Local TV Programmatic Revenues Grow, But Need For Centralized Standards Remains

Local TV programmatic/automated advertising businesses continue to grow -- even as efforts around standardization and stewardship of media/advertising procedures remain wanting.

With around 10 or so players in the space -- all with different platforms and media operations -- Shereta Williams, president of Cox Media Group’s Videa, says the business “is growing faster than anyone thought it would.”

Williams says Videa has seen nine times the billings coming through its system in 2018 versus 2017 -- projecting four times the level of billing in 2019 over 2018.

Overall, eMarketer estimates that total programmatic TV spending -- national, local, and OTT -- will hit $2.8 billion in 2019 and $4.7 billion in 2020.  Looking further, Williams is more optimistic:  “I think [programmatic/automation] will be a third or more of TV spend in a few years.”

Videa has seen growth from some media agencies. For example, four major media agencies have committed to spending 100% of their local TV programmatic buys on the Videa footprint, which has 581 TV stations in 157 markets.



Standing in the way, say media analysts, is a lack of common stewardship when it comes to a dozen different local TV programmatic operations. “Standardization makes sense because there is so little of it in local TV -- what an order looks like, what a proposal looks like, what a make-good looks like,” says Williams.

She adds: “You need a pretty large-scale buy-in from the vendors to make it work really well. ... It’s not in anyone interest to using 10 of these systems. You are starting to see people coalesce around preferred partners.”

Digital media competitors complicate the issue.

“The playing field is not level at this point,” says Williams. She notes that TV companies are competing with big digital companies for ad dollars. In a few years, she sees consolidation of local TV automated advertising businesses around a handful of companies.

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