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Are APIs The Key to Local TV’s Survival?

October 1st, 2019   ||    by Rick Howe

I posted a note on LinkedIn at the TVB Forward Conference recently, and it generated a fair amount of conversation. Here’s what I wrote:

“Local TV is a beloved resource throughout the world. Will it be one of the many fond memories that is slipped into a scrapbook, only to fade over time? Not as long as Videa LLC continues to innovate and find the VALUE in Local TV.”

I wrote that because Videa President Shereta Williams had just done a presentation on the spot television industry’s first open data exchange API’s. Working with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Imagine Communications, she presented a case study on Videa’s proof of concept designed to demonstrate open-source APIs for the TV Interface Practices Initiative (TIP) to accelerate the automation of TV Advertising for the entire industry. You can read more about Videa’s announcement here.

“Automation is the foundation for industry growth,” Williams said.

It is critical for the local television business to offset the impending decline in retrans revenue, as forecasted by Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker of Wolfe Research. The best way to offset that loss is to increase advertising revenue.   And Ryvicker is a fan of the local ad revenue potential for sports better, provided that those ads can be automated.

Here’s why open-source APIs are important to the industry. Many, if not most, advertising technology companies create their own versions of a technology “walled garden,” by telling broadcasters that if they want to sell to the vendor’s advertising partners, they need to use the vendor’s proprietary platform.  Essentially “our way or the highway.”

Videa has taken a different approach. Videa’s open-source APIs are available to ANY broadcast or advertiser, or even Videa’s competition! Videa has published the open-source APIs here, for everybody’s use.

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Imagine Communications have partnered with Videa to create a way for the entire local television broadcast advertising ecosystem to effectively compete with digital advertising and realize the tremendous value in local TV.

In her presentation, Williams pointed out that Videa has more extensive integrations across the TV ecosystem than any other provider and has processed over 20K automated orders across all combinations of station types, rep firms, currencies and agencies.

The bottom line to the combined effort between Videa, Sinclair and Imagine is increasing the value of local TV.

In other TVB Forward news, Greta Van Susteren, conservative American commentator, lawyer (and former television news anchor for CNN, Fox News, and NBC News) and now National Political Analyst for Gray Television told the audience to forget about the current drama in the nation’s capital. “The real winners in the 2020 election will be the ad sales folks from local television stations!”

And Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle announced the new consumer products name for ATSC 3.0: NEXTGENTV, with a new logo designed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) for both service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers.


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