A Big Week For Local TV, Both PTV And Traditional

Advertising Week wasn’t the only game in town during this last week of September. Notable news on both the programmatic and traditional local TV fronts emerged from the other big media event held in New York, the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Forward Conference.

On the programmatic side, Videa, the Cox Media Group supply-side platform that began beta testing late last year, announced its official launch. And in the traditional arena, Nielsen announced that it will expand its Portable People Meter tech into local TV ratings.

Two Big Players In Local PTV Now
Videa’s platform enables buyers to plan and buy full local TV schedules on a forward-reserve basis, “leveraging the same kind of consumer segmentation data they use to buy, analyze and optimize digital programmatic media,” MediaPost summarized in its first-day coverage.



Videa said that 200-plus stations have signed to offer their inventory directly through the platform, which can be bought as market clusters to optimize audience reach across schedules. In addition to its parent Cox Media, Videa said it now has inventory deals with Graham Media Group, Gray, Hearst Television, Raycom, E.W. Scripps Company, TEGNA and Media General.

About a dozen agencies, including Dentsu Aegis’ Carat, Publicis’ Starcom, and independents U.S. International Media (USIM) and Empower MediaMarketing, are working with Videa to implement programmatic buys. The platform also has partnerships with about the same number of demand-side platforms, including TubeMogul, The Trade Desk and VideoAmp.

Mitch Oscar, director of programmatic strategy at USIM, cites the ability to buy schedules programmatically weeks or months in advance, as in traditional television buying; the partnerships with major station groups and working relationships with several key agencies; and the platform’s integration with the media-buying workflow/processing systems used by agencies (Mediaocean’s Spectra and Comcast’s Strata) as being among Videa’s positives.

“In my view, it’s another good sign for programmatic television’s evolution that a traditional television station-group owner like Cox is willing to invest in creating a company like [Videa] from the bottom up,” Oscar tells Audience Buying Insider.

Videa still needs to build or partner on a trafficking and billing component, he noted, while billing and trafficking are core functionalities of the competitive WideOrbit WO Programmatic TV platform, which also has relationships with major TV station groups, DSPs and agencies.  

“There are differences in the approaches and models of the two platforms,” Oscar observes. “WideOrbit’s, which comes out of a digital media perspective, has been in the marketplace for more than a year now, so it will be interesting to see what happens now that Videa is actively out there. Both will need to continue to work with the buy and sell sides to test and evolve their systems.”

Nielsen Brings Portable Meter To Local
In a welcome piece of news for traditional local television buying, Nielsen announced that it will start introducing its Portable People Meter (PPM) measurement technology in its local market TV ratings service for both in-home and out-of-home viewing in 2017.

The addition of the individual-person (vs. household) PPM panelists to local TV service will “effectively double the sample size, provide local clients with ratings that reflect precise measurement of local viewing behaviors and insights, and boost ratings fidelity,” promised Nielsen.

Already used for Nielsen’s audio measurement service, PPM will be extended to include TV viewing from 75,000-plus PPM panelists across 44 local TV markets. Nielsen says that this should result in a 40% decrease in “zero audience estimates” (viewing that falls below statistically valid measurement levels).

“Nielsen is maximizing the strengths of various data sets, including PPM data and Return Path data, to help our local clients understand their total audience by capturing all sources of viewing,” stated Megan Clarken, president, Nielsen Product Leadership.

Clarken, who said that Nielsen is “the only measurement provider that can directly measure the out-of-home television audience,” added that Nielsen will, in Q1 2017, also release a stand-alone service that will enable users in the 44 market areas to see incremental audience generated by out-of-home viewing. PPM will be able to measure TV viewing in bars, offices, hotel rooms and other places outside of the home. Impact data for out-of-home and in-home viewing inclusive of PPM data are expected in Q3, she said.

Nielsen’s objective is to improve the “stability and depth” of its local TV ratings, along with upgrading its national television ratings, as it simultaneously introduces cross-platform, Total Audience measurement.

PPM’s extension into local TV ratings “is a good thing, especially if we see the 40% decrease in zero audience estimates Nielsen is anticipating,” comments Liz Kelly, EVP broadcast media director for USIM, which derives about half of its roughly $1 billion in billings from local television and radio.

“Advertisers are always looking for more impactful ways to reach their audience,” Kelly says. “With all of the different ways video can be consumed, this should help tell us how and where the consumer is viewing the content. We should be better informed on how to reach our target contextually, rather than just reaching by mass impressions.”                                                 

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