The Next Big Step Towards Local TV Programmatic

There is a lot of talk about programmatic moving into television but there are few experts in the industry when it comes to programmatic specifically in local TV. Magna’s Janice Finkel-Greene is one of those experts. She knows local broadcast and her collaboration with Wide Orbit in the area of local broadcast programmatic has led to a transformative new initiative called “Wide Orbit Central” which has been announced this week. 

I sat down with Finkel-Greene who filled me in on the details in this video.

She explains, “What we are trying to address with this new application is to improve the local buying process as we introduce elements of programmatic buying to it… It puts the buying process into an automated framework.”

Currently, buying local broadcast is time consuming. It is bought by individual market and tends to concentrate in low value inventory. There is also the issue of local television measurement which is challenged by low sample, large relative error and therefore performance bounce. This new application, available to all agencies and broadcast stations and affiliates, is considered “programmatic in spirit” in that it is console to console with near real time buying and reporting. It is connected directly to a traffic system (Wide Orbit) as opposed to connected to a source of inventory like other local sellers in the space. Finkel-Greene describes the application as “local TV programmatic on a national scale offering the ability to buy all broadcast across the US.” While it does not include cable at this time, there are plans to expand into cable as a next step. 

The stations decide which inventory they want to sell by DMA. Finkel-Greene says that the system is transparent in that it surfaces “markets, stations, times and dayparts. Currently, programmatic TV is a dark pool arena for local TV – there is not a lot of disclosure.” What Wide Orbit Central offers is a data driven solution, according to Finkel-Greene who notes, “We overlay qualitative data and if a station offer meets our criteria, we can buy it. It is data driven, not whimsical.”

Finkel-Greene concludes, “The transparency and speed of the Wide Orbit Central platform creates the feedback loop we need for continuous optimization.  It makes insights actionable by providing the opportunity to place buys nationally while targeting to the local market specifics.  It’s the best of both worlds.”


The Fine, Frenetic Advertising Week That Was

Advertising Week was a fine, frenetic mixture of industry announcements, brilliant initiatives, measurement advancements and sales directions this year. There was talk of Big Data, Programmatic, Content Identification, Cross Platform and even NeuroScience. The industry is changing so quickly that even those of us with years in the industry can still come away with some “aha” moments. Here are three of them for me: 

Fraud Negatively Impacts Programmatic
Programmatic was one of the hot industry topics in and beyond Advertising Week. But there is an aspect of Programmatic that I was unaware of and appears to be of serious concern - Fraud. We talk about fraudulent clicks but there is so much more to the fraud problem in digital, especially as it impacts Big Data. 

Data is collected and rarely revised for errors. This is especially true for shopper data where purchasing from stolen credit cards is included, creating erroneous patterns that can impact the efficacy of Programmatic. Michael Tiffany of White Ops explained, “Segmentation targeting is based on the trust of cookie data. You can't unwind the attribution model for stolen credit card purchases.”
There is also the issue of bots that troll sites. Tiffany said, “There is fraud in private marketplaces. Right now publishers are losing big because of bots.” “That is why we are moving away from an open exchange” said Joe Kowan of GroupM, “We apply programmatic to trusted publishers with whom we have a relationship.” 

Can this situation impact the growth and expansion of Programmatic?

Time to Debunk the Digital Myths
As television will inevitably evolve into the digital sphere because of connected TVs, we need to separate myths from realities. Neustar’s Lisa Joy Rosner debunked the 5 myths of digital marketing in her presentation from privacy concerns to the death of brick and morter. Here they are:

Myth 1- Big Brother is watching. But Rosner suggested that with the right approach, it is possible to “create delightful experiences that don't have to be creepy.” She explained that “It is all about trust, relevance and personalization.”

Myth 2- Offline is dead. Rosner said that this just is not true – the numbers bear it out. “currently, 96% people watch TV. 91% read magazines. 82% listen to radio. 52% have smartphones. 76% use the internet. Integration across platforms is the key.”

Myth 3- Location matters. Well that Myth is true according to Rosner who explained, “Forty-one percent do local search to do comparison shopping before they go into a store to buy. Four out of 5 local searches end in a purchase and 73% of purchases are in brick and mortar stores.”

Myth 4- Size matters in Big Data. But Rosner said, “Accuracy matters more. It's more important to go for accuracy and quality than go for big. Smart data not big data equals accurate, agile and actionable. It must be embedded in driving the organization forward, not a back room function.”

Myth 5- Mobile is the new black. Not so fast, Rosner cautioned, “Eighty three percent of consumers expect you to know them across channels and devices and 46% purchase more when they receive personalized offers across channels.”

Neuroscience Adds Impact to Content Measurement
Neuroscience research, as advanced by the ARF, is beginning to show important results. According to the ARF’s Gayle Fuguitt, “The opportunity is immense to measure the unmeasured and unlock techniques. We are going from the leading edge to the bleeding edge.” Horst Stipp added, “Our members asked questions about neuro and we are translating neuroscience into best practices.”
There are several methods including physical response, eye tracking, skin conductor response, EKG, EEG, Fmri and facial coding.  There were two major studies presented with the later study confirming the theoretical results from the first one. “The data pointed to using methods as a way to help you improve ad performance and sell more”, Stipp explained.  Creative testing and the revisions that were recommended based on the neuroscience results improved audience response in the final version. Mike Donahue from the 4As agreed that the ARF was “On to something very, very big.”

The industry itself is expanding and enriching the way it is doing business. Advertising Week offered a way to see some of these newest and greatest.


Lesson From Advertising Week – It’s The Data

When I think of autumn, I can't help but think of advertising week which is a jam packed series of overlapping events highlighting how our industry is innovating, evolving and transforming. At the end of it I always marvel at how much I have seen ... and how much I have missed because of time. But the one thing I have not missed (because it is ubiquitous) is the recent exaltation of data and analytics in our industry. I am thrilled by the recognition of the value of research as a strategic revenue driver.

So here are my research takeaways from Advertising Week and the OMMAs:

It's Not Big Data. It's Smart Data
Data by itself tells you nothing. It has to be put into context with all of the different datasets' inter and intra relationships. Too much data for data sake is problematic as David Tucker of UM noted "We have the capacity to know more about people today but it’s like boiling the ocean and data makes the ocean deeper. People don't say what they think and don't do what they say. We need more careful insights." But not having enough data is problematic as well as Claudia Perlich of Dstillery said, "Do you have enough data to go into the details?" So finding that optimum amount of quality, meaningful data will be the Holy Grail going forward.

Use Data to Look Ahead, Not Back
The use of data to forecast has never been more promising. Anush Prabhu of Deutsch explained, “Back 10 to 15 years ago we analyzed effect. Over the years, it has become how it will affect. We are looking forward with more data. We are looking at what is going on culturally. We can do and create things.” Traditional methods have been based on past performance - how a program rated in the past, for example, used to project future ratings. But now with machine learning, AI and expert algorithms, we may be able to better ascertain content attributes and target segmentations in such a way that even without prior actual performance, we can forecast the chances of its success.

Identify, Measure and Monetize –
The mantra, “If you can’t identify it, you can’t measure it. If you can’t measure it, you can’t monetize it” has been gaining in volume over the past year. Initiatives that have been calling for industry standards are gaining traction. For example, CIMM’s Trackable Asset Cross-Platform Identification (TAXI) was developed to cover the entire content identification spectrum - programming and advertising – as a way to verify exposure to assets as they travel across platform. CIMM’s Jane Clarke explained, “The way it is now, everyone has their own proprietary tag and code. There isn't an open and inter-operable standard. And so we just kept saying to ourselves, as with the UPC code, couldn't there be a UPC code for media? CIMM has been collaborating with Ad-ID and the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) along with the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to bring UPC code-like benefits to tracking assets through the media ecosystem. This will drive innovation not only for cross-platform measurement, but also for other automated innovation in digital TV.” The IAB’s Randal Rothenberg offered his view, “There is no universal coding system across platforms but we are closer to embedding Ad-ID in digital which will enhance measurement and inter-operability. This will be a major panacea to digital marketing community.” Nancy Hill from the 4As added, “Ad-IDs will not be a replacement for the ISCI code. The faster we get Ad-IDs implemented across the chain, the more relieved we will be. We are structuring norms and behaviors that allow us to do business and not contain innovation and creativity. We need to be able to grow profitable businesses over time.”

No One – In Digital or Traditional- Is Happy With Current Measurement Analytics
There are many executives from across the spectrum who are frustrated with the rate of change and implementation of audience based standard measurements. While there is “pressure for more measurable media” according to Anush Prabhu, "Analytics have a long way to catch up to what we are doing in digital" added Kevin Rettig from Accenture. MediaVest’s David Shiffman believed, “Everyone is creating their own solution for their own platform for their own needs. It doesn't serve the whole.” But there is hope, Shiffman added, “(comScore’s) Project Blueprint brings together various data streams. They have a convergence panel to understand how data comes together. They take a consumer oriented view - not channel by channel – and it has the potential to shift the conversation. There is excitement and hope around that initiative.”

The Future Belongs to the Nerds
The future looks bright for those of us who understand and work with data. Mediapost’s Steven Smith noted that “Trend lines have been more to analytics” while David Tucker said that “Opportunities have always been there. They are not new. What data allows us to do is find those moments more frequently. Data is unlocking and making solutions more visible for us.” Even conversations with clients have changed according to GroupM’s Harvey Goldhersz as they realize that "Everyone we made fun of in college will be our bosses." Oh do I hear music?