The question always asked about “programmatic TV” -- other than whether it deserves to be called “programmatic” and should instead be called “data-driven” -- revolves around how much TV marketers are actually spending through automation. An AOL survey from earlier this year noted that 13% of advertisers and 7% of brands are currently using programmatic for TV advertising, though no sense of spend was revealed.
Geoff Coco, former head of partnership at Atlas (Facebook), and new director of product management at WideOrbit, acknowledged that the percentage of broadcast and cable media spend going through programmatic channels today is “difficult to estimate,” noting that “to date, we have seen mostly experimental spending, test budgets and the like -- probably less than 1% of overall spend on the medium.”
After partnering with TubeMogul to launch a programmatic marketplace for broadcast TV advertising along with several other supply-side platforms (SSPs), WideOrbit has beefed up its programmatic TV division with three hires.
Joining Coco at WideOrbit are Ian Ferreira, former chief architect of Microsoft AdExchange, who joins WideOrbit has SVP of programmatic TV; and Steve McCartney, former CTO of Visual SNA and SVP of engineering at SpecificMedia, who joins as managing director, Europe and SVP of digital and programmatic.
WideOrbit is not the only company making moves in the programmatic TV space, however. Chatter around programmatic TV has picked up in recent weeks, potentially setting 2015 up as a year in which material change is seen.
Havas Media partnered with a real-time TV ad buying platform in FuturesMedia, GroupM’s Modi partnered with Videology for programmatic TV, Magna Global and Cox formed a programmatic TV marketplace, ESPN announced it would sell “SportsCenter” ads via online auctions, TubeMogul launched its marketplace in conjunction with WideOrbit and others and several tech companies have hired execs to roles focused on programmatic TV -- all in the month of December.
“We predict that 2015 will see core media budgets moving to programmatic methods,” said Coco. “Using the growth of digital programmatic as a predictor, we anticipate that programmatic methods will follow a familiar adoption S-curve, gaining by 2% or 3% in the first couple years, then accelerating at 5%-10% growth per year approaching a point where a large fraction of broadcast and cable spend [is] going through programmatic; conservatively, 30% of spend in 5-7 years.”
Coco’s estimate is in line with an estimate that research firm Strategy Analytics shared in May 2014, which was that programmatic would account for 20% of TV ad spend by 2018.
So while it’s true that programmatic TV is currently more talk than action, that’s projected to change in the coming years. And the fact so many are circling the waters -- including major buy-side players such as GroupM, Havas and IPG’s Magna Global -- certainly sets the stage and makes programmatic TV a space to watch.
"Television" image via Shutterstock.