Programmatic TV: the Winners and Losers


The introduction of programmatic trading has transformed the face of video, display and mobile advertising. Next up is programmatic TV. VAN asked four leading industry figures from an agency, a broadcaster, an ad tech company and a sales house what they thought the fallout from programmatic TV would be. Participants are Chris Allen, Head of Vision at Havas Media Group, Conor Mullen, Commercial Director at RTÉ Digital, Tim Hussain, Product Strategy Director at Collective and Mark Frain, National Sales Director at MCN (not be confused with the YouTube multichannel networks. MCN is a multichannel sales house that represents 68 Australian broadcasters. The company recently Australia’s first programmatic TV marketplace in association with AOL.

Conor Mullen, Commercial Director, RTÉ Digital

Conor Mullen, RTÉI am already humming ‘Everyone’s a Winner’ by Errol Brown and Hot Chocolate. Channels currently zero rated by Nielsen will – with data infusion – be able to monetise at higher rates. Other channels will be able to price by more complex and individualised formats by content and context; and agencies will be able to buy clients’ target audiences at scale in a uniform manner.

All of the above might sound a little utopian. So where’s the catch? Andrus Ansip, the EU’s digital single market commissioner wants to get rid of geoblocking, so there will be no copyright restrictions on any content. While this could strengthen programmatic advertising’s role as broadcasters seek to monetise across multiple markets, it remains to be seen how will this affect how content is priced and made available.

At the end of the day, programmatic is one of many tools at the disposal of multiple parties, which will suit some, but not all. Those who use it, be they agency, client or broadcaster will have decided why it works for them and that’s where the negotiations will get interesting!

Chris Allen, Head of Vision, Havas Media Group

Chris Allen Jul15Assuming we can evolve an ‘ecosystem’ where TV inventory can be accessed in an automated, audience led manner, and metrics are unified so that advertisers can infer the value of advertising slots based on customer relevance.

Advertisers, particularly ‘response’ clients, will be able to access the inventory that delivers the best return. Brand advertisers will be able to enhance reach and optimise in real time. Through ongoing learning, we can understand which creative delivers best against objectives, and sequential creative can better portray a brand story to the right user. Further scope to use TV syncing technology to trigger creative around key events.

Broadcasters will be able to drive operational efficiency and offer reduced lead times. Crucially, they could better monetise the minority element of ‘undervalued’ inventory on the basis that a better targeted customer is a compelling sell.

I don’t think there any losers. Premium content will remain premium content, while initially on smaller scale channels and content, programmatic TV can generate more value for advertiser and broadcaster alike.

Tim Hussain, Product Strategy Director, Collective

Tim Hussain, Product Strategy Director, CollectiveThere are three major considerations when looking at the evolution of programmatic TV.

The first is that unlike the web, which has global standards and single suppliers across multiple countries, the TV market is completely unique on a country by country basis in terms of both technology and media ownership. This poses a massive challenge in terms of cost and deal time to those companies who desire to integrate and provide a programmatic TV offering.

The second is the government regulation around TV advertising. Unlike the web which has virtually no serious advertising regulation, the TV market in every country in Europe is highly regulated, and each country does it completely differently! The poses some major hurdles to overcome to ensure companies don’t fall foul of the local laws.

And the third, and far the biggest factor, is that TV media sales and content is a very consolidated sector and expensive sector to enter so there is significant leverage the TV companies have in pricing and product offering. For these reasons my money is on the TV companies winning in the TV programmatic space, if they decide they ever need to.

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Mark Frain, National Sales Director, MCN

Mark Frain, Multi Channel NetworkWe believe there is room for everyone to benefit, however the true winners are advertisers. Aside from obvious administrative benefits of automation, Programmatic TV delivers the increased campaign effectiveness through better targeting. The MCN Programmatic TV platform allows advertisers to buy against real consumer segments, rather than the blunt demographics of traditional TV planning. More importantly, our system allows advertisers to chase their audience across our schedule, moving away from fixed spot placement trading to campaigns which are dynamically scheduled.  

Those who have access to programmatic TV will reap the benefits, it means more accountability for all parties, and greater confidence with the results. It’s a huge positive step for the TV sector overall and everyone involved.

Jean-Pierre Fumagalli, CEO, Smartclip

Jean-Pierre-Fumagalli, CEO, SmartclipIt’s important to stress that the European market is completely different to the US, which – in contrast to Europe – is a cable and set-top box driven market. Cable operators also own parts of the TV ad breaks for regional monetisation. We at smartclip are convinced that ultimately a solution that works via the connected TV, the ‘last inch’, and not the cable distributor, the ‘last mile’, will win out in the long term. TVs users now get their content from multiple sources and the cable is just one of many.

In the future, we’ll see a decade-long transition towards digital-delivered advertising that uses census-level viewing reports to know where audiences are. Classic broadcast television, the content owner so to speak, will exploit digital technologies, allowing for programmatic audience segmentation, frequency capping and, where appropriate, one-to-one targeting, with television screens bundled with other multiscreen devices within more unified advertising campaigns.

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