Long-Tail TV Nets Join Magna Consortium: Want To Develop Data-Based, Programmatic Buys

Interpublic’s Mediabrands unit has formed an alliance with more than 15 television networks to develop and organize data and technology that would enable the agency and its clients to buy their advertising inventory programmatically. The initiative, which is being led by Mediabrands’ Magna Global unit, so far includes more than 15 networks, about half of which are not even measured by Nielsen.

“This project enables IPG Mediabrands to reach a wide variety of audience-rich networks that are vital to our efforts around programmatic,” Magna Marketplace Executive Vice President Todd Gordon said in a statement announcing the coalition this morning.

Details of how how the coalition would work were not disclosed, but Magna said the goal is to identify and unlock “audiences via a data-driven approach.”

The initiative builds on a broader push by Magna to organize consortia of media suppliers to develop a programmatic, audience-based media trading infrastructure, and is part of the holding company’s pledge to automate 50% of all its North American media transactions by the end of this year.

TV networks participating in the audience data coalition include ASPiRE, Bounce, Crossings TV, Fuse, Music Choice, NUVOtv, Outdoor Channel, Outside TV, Ovation, Reelz Channel, REVOLT, RFD TV, RLTV, and UP TV.

Magna said the goal is to work with the participating networks to develop a “formal programmatic partnership” with the agency; use technology, data and automation to “bring digital principles to national TV; and share insights and best practices on how to target consumers better.

Specifically, Magna said the effort would help its clients “understand value that networks, not captured by traditional ratings, can deliver to their business.”

The agency also plans to develop means of analyzing, building and buying “custom audiences at scale” across the networks participating in the consortium.
30 comments about "Long-Tail TV Nets Join Magna Consortium: Want To Develop Data-Based, Programmatic Buys".
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  1. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, February 24, 2015 at 10:15 a.m.

    Hey Magna clients, hope ya like running in crap at all hours!!!

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 24, 2015 at 11:05 a.m.

    Wow! Fifteen "TV Networks" are already signed up. What's left, the dregs like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN. CNN, Discovery, Fox News, USA, Bravo, TBS, TNT, and about fifty more plus national syndication and 700-800 TV stations? Hail "programmatic"! Maybe the prediction that half of all media buys----that's TV, radio, Magazines, Newspapers, Digital and out-of-home billboards folks----will be made "programmatically" this year isn't too far off the mark after all.

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 24, 2015 at 11:13 a.m.

    Wow, that's a lot of cynicism. Is it "crap" or "dregs" if it's the audience Magna's clients want to reach? The whole point of shifting from "media-buying" to "audience-buying" is to move away from a media-centric view of reaching the audiences advertisers want to engage. I recommend reading Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail."

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 24, 2015 at 12:42 p.m.

    Joe, my use of the word "dregs" refers , not to the 15 "TV Networks" included in Magna's first TV "programmatic" venture, but rather to those who are not included, namely all of the big players who account for 99% of the medium's ad dollars. I was just poking fun at the announcement. "Programmatic" buying ---as it has been described by its ardent advocates---will not be here until all---- or almost all ----of the media players are playing the game. Only then can the promise of "undreamed of targeting efficiencies" be attained as only then will all---or almost all---of the alternative options be included and evaluated. Until that time, I regard all of the so-called "Programmatic" buys as merely experiments, in most cases focused primarily on paperwork and communications----not the actual buying and selling of ad time or space.

  5. Lubin Bisson from Qzedia Media Inc, February 24, 2015 at 12:52 p.m.

    Well said, Joe...

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 24, 2015 at 1 p.m.

    Thanks, Ed: "Dregs" comment retracted. Stand by my "crap" retort vis a vis "Darrin Stephens."

  7. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, February 24, 2015 at 2:25 p.m.

    I've seen affidavits from buys like these (and not all these vendors will provide detailed affidavits). I stand by my "crap" comment.

  8. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 24, 2015 at 3:59 p.m.

    Really? For a guy who uses a screen name for his public comments to brandish the a-word ("affidavits"), well, pardon me for being incredulous... Were those affidavits for the audience-based programmatic system being developed by Magna and the networks in the consortium? No, wait, they haven't actually developed that yet. So I'm not sure what you're basing your "crap" on. Yes, there's crap in the media universe (it's a big scary place), but that doesn't mean you should ignore science to at least try and buy around it. The whole point of Magna's move is to get away from the kind of media-centric thinking that creates a crap mentality to focus on the thing that really matters -- you know, the audience. Whatever "crap" they happen to be watching.

  9. John Grono from GAP Research, February 24, 2015 at 4:14 p.m.

    I wonder what they mean when they say "half will be programmatic". Are they referring to the dollar value (i.e. cost of media) or to the spot count. Methinks the latter is more likely to reflect the likely situation.

  10. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 24, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    @ John Grono: Mediabrands has set a goal of "automating" half of all its media buys by the end of the year. That's not the same thing as handling all of them programmatically. I think they have meant total dollar volume, but it could be total buys processed too. I will check and see if I can get an answer on that.

  11. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, February 24, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

    Does anyone here have any idea what the scale of the aggregated audience from the consortium of networks and related contextual audience from social media platforms? This would be the first touch points meaningful to understand how programmatic will be leveraged.

  12. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 24, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.

    @Leonard Zachary: It's hard to pin down, but I've been told that as much as 20% of total TV viewing could be attributable to the long-tail. Maybe another reader has more info about that.

  13. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 24, 2015 at 4:59 p.m.

    It's interesting to hear that the goal is now to "automate" half of Mediabrand's media buys---I, also, assume that this is in dollars, but it doesn't matter-----by 2015. As Joe points out, that's a far cry from "Programmatic", which is the way the prediction was first trumpeted---at least as I understood it. Throughout the ongoing discussion about "programmatic" buying coming to TV and other "legacy" media the important distinction between processing data, orders, avails, ad traffic, etc. and actual buying/selling decisions has been muddled----in some cases deliberately, thereby creating the appearance of a groundswell in the "programmatic" direction. Of course the agencies want to automate as much paperwork and data processing as possible since this saves time and man hours. Nobody is against that. However this is not "programmatic" as it has been defined and is increasingly used in digital media buying. I hope that we can see the difference and stop blending the words "automation" and "programmatic" together as if they were the same thing. They are not.

  14. John Grono from GAP Research, February 24, 2015 at 5:41 p.m.

    Thanks Joe. I would hope that 'automation' is a component of EVERY buy smart fast. I think Ed has hit the nail on the head. I have sat through many an automation meeting, and it always come down to how much inventory availability that the broadcasters will allow the agency to see. If the agency can see availability they can gauge demand and can either (a) accelerate finalising the buy if demand is high to take advantage of current rates or (b) hold off buying the whole schedule if demand is low and there is the chance of some additional discounts. The key is that the 'premium spots' for that client (and what is 'premium' differs client by client) gets locked away early, and the additional weight to add reminder frequency to the campaign can be added later if it's likely that low demand discounts could come into play. Automation should allow fast and efficient confirmation of premium spots in a buy (i.e. virtually instantaneous), as well as 'programatic' buying (i.e. topping up the base buy to achieve either the GRP or Reach goal) that can do the "crosses in boxes" to maximise the delivery to the client as cost efficiently as possible (to the client and the agency).

  15. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 24, 2015 at 8:09 p.m.

    Joe, I don't know where you heard that "long tail" TV networks----actually cable channels----may account for 20% of total TV viewing, but if that were the case they would be bigger than all of the programs aired in all dayparts by ABC, CBS and NBC, combined, and by a large margin. We do an analysis of total weekly TV household set usage by program source in our annual, "TV Dimensions", and our latest estimate is that the three major broadcast TV networks now attract 13% of all usage. Depending on how you define "long tail" channels, it is doubtful that they represent more than 1-3% of all viewing time and the actual figure is probably on the low end of that estimate. This does not mean that they are "bad" media buys or that they shouldn't be considered by advertisers, but the keystone of "programmatic", if it ever proves feasible for TV, will be its ability to draw in most of the major TV players. That means all of the broadcast networks, at least the top 50 cable channels, most of the syndicators, etc. Without that you are dabbling at the outer fringe of the medium with extremely low rated channels who, as a rule, are priced at the lowest CPMs----when Nielsen is able to report on their audiences.

  16. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 25, 2015 at 8:45 a.m.

    Ed, I don't have access to that kind of data, so maybe you can do an analysis that proves or disproves that anecdote. It's been told me several times by respected industry researchers. That estimate is the difference between total viewing (the universe) and the % of viewing attributable to networks rated by Nielsen. I've been told it fluctuates but could go as high as 20%. It may be an urban myth, but it would be nice to know what the real number is. The long-tail contributes something greater than 0% and the point is that audience currently is not being monetized via conventional Nielsen-based currencies.

  17. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, February 25, 2015 at 10:36 a.m.

    Joe, the first thing that's needed is a proper definition of what networks or channels are included. If those cited in the article are typical of "long tail" networks, with many of these being too small in average audience or total reach to be reportable by Nielsen, this, in itself, testifies to their relative size as regards share of total viewing. Consider this. In any activity, a certain proportion of the users or, in this case, the channels, account for a disproportionately large share of the activity, while, at the opposite end of the usage spectrum, another group, does very little buying, or in this case, gets much less viewing. If TV's "long tail"---or tail small fry----were capable of attracting 20% of all TV usage, that would mean that their average ratings were actually far higher than Nielsen reports and that Nielsen is vastly overstating the ratings of the broadcast TV networks, major cable channels, etc. It would also create the most unusual frequency distribution between the big guys and the small guys that I have ever seen. I suspect that those who claim that TV's "long tail" accounts for 20% of all viewing are including a good deal of "non-prime" activity on all cable channels, including many that are not involved in programmatic, and this is causing the confusion. Magna must have the Nielsen numbers. Why not ask them how many hours of collective weekly viewing the "networks" included in the press release generate across the entire TV population and how this compares with all TV usage by the same population. It's a perfectly fair question.

  18. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 25, 2015 at 11:22 a.m.

    @Ed: The question I'm posing has nothing to do with how people have historically looked at the value of planning, buying and measuring TV audience reach via the industry's legacy models, including a projectable sample that self-defines its own universe. The question I'm asking you is of the total universe, what percentage of viewing goes to channels not reported by Nielsen's sample. That's the number I was talking about accounting for as much as 20% of TV viewing. I understand some might not consider it a relevant number, but that's what things like the Magna consortium are trying to unlock and a lot of people who advertise would like to reach those viewers too. It's a number that should be knowable. Just asking if someone knowledgeable can help figure out what it is.

  19. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 25, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

    Joe, by that definition, you can be talking about all sorts of digital venues, including out-of-home and those that don't sell ads. I, too, don't have such information but possibly Bruce Goerlich at Rentrak might be willing to supply some info----or estimates---- based on his company's findings. Bruce, if you do chime in, please tell us what percent of all set usage goes to TV venues that Nielsen doesn't report by those who are ad sellers and those who don't rely on advertising---if possible. I and many others would find this most illuminating.

  20. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 25, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

    @Ed: Sorry I was unclear about what I was hoping to define. It was not the long-tail's contribution to the total media universe, just the national TV universe. That should be a pretty well defined thing. The question is: What percentage of total TV viewing is attributable to networks that are not rated by Nielsen?

  21. John Grono from GAP Research, February 25, 2015 at 3:14 p.m.

    Ed & Joe. I know that Australia is a VERY different market to the US (e.g. subscription TV penetration is around 30%, only 29 measured markets albeit around 95% of the population), but we report "Total TV" as one of our metrics. Basically, if the TV is on and the sound is up, and the audio matches to one of our 'reference' channels then we can allocate the viewing correctly. This means for example that (using the first 8 weeks of 2014 1800-2400) but just for our five major metropolitan networks combined (some two-thirds of our population) that Free-to-Air (FTA) had a 82.6% share and Subscription TV (STV) had a 17.4% share. We can then also see that within FTA the non-commercial network was 14.8% share points of that total 82.6 share points. Similarly within the STV 17.4% share points 0.5% share points were unreportable channels (too small a sample). We can also see things like of the 82.6% FTA share points that 0.2% share points were local community channels (yes they are that small rating wise), and that 2.1% share points were from affiliated adjacent FTA networks that spilt in to the metropolitan markets. I can only assume that your media agencies (and Nielsen) also have software that reports to the same level of granularity. In essence, each agency here can 'define' the universe it wants and analyse it. What the above data does NOT include is "other usage of TV". This includes (for example) game play on the TV such as X-Box. If however that X-Box is internet connected and a "TV channel" is viewed then it is captured and reported. It also excludes IPTV - unless the content is a 7-day time-shifted replicate of broadcast and/or cable TV, which is then captured and reported. If you go to the OzTAM site there are quarterly reports that report on various in-depth analyses of 'total usage of TV'. While this in not germane to your current discussion, it may be of same assistance as a parallel. Cheers.

  22. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 25, 2015 at 3:17 p.m.

    Ok, Joe, but in the context of programmatic time buying, I would rephrase the question to include only those TV venues that sell ads. In other words, how much time does the average person spend with all national TV venues---networks, cable channels, syndicators and any others, that sell ads and are reported by Nielsen relative to the amount of time the average person devotes to "long tail" ational TV venues that also sell ads, but are not reported by Nielsen. To be fair to proponents of programmatic TV time buying on a national basis, this would exclude PBS, pay cable, PPV, local spot sales by stations or cable and local out-of-home entities---cinemas, malls, airports, doctor's offices, etc. even if they offer a fair degree of national coverage. If, for example, Nielsen is not providing ratings for, say, 22 national TV viewing platforms that are actively selling ads and fall within this definition and these account for 15-20% of the total viewing for ad selling, national TV platforms, that would be significant. If, however,and as I suspect, the percentage is a lot lower, that gives an idea of how far programmatic has to go until it becomes a full fledged mechanism for national TV time buying.

  23. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 25, 2015 at 3:19 p.m.

    The next question is where do we ( I ? ) get enough data to provide a credible answer? Bruce, any thoughts?

  24. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 25, 2015 at 5:54 p.m.

    Interesting remembrance, Tracey. Do you happen to recall whether these unrated---actually unreported, not unrated----channels sold ads or were a fair number of them not in the commercial selling business? Another question.I assume that Spanish programmed channels constituted a good share of the "unrated" in LA. Correct? Also, was your tab for primetime or an all daypart average---if you remember? Thanks.

  25. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc., February 25, 2015 at 6:15 p.m.

    Oh yes revolution has begun, and those TV folks are not very happy about the revolution. The agency folks want it, for obvious reason. I have to say, history do repeat itself, twelve years ago I had worked on display media ad system migration to an early archetype of what programmatic RTB system is today. Sure there were many skeptics, and I am sure many ate their hat, I am sure that is not too pleasant.

  26. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 26, 2015 at 9:29 a.m.

    But, Benny, today almost nobody wears a hat---so what's to eat.

  27. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc., February 26, 2015 at 2:43 p.m.

    Ha! You funny Ed. Indeed, today almost nobody wears a hat, considering the article is about the changing times, they should wear a hat one more time for old time sake.

  28. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 26, 2015 at 2:52 p.m.

    Or a tie, but doesn't mean we don't still revere that culture: http://bit.ly/1BBY2LQ

  29. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc., February 26, 2015 at 3:01 p.m.

    Joe, I just read this on now MAGNA defended the"small" long tail sites, http://adexchanger.com/agencies/magna-global-expands-consortium-to-unlock-untapped-tv-audience-data/.

  30. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., February 26, 2015 at 3:14 p.m.

    Thank you for passing that along. I notice Todd Gordon is wearing a tie, but no hat in that photo.

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