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Automating and Optimizing Local TV Planning

November 19th, 2015 | Read more articles from 2015 or Visit the News Archive
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Originally Appearing at AdAge

By Kellie Grutko, Senior VP-Marketing, Comcast Spotlight

The advent of automated planning and buying tools has been a boon to media professionals, enabling them to take advantage of digital advertising’s pinpoint precision to aggregate audiences easily and effectively. It also helps publishers of niche-appeal content to unlock more value by combining their impressions with those of hundreds of other sites.

Not surprisingly, bringing those benefits to television advertising has been a high priority for advertisers, media planners and buyers, and providers alike. For example, Audience Plus, introduced earlier this year by Comcast Spotlight and NCC Media, uses automation to bundle impressions across groups of TV networks most likely to be watched by specific types of audiences.

Television, of course, has some inherent differences from digital video, chief among them being the ability to attract millions of simultaneous viewers for top networks and programs. That’s why an automated approach can enhance traditional media planning and buying for those who want to reach specific groups in this mass audience. Says Andrew Capone, senior VP-marketing and business development for NCC Media, “Some things are going to be better served by a more automated, data-driven, impression-based way of transacting business.”

Another difference between the TV and digital worlds is the longstanding stewardship systems and workflow processes. Joy Baer, president of STRATA, a leading media buying and selling software provider, noted during Comcast Spotlight’s recent “Take Five for Your Future” webcast that the “automation of inventory today is key to media owners’ success.” As technology has advanced, it is vital to be able to make inventory viewable and sellable in the most efficient way for agencies.

STRATA surveyed advertising agencies that use programmatic buying about the benefits of an automated process. The most-cited response was the ability to reach specific audiences, followed by improved efficiency, improved insights and access to new types of inventory. Providing a glimpse at how important automation is poised to become, STRATA also asked how many political advertising agencies planned to use programmatic buying as part of their 2016 efforts. An overwhelming 85% said they do plan to do so, setting the stage for automation to become mainstream sooner rather than later.

As more TV time is bought programmatically, automated processes must continue to evolve, reaching beyond the national market to deliver regional and even local audiences in multiple markets. When automating, it’s critical to find the right partners that can enable you to expand now and in the future as buyers seek to target increasingly precise audience segments.

As the lines between TV and digital media continue to blur, it’s natural that the way we approach planning and buying media will more closely resemble each other as well. Bringing automation tools to the local TV marketplace is a natural next step in that evolution.

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