VideoAmp Aims To Take The Pain Out Of Cross-Screen TV Planning

planningTV buyers are used to transacting on GRPs and Nielsen ratings, while digital buyers purchase targeted impressions. That has complicated the way advertisers plan, buy and measure their emerging cross-screen campaigns.

Several companies have built tools to address the problem, but many have sold brand-direct or by way of the trading desk.

RTL Group–backed VideoAmp is pitching its new self-serve TV-planning platform, ATV Ignite, straight to the holding company.

ATV Ignite, which debuted Thursday at CES, is VideoAmp’s attempt to take on the traditional TV-planning model, which typically required a lot of manual labor and lengthy post-campaign analysis.

Instead, VideoAmp’s approach is: ingest advertisers’ linear avails and upfront rate cards in the same system they use to carve out digital and OTT audiences, then allow them to properly frequency-cap across it all.

“We realized that most TV inventory will need to be bought in different ways,” said Jay Prasad, chief business officer for VideoAmp. “An advertiser may have an upfront commitment, they may want to buy in the spot market or through programmatic channels, but we wanted to create a planning capability that allows any buyer to get much more granular against TV than the historical methods allowed.”

While the majority of the $70 billion spent on TV ads each year goes toward upfront commitments, a good chunk of premium video gets transacted through “fluidity budgets,” which includes a mix of OTT, digital and video on demand. 

“If you have 25% of your upfront spend going to different screens, right now, it’s all being managed in a silo, especially if some of the OTT is handed to the digital people,” Prasad said. “Planners aren’t sure where there was incremental reach or frequency gains, and we think that’s a critical component we’re bringing to the market.”

There is one light at the end of the tunnel: More dynamic ad insertion coming to linear TV and VOD means more addressability and the opportunity to plan TV audiences on an even-more-equal playing field as digital or IP-based impressions.

“What this allows the buy side to do is start looking at their TV plans across linear, digital and OTT and to generate better business results based on their ad spend,” said Chris Wilson, EVP of national television for comScore. “I think it’s a development that will allow the agencies, and ultimately the sell side, to evaluate media in that fashion.”

Buyers want to find the same segments across desktop, mobile and OTT while, ideally, using the same ad server to deliver into all three, said Oleg Korenfeld, EVP of ad tech and platforms for Mediavest Spark.

“If things are more measurable, it changes how you buy,” he said. “We’re looking at the kinds of use cases where we can look across audiences using the same methods to attribute media across all these platforms, including TV.”

How It Works

To create its planning and indexing tool, VideoAmp combined its device graph with comScore’s national television audience measurement tool, TV Essentials.

It also layered in schedule and program data from 212 DMAs through partnerships with TV data and analytics providers, such as SQAD and Gracenote, which was acquired by Nielsen.

Early data and tech partners include Neustar, LiveRamp, NinthDecimal, Clypd and WideOrbit.

VideoAmp wanted ATV Ignite to go beyond simply showing networks or programs that indexed high with an advertisers’ target audience.

A regional auto advertiser, for instance, might want to onboard and plan against a specific CRM or third-party segment via Acxiom/LiveRamp. Its end goal might be to target consumers of a certain age who visited an auto dealership in a specific DMA in the last three months, which is much more precise than historic reach-based TV-buying tactics.

“You can sort it by on-target eCPM and use historical data to see how much an actual show costs and what’s the total amount of people watching it across screens,” Prasad said. “It’s giving you these micro-optimizations you couldn’t typically do on television.”

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