear.

Which of the European TV markets will be quickest to start selling programmatically?

On the digital side, obviously UK is at the forefront of Europe, followed by France and, perhaps not too intuitively, Spain, where the two main broadcasters embraced programmatic trading with Aunia earlier this year.  But as I said earlier, there has been phenomenal movement in other markets too, so looking forward to what 2015 will bring us.

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