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Shifting Gears: Programmatic TV Buying Is Going Primetime

July 23rd, 2015   ||    by Doug Bonderud

Programmatic TV buying is gaining popularity and moving toward primetime spots, The Make Good reports. Networks and buyers alike have touted the benefits of automated purchasing, especially after the success the model has enjoyed in the digital media realm. The result is that primetime TV programming ad slots are now inventoried on a technology-enabled platform. In fact, a number of top-tier networks have already embraced the trend.

Who’s Selling?

The United States TV advertising market is valued at $70 billion. As a result, many buyers and sellers are hesitant to rock the boat and risk losing coveted primetime spots. As the Wall Street Journal points out, however, in the smaller ($4 billion) TV market of Australia, networks are programmatically buying spots through the country’s largest network, MCN. In the U.S., meanwhile, major networks like NBC have started introducing automated tools to give buyers better access to inventory, another WSJ piece notes.

What’s Happening?

The bulk of automated buying revolves around making better use of viewer data to match inventory with the ideal audience. According to Net News Check, agency buyers are starting to push for programmatic because of the audience information collected during the automation process. In fact, Pivotal Research Group Senior Analyst Brian Wieser believes that going automated could eventually break down the barrier between local and national TV spots as buyers find value in targeted local packages. With 22 percent of marketers planning to increase their programmatic ad budget this year, according to Broadcasting & Cable, the shift toward automated buying should also spur a diversification of inventory. This would allow buyers to access premium programming and traditional dayparts, regardless of whether they choose to purchase ads “traditionally” or through the use of automated tools.

Lessons Learned

So what does all this mean for network executives? It proves there is a lot of room for growth. The rise of programmatic buying tools and third-party platforms speaks to a market that’s preparing to shift gears, and major players are already “trying out” the concept of automated buys at scale in other countries. If executives can get in on the ground floor by selling primetime TV programming spots through data-driven processes, they will have the chance to capture the attention of buyers with better data and improved audience targeting.

Programmatic TV buying hasn’t conquered primetime yet, but it’s coming: Networks ready for the shift have a chance to stand out in the crowd.

For more information on programmatic TV ad buying, explore the Videa site.

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