Ampersand Launches Solution To Simplify Advanced TV Buying

Ampersand, the sales consortium owned by Comcast, Cox and Charter, wants to simplify advanced TV ad buying by pooling the fragmented inventory across networks and cable operators across the United States.

So it launched the AND platform Thursday, an interface where ad buyers can buy, plan and measure advanced TV inventory across Ampersand’s 85 million households and 120 cable networks. That footprint also includes 55% of US addressable homes.

The AND platform connects with Ampersand’s data platform, which houses set-top box data from 40 million homes that buyers can use to target local and national audiences.

Ampersand CEO Nicolle Pangis said the AND interface, combined with the data platform, gives TV advertisers the ability to do the audience-based planning, buying and measurement that’s typically relegated to digital ad buying.

The AND platform has 80 preloaded audience segments that cross linear, set-top box, video on demand, connected and addressable TV inventory. So an advertiser can now buy the same audience across national, regional and local geographies.

“[Advertisers] need scale across these pieces with the same definition of an audience,” Pangis said.

AND’s cross-channel measurement capabilities include reach, incremental reach for addressable buys, frequency and certain business outcomes. The measurement tool can also ingest data-driven TV buys not executed through Ampersand, giving buyers a holistic view of reach and frequency across their TV spend.

Managed for now, self-serve coming up

Although the AND platform is currently a managed service, Ampersand plans to launch a self-serve platform later this year, as well as an API that can plug into buyers’ existing planning tools. It will also allow buyers to upload their first-party data and create custom segments.

“This is a very interoperable platform in that we can power their interface with our data,” Pangis said.

The AND platform shifts Ampersand from a sales rep firm to a platform connecting the TV marketplace, a path the company has followed since Pangis became CEO in 2018. Ampersand rebranded from NCC Media in September, and Pangis said it is in a unique position because it doesn’t have a stake in the inventory it represents.

“We’re not trying to create the supply market,” Pangis said. “We’re trying to connect it as much as possible.”

But it will take time and training for the buy side to adopt new data and ways of buying TV.

“The biggest difficulty is transitioning a $70 billion marketplace,” Pangis said. “Now is when the work comes to partner with brands and agencies on making this transition.”

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