Leaning In: Why TV Is Going Programmatic

The lean-back medium is finally leaning into programmatic. It’s been a progression, of course, but it’s gaining momentum. Note a couple of big developments today, especially DISH’s launch of a programmatic media-buying platform that will enable advertisers, agencies and trading desks to buy individual household impressions via real-time bidding (see story below).

In a related story, TiVo is making its digital set-top ratings available free-of-charge via an open platform -- -- which while not programmatic per se, is a step in that direction, giving traders access to a rich supply of TV ratings data.

These developments follow big recent strides in programmatic TV, including big pushes by TubeMogul, AOL’s, AudiencExpress, NBC Universal, ESPN, Simulmedia and others to create some structure around the burgeoning marketplace.

The recent deal between AMC Networks and WideOrbit to enable its high-value inventory to be traded programmatically also suggest that it’s moving largely in the premium direction. That, plus some significant pushes by the demand-side, including Xaxis and US International Media, suggest we are in more of a lean-forward mode, even if the audiences they are targeting are still leaning back on their couches



2 comments about "Leaning In: Why TV Is Going Programmatic".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 26, 2015 at 1:16 p.m.

    Joe, has AMC officially stated that it is selling spots in its "high-value" programs---I assume that this means shows like "the Walking Dead"----via programmatic? If so, I assume that this refers mainly to unsold time in such programs---if it happens to be available. Just curious.

  2. Virginia Suhr from Lobo & Petrocine Marketing, October 26, 2015 at 5:55 p.m.

    It could be the rerun of the show at 3 in the morning or the "on demand" version for Walking Dead rather than the Sunday Prime first run episode.  That would still be a "premium" show, just not at a premium time.

    And just because you're bidding on a show, there's no guarantee that you'll be getting bargain prices. A first run Walking Dead episode could start a bidding war similar to a great house in a good neighborhood when people pay more than the asking price.

    It's going to be very interesting to see how "television" buying and viewership evolves over the next few years.

    All media will probably be sold programmatically within the next year or two, however, there will probably still be a need to "hand" buy specific programs and/or packages, especially if you want to create a special buy for your clients rather than run ads to achieve targeted audience impressions.

    Traditional media is just evolving, not going away. People want to be entertained and informed.

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