No one wants to hear that local TV advertising is losing its “relevance.”
But Frank Friedman, president of local investment at Publicis Media, who made that remark at a TV industry event, believes this is important information -- now and for the future.
It’s only a $20 billion business at stake -- the annual average size of the traditional local TV advertising pie.
The story has been told many times: The business of buying local TV advertising time is still a painstaking, manual process which can take a frustrated “39 steps” to get done, according to Friedman.
Probably an approximation? We get the drift.
Taking matters into its own hands, Publicis Media is in the middle of making a $50 million local TV programmatic ad deal for a client covering 27 markets. Friedman believes this is the way of the future.
And there is an urgency here. If media agencies don’t move quickly to automation, C-suite media executives -- agency clients -- will. Increasingly, there are self-service ad technologies that marketers can use, leaving media agencies out of the decision-making process.
And that’s not good news -- in either case.
Either using a self-service platform or going through their media agencies, TV advertisers have new media platform choices, which gives them more specific ROI metrics than local TV stations.
If TV stations can’t find a way to offer that specificity, it will be difficult to show core advertising growth. Many new individual local TV programmatic efforts are not taking this lying down and continue to gain business -- slowly. Programmatic local TV sellers with different automation approaches are one hurdle, complicating things for some 1,400 ad-supported U.S. TV stations.
TV stations still have the reach and scale that many digital media platforms don’t. Local TV news content remains a key factor for unique content vs. other media platforms.
However, for digital media platforms, new targeting technologies and local video content deals might change the competitive equation down the road.
Future media platforms not only want to be “relevant,” but easy to buy -- which means taking way less than 39 steps.