In Defense Of Swapping: TV Programmatic Inventory

One of the impediments to the acceptance of TV programmatic platforms by the ensconced TV buying community is the concern over whether there will ever be sufficient “quality” inventory -- a.k.a. broadcast and cable network programs in traditionally valued dayparts -- available for the wonders of a transparency-automated, workflow-efficiencied, and third- and first-partied, mixologized-data platform that propels the TV planning and purchasing process into the digital epoch.

There’s precedent, with myriad examples of broadcasters and cablers swapping their most valued video inventory with outside sales entities for cash or the promise thereof. From the beginning:

  • TV stations swap time for advertiser-supplied programming.
  • TV stations swap time for TV network-supplied programs, star power, and compensation.
  • TV stations swap time for syndicated program fare: cash, barter, barter + cash.
  • TV stations and TV networks swap time for long form/infomercial program fees.
  • Cable operators swap time with cable networks for programs and local sales inventory.
  • Cable networks swap time with cable operators for monthly subscription fees and the opportunity to glean national ad revenue.
  • TV stations swap time with unwired TV networks to garner incremental revenue.
  • Satellite operators swap time with cable networks for programs and local sales inventory.
  • Cable networks swap time with satcasters for monthly subscription fees and the opportunity to glean national ad revenue.
  • Telcos swap time with cable networks for programs and local sales inventory.
  • Cable networks swap time with telcos for monthly subscription fees and the opportunity to glean national ad revenue.
  • Cable networks swap time with multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) to evolve ad-supported video-on-demand channels and gain incremental inventory.
  • Cable operators, satcasters, telcos, broadcast (local and national) and cable networks swap time with Google TV for the opportunity to glean incremental revenue.
  • Cable operators, satcasters, telcos, broadcast (local and national) and cable networks swap time with Microsoft’s Admira for the opportunity to glean incremental revenue.
  • Cable operators, satcasters, telcos, broadcast (local and national) and cable networks swap time with Simulmedia for the opportunity to glean incremental revenue.

Et tu, TV programmatic? Certainment!

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1 comment about "In Defense Of Swapping: TV Programmatic Inventory".
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 27, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
    One of the things that the proponents of programmatic buying for "premium" TV must recognize is the fact that the sellers do not allow the buyers to pick and choose exactly what programs they will air their ads in. Rather, most networks and cable channels bundle in their most desirable programs with a lot of so so fare and outright disasters so they can unload virtually all of their GRP "inventory. As a result, no matter what the advertiser thinks about program environment, demographics or other forms of targeting as well as the application of so-called "engagement" metrics, many of the announcements that he runs appear in not very desirable programs. To make this work, the sellers must run a hands-on, always adapting operation, giving here, holding fast there, constantly re-packaging and re-negotiating, all in the light of the way things are going in a fluid marketplace. Until it can be demonstrated that programmatic will allow the sellers the same degree of flexibility and enable them to unload 99% of their premium inventory for maximum dollar yield, it's hard to see how they will even consider this approach. Still, were I a TV network or cable channel, I would at least investigate how programmatic works, using marginal rate card GRP inventory or time that suddenly becomes available due to unexpected last minute cancellations that needs to be auctioned off in a matter of days to the highest bidder.