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TV Ad Buyers and Sellers Applaud Videa’s Open-Source APIs Initiative

October 21st, 2019   ||    by Rick Howe

A few weeks ago I wrote about Videa’s partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Imagine Communications, who together are accelerating the automation of TV Advertising for the entire industry. Their proof of concept is designed to demonstrate open-source APIs for the TV Interface Practices Initiative (TIP).

But I didn’t have an opportunity to gauge the industry’s reaction to that project until my time at NAB New York’s TV2020 on October 16.

At the conference, we heard a powerful panel of television advertising buyers and sellers discussing how local broadcast spot television was both extremely valuable, and hard to execute. But they saw light at the end of the tunnel.

The panel consisted of:

  • Frank Comerford, Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations for NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
  • Frank Friedman, VP Consumer Engagement for E. W. Scripps
  • Michele Toller, VP Media, Empower MediaMarketing
  • Lyle Schwartz, Chief Integration Officer, GroupM

Moderator Janet Stilson wrote about the panel in TVNewsCheck: “The decline of national ad spot revenue in recent decades — and relatively flat growth in core advertising categories — could be sharply reversed, growing the local TV business by 5%-10%. That is, if automated platforms are fully built and allow for an easy and fast makegoods process.” [Note one correction in the article – Videa does fully integrate with Mediaocean]

“It would bring more money into the marketplace for people who should be buying locally because they don’t have distribution on a national basis. And it would save us money,” said Frank Comerford, CRO and president of commercial operations at NBCUniversal’s owned TV stations.

Comerford continued, “There is no real connectivity between all the different systems, but it’s getting there. The TIP Initiative makes so much sense. If everyone works toward that, it will really fast start the process. But until the systems speak to each other, we can only do piecemeal parts [of automation].”

The previous panel was a presentation by Videa’s Hesham Starkey, Research and Engineering Director and Archie Gianunzio, VP Sales & Marketing.

“We have a language that buyers and sellers are speaking, and the system can use the rules we give it to remove time-consuming manual processes,” said Archie Gianunzio. “For example, the agency makes the buy, gives us the rules, and the automated system does the rest.”

“It’s about trust,” said Hesham Starkey. “Starting this past May, we have an advisory group call every Wednesday. And a number of vendors show up to work together to do what the industry is asking for. Working together we are quickly clearing away the natural competitive distrust.”

He continued, “And when we publish our specifications for everybody to see and use even our competitors realize there is no hidden agenda here – that we really are trying to advance the industry without taking sole ownership of intellectual property.”

“Once we’re all on the same page,” said Gianunzio, “we can start doing amazing things with automation. We can’t do a lot of them now because interoperability changes need to be made and everyone wants to have a hand on it. But when everyone can see what’s happening at every step along the way, buyers can trust that the right thing is going to happen.”

That’s how change happens. And that’s how we can all maximize the value of local broadcast television.


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