Programmatic TV Is Here: Q&A With Videa's Shereta Williams

Shereta Williams, president of Videa, has a varied background she’s put to good use  in many career turns, working at financial start-ups, in mergers and acquisitions at Lazard, and at Cox Media Group.  She grew up on a farm in rural Georgia before moving to Boston to study electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ”I am driven by a desire to create value, and all of the paths leading to my current role — farming, finance and engineering — are ultimately about creating growth,” she says.

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about your company, current job and projects.

Shereta Williams: Videa brings automation and data-driven decision-making to broadcast television. We debuted earlier this year and recently announced over 10 strategic partnerships — including Mediaocean, Videology, and Raycom — to bring audience-driven buying and new demand to spot television. I lead the organization in overall strategic and product direction….



We launched our beta product this past December and officially debuted at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show. We are launching our commercial product this fall.

CW: What type of strategic partnerships — can you be more specific?

SW: Videa is currently working with seven key broadcast partners including Raycom, Media General, Graham Media, and Cox, as well as major advertising agencies including Carat / Amplifi and Starcom, to enhance and simplify the buying and selling of TV advertising.

In April of this year, Videa inked a key partnership with Mediaocean… As part of the agreement, Videa will be the supply partner for broadcast inventory that will be initially available through Mediaocean’s Spectra.

CW: Do you work with just broadcast, or do you also work with cable networks?

SW: We work with broadcasters. By utilizing our platform, local broadcasters can now leverage automation and data to enhance existing selling approaches and increase demand of their inventory….

CW: Where do you think programmatic TV is today?

SW:  Until about 18 months ago, programmatic buying was mostly restricted to the digital display business.

Nearly 40%  of all U.S. digital ad spend is expected to be conducted through programmatic buying transactions in 2015, according to eMarketer. Now, programmatic practices are more commonly applied to the sale of other media, including TV.

Programmatic buying has become a viable and growing option for TV advertising this year. The multibillion-dollar local market is in play — spot TV, in particular.

In programmatic, buying is more automated and the targeting method of choice is based on audience spending insights as opposed to broad demographics.

Today programmatic TV offers a variety of benefits, which improve the standard linear TV advertising model.

For example, having an automated buying process saves time for ad buyers and sellers, since many of the resource-heavy elements of these transactions can be streamlined. Additionally, advertisers can add consumer spending data to their purchasing plan to ensure they target viewers with the most appropriate messaging.

CW: Where do you think programmatic will be in 2017?

SW: In 2017, advertisers will be able to purchase audiences across platform (digital and TV) based on enhanced data attributes — more efficiently than they can buy stand-alone digital and TV today. This will allow for relevant messages to consumers and more engagement with audiences.

CW: Do you think TV measurement metrics will change from the current Nielsen currency?

SW: I think measurement will change over time to include more spending, behavioral and psychographic data, in addition to demographic and viewing data. So I’m not sure Nielsen goes away, so much as it gets augmented with additional information on who is viewing what.

CW: Give me some predictions regarding television and how it will look in the next five years.

SW: I saw a quote somewhere that “TV is the new TV,” and I think that’s right. TV companies invest a tremendous amount of resources in creating quality, engaging content, and that investment will allow them to continue to extend their audiences and business models across all platforms: online, OTT, mobile, etc.

The content bundles, currencies and distribution models may be different, but the providers and their ability to pair advertisers with their audiences will continue. I do think there are likely to be some new networks that emerge from MCNs, but the existing networks will evolve and grow as well.

1 comment about "Programmatic TV Is Here: Q&A With Videa's Shereta Williams".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 19, 2015 at 6:46 p.m.

    While I'm very skeptical about the broadcast TV networks and major cable players selling the bulk of their "premium" GRPs via programmatic, I have long maintained that this may be the way to go for national spot buys as these are, in most cases, giving the advertiser add-on audience tonnage in key areas with the "quality" stuff being bought nationally. As result, most spot avails and their GRPs are looked upon as commodities---grinding out tonnage---which is ideal for computerized buying as this saves a lot of buyer time.

    To make this work, however, stations will have to learn that they must sell time in specfic telecasts---not "fair rotations"---and that they can't arbitrarily pre-empt a national buyer's spots if they find a last minute customer who is willing to pay more. Also, firm audience guarantees, not , "Don't wory, we'll take care of you" , must be the rule---and make goods are not acceptable many months later.

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