Programmatic TV: Planning And Buying Tie The Knot

Planning and buying are tying the knot. And we can thank programmatic TV for being the matchmaker. Programmatic brings value to the TV ecosystem by using data to find audiences in TV inventory that were previously unknown. Programmatic TV technology allows TV to be planned, optimized and measured in near real-time using the audience data for advanced targeting. The tech brings the same agility and measurability to TV that already exists in digital. In doing so, programmatic TV also fundamentally marries traditional TV planning and buying. This marriage ultimately yields better business outcomes from TV advertising and increases its value.

Planning and buying in TV have traditionally been two separate functions, largely due to the long-term planned nature of TV. Planners look out over the long-term horizon and bridge the marketing strategy with all the research information available to make key decisions on media channels, media mix, flighting, and the like. Buyers execute the media plan as best they can based on the marketing budget, changing prices in the market and shifts in viewership.



Planners and buyers in TV have a unique and challenging job because TV is a supply constrained market. The planning team must make choices today about events three or four quarters into the future so that the buying team can secure the inventory and prevent any surprises down the road. But making decisions today about where audiences can be found several months into the future is a tall order. It places very high expectations on both planners and buyers to predict and deliver the targeted audience with accuracy. And the goals of the planning team and buying team can become misaligned.

Programmatic TV and its associated technology bring together the planning and buying function to deliver the targeted audience with precision. In much the same way as digital, automated platforms allow the planner/buyer to build AND execute a TV campaign simultaneously. The TV audience data and inventory availability are combined into a common platform so that tradeoffs of audience composition, reach, budget and pricing objectives can be planned and executed simultaneously. And as the audience migrates from one environment to the next throughout the campaign, the automated systems follow the audience and optimize accordingly. Programmatic TV platforms therefore reduce the uncertainty for the planner/buyer of achieving the campaign’s audience delivery targets. There comes a certain harmony.

Bringing together planning and buying with advanced data and automation yields much better results for agencies and advertisers as well as inventory providers. Precision delivery of a campaign’s targets ensures that inventory is used effectively. But there is still much more to do even after the champagne is poured. The most sophisticated platforms and predictive algorithms cannot anticipate long-term audience viewership shifts or the effects of supply and demand on pricing into next year. TV is still a supply constrained market. As such, agencies and TV inventory providers will continue to enter into commitments through the upfronts to ensure that inventory is available several months into the future. But the marriage of planning and buying with programmatic will help find and target those audiences optimally in the future and make sure the newlyweds have continued happiness well past their honeymoon.

4 comments about "Programmatic TV: Planning And Buying Tie The Knot".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 6, 2015 at 12:20 p.m.

    Hail programmatic, the savior of television. Now what about the other "legacy media"? Don't they deserve to be revitalized?

  2. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, February 7, 2015 at 10:11 a.m.

    Walt, while the benefits seem obvious for planners/buyers, what about the TV outlets? Aside from monetizing 'remainder' inventory, does the process increase or decrease their ad sales projections?

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 7, 2015 at 10:33 a.m.

    James, since programmatic is geared to obtain the lowest possible cost per targeted viewer, the answer to your question should be obvious. The inherent assumption in programmatic is that the buyer rules and the seller must give on price to get "business". As for "reminder" inventory being monetized, one has to remember that such time is mainly where the direct response people operate, mainly using infomercials, so it already is monetized. Being realistic, you are not going to see a lot of major branding advertisers fighting over 3AM rating points on the order of .001%, which, together amount to a very small portion of TV's total audience tonnage.

  4. Robert Dilworth from DILigent Marketing, February 9, 2015 at 11 a.m.

    Full disclosure is needed here: the author is president of AudienceXpress , a programmatic TV sales platform.

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