Cox Turns Up The Dial On TV Automation With Launch Of SSP Videa

VideaVideo supply-side platform consolidation was huge last year – Telstra (Ooyala) grabbed Videoplaza, Facebook bought LiveRail and RTL Group planted a majority stake in SpotXchange.

But in the wake of all the acquisitions, new SSPs also arose. The latest is Videa, a TV SSP backed by broadcaster Cox, unveiled Thursday.

Videa has been in beta since December and will roll out commercially this summer, said company president Shereta Williams. Cox’s Videa division employs 70.

She said buyers can access “a significant number of impressions” – though declined to give an exact figure – from seven initial broadcast launch partners, including Gannett, Raycom, Media General, Graham Media, as well as parent company Cox. Dentsu Aegis’s Amplifi, Starcom and Mediaocean are Videa’s first agency and platform partners.

“We want to make spot television easier to buy and more powerful by enhancing it with data,” Williams explained. “Cox is a long-time broadcaster, we own TV stations and we owned a sales rep firm for many years, so we’re coming at this as a way to bring a new sales channel to broadcasters by connecting buyers’ desktops more directly to their inventory.”

Although Cox Media Group has partnered with several TV SSPs including Clypd and AudienceXpress, Williams said those partnerships were forged by cable multisystem operator Cox Communications’ ad sales unit to monetize longtail cable inventory. 

“We’re on the broadcast side, so the goal is to help broadcasters bring premium video inventory to these sales channels in a way that’s safe for them but that works for both sides long-term,” Williams said. “Over time, we’ll look to do similar connections with other DSPs and players that we’re doing with Mediaocean, because we really want to bring as much new demand to TV as possible.”

Videa is not the only player in pursuit of TV sales automation. Comcast’s FreeWheel is striking a number of demand-side deals to connect buying platforms like Videology and TubeMogul to premium broadcast video inventory from suppliers like A+E Networks and ABC. Television SSP WideOrbit has also secured a number of digital buy-side connections.

Some of the challenges to programmatic TV include the lack of real-time buying, as well as comprehensive cross-platform measurement.

“With linear broadcast, you can’t do one-to-one targeting per se since it’s not the same as advanced TV or addressable, but we can certainly enhance a TV buy and give an advertiser greater assurance that what audience segments they’re reaching when they buy against a give schedule,” said Williams.

Marketers still struggle to get an accurate read on who they’re reaching across platforms partly because of device fragmentation and mostly because digital transacts on impressions while TV transacts on ratings.

“They want to reach people cross-platform, but they don’t want to overexpose them to ads,” Williams said. ”Having that unique identifier cross-platform is important, and still to be determined.”


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