Home On TV & Video In Search Of Transparency And A Standardized Currency In The Television Industry

In Search Of Transparency And A Standardized Currency In The Television Industry


bradsmithOn TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Brad Smith, senior vice president of revenue and operations at Videa.

Every television media buy seems to have its own fee structure since there is very little consistency in the ecosystem.

Because of this, media buyers have come to accept the various negotiation practices involved in buying linear television, connected television, digital streaming and over-the-top (OTT) video. They also have had to build their knowledge of the fee structures associated with programmatic television as advertiser demands increase.

There are proven benefits of programmatic television buying, including better campaign performance and ROI and a more streamlined workflow for buyers, sellers and agencies. Yet there still remains a lack of transparency in the fee structure. This may hinder its adoption rate and potential for streamlining buying and selling and delivering stronger campaign performance.

The solution: The television industry must maintain open standards and common guidelines for how it shares data. Transparency around the business models in the marketplace are key to ensuring that goals are understood and correctly aligned.

By adopting a standards-based approach, such as those outlined in the Broadcast Linear Television Programmatic TVB guidelines, for example, stations and advertisers will create a more robust ecosystem that spurs growth. A set of voluntary guidelines and best practices will drive consistency and repeatability in systems and processes. It will also preserve and improve the art of selling broadcast linear television advertising and the use of first- and third-party data overlays to better understand audience value. A standards-based approach also establishes rules of engagement between marketplaces so demand and inventory are represented fairly.

In June, the ANA released common guidelines to help advertisers improve transparency and evaluate contributors to media performance. This includes prior performance history and content verification solutions that improve effectiveness. Advertisers should use these types of guidelines because business practices that lack transparency can affect media investment decision-making, including those involving data and technology. Therefore, advertisers’ media planning decisions should be informed by research and data sets that are transparently sourced and understood.

Furthermore, standardized and accredited third-party data for audience targeting across the marketing ecosystem increases the development of programmatic television because buyers and sellers having a common language. It also promotes a sense of openness and transparency – two crucial factors in digital ad buying today.

Another example of how the television industry can spur adoption of programmatic television buying is by developing a standardized, universal data set that can match proprietary data against third-party data. For years, the data that Nielsen gathered from the 210 demographic marketing areas via “diaries” or television meters was the only TV ratings data available. No one else had anything like it. Any holes in the data were ignored, and the Nielsen rating became the currency of media buying; however, that is no longer the case today.

Over the years, data parameters have evolved and expanded due to comScore, Kantar and other organizations, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages when compared to Nielsen’s rating system. This emergence of data gives buyers across all media broader and more layered and in-depth information on their audiences.


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In today’s constantly evolving digital ecosystem, there is so much data for television ratings that advertisers don’t need to only choose one or the other. Developing a universal data set could benefit the ecosystem as a whole, while unlocking opportunities to engage with customers like never before.

Programmatic ad sales are helping to make the future of TV a bright one, but all of the respective parties involved need to help champion this movement together and work through the hurdles that impede it from reaching its full potential.

Follow Videa (@VideaLLC) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter. 

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