Meredith Local Centralizes Programmatic Video Sales

CaleyLewisMeredith Local Media Group, the division of Meredith Corp. that oversees 17 local broadcast TV stations and 13 local news sites, is making programmatic more of an imperative in its nationwide operations.

Within the last year, Meredith Local centralized programmatic in-house, said Caley Lewis, director of programmatic partnerships for Meredith Local, using SpotX’s ad server and SSP to find new pockets of inventory and improve yield.

Before, its local news sites monetized remnant inventory via Frankly’s content management system and an external sales force. But as video becomes a bigger growth area, Meredith Local now wields more influence over its sales efforts.

“At the local level, we’re cumulatively producing around 650 hours of video each month now of on-air content and it generates around 8,000 video clips a month,” Lewis said. “Our local stations have become well equipped to efficiently and effectively execute that amount, which is great for my side of things because I’m allowed to monetize it.”

Meredith Local now generates 12 million video views on average per month across news sites like Fox 5 Las Vegas and 3TV in Phoenix.

While 4.8 million views are available for direct and/or programmatic sales, Meredith Local wants to open up the remaining 7.2 million for programmatic monetization.

“The first step is expanding programmatic into our apps,” Lewis said. “Our biggest challenge right now really is the over-the-top aspect because we are in a unique position with local content. The way people consume our content is maybe not as widely scaled as other target audiences, so we have to be careful about how we position our content and expand.” 

One of Meredith Local’s main video strategies is creating more short-form videos that work for social platforms.

Meredith sees these snackable clips as an opportunity to pull audiences further into its video content, where it may serve a 30-second pre-roll against targeted content.

When the company first brought its programmatic inventory in house, it needed to set floors and figure out how to optimize its breadth of inventory.

Thus, monetizing via the open exchange was important initially just to get its name out there and to give the advertisers a feel for its flavor of inventory.

As Meredith Local’s in-house initiative progressed and it gathered data to prove out engagement rates and conversion levels, more advertisers have requested PMP deals, which helps drive premium rates. Meredith Local uses SpotX to set up its PMPs.

SpotX’s curated marketplaces let advertisers buy audiences across multiple pubs based on common categories/attributes (“politics”) or parameters (“viewability”), said Ben Abbatiello, VP of strategic accounts for SpotX.

Using SpotX, Meredith Local has improved its targeting, Lewis added, “which means we’re more equipped to accommodate advertisers’ KPIs and that’s generated a great engagement rate on our pre-roll.”

In late April, Meredith Local Media Group reported digital advertising was up 15% in the third quarter of FY 2016 due to its digital growth strategies. Total revenue also grew 15% to $141 million.

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