Programmatic TV Is 'Overpriced': Q&A With Huddled Masses' Cantu

Charles Cantu, CEO and Founder, Huddled Masses, has a background steeped in advertising. “I have worked for and been mentored by some amazing advertising all-stars in radio and spot cable, as well as ad agency legends and brilliant digital and programmatic visionaries,” he said. His company was launched four years ago, “as a boutique trading desk, with a vision to bring programmatic technology to advertisers and agencies who didn’t have the expertise, resources or time to invest in getting up to speed on their own.”

Charlene Weisler: What do you think are the perceptions of programmatic TV at this time?

Charles Cantu: It’s not real. It’s overpriced for what it is, and nobody is fooled (I hope).

Weisler: How will programmatic impact TV?

Cantu: For now, things will not change dramatically. Until the networks, cable companies and satellite companies begin selling inventory beyond OTT, it will be cost-prohibitive for anyone to change the way they buy/sell television. That having been said, many advances in addressable programmatic TV have come into play — and as that scales, industry dollars will follow.

Weisler: How do you propose moving programmatic in-house?

Cantu: Moving programmatic in house is a step-by-step process, and no two companies or brands are the same, so at my company we employ customized solutions to each client’s unique requirements.

That said, there are some core services that every organization looking to bring programmatic in-house will need. They’ll want to employ the most flexible and extensive technology they can acquire to enable them to quickly transition operations from external to internal teams, and they’ll need experienced professionals to consult and provide support through and beyond this transition.

Weisler: What is your definition of television?

Cantu: My definition of television is content-based and less platform-centric. I look at television as the most desirable sight, sound, and motion means to deliver entertainment and brand messages to consumers. I also see it as well-produced content that individuals and families like to consume on any screen, but are likely to enjoy it most front and center in their living room on the big screen. That said, content is king and it’s a WIWW-WAWIWWI world (what I want to watch, when and where I want to watch it). Appointment TV is dead.

Weisler: What do you see as the future for television?

Cantu: I see holograms as the key to unlocking AR/VR at scale, along with time- and place-shifting continuing to drive consumption habits.  I believe compelling content will continue to be a driver for everything TV. As with all media, the selling and buying of advertisements for TV will increasingly become an automated transaction that can take place within cloud-based platforms, with storytelling for advertisers and agencies becoming more of a science but still dependent on people that “get it.”  It also means that the distribution and creation of content will become more and more automated over the coming years.

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