Are Local TV Automated Deals Finally Here?

A new deal where many of the largest media agencies have signed on might suggest wide-scale local TV automated ad buying is here.

Hudson MX, the new local TV automated buying platform, says $2 billion went through its system Buyer Assist, in just the first couple of months of 2019. For the year overall, J.T. Batson, CEO of Hudson MX (and former MediaOcean executive) has reportedly said it is tracked to pull about $6 billion.

If so, that would show some incredible results -- especially since the entire over-the-air local TV advertising market is around $18 billion or so, depending on your favorite estimate.

That would be 33% of all local TV advertising through “30 leading agencies in 210 markets, servicing 294 national advertisers.” If that’s the case, this would represent a big move to automated local TV advertising selling. There are a total of 1,800 U.S. commercial stations that take advertising.

Why is stuff moving so fast? It seems that big media agencies, many of whom have signed on to Hudson MX, have had enough.



For at least two decades, they have complained about the inefficiency of local TV planning and buying systems when it comes to their major national brand clients. They want the business to move quickly into the digital media age, already filled with many automated and efficient options.

The key is that Hudson MX software looks to automate current media-agency buying and TV station selling platforms. A buyer can install a plan within a day or two, something that would usually take much longer.

To help this along, Hudson MX, a buy-side platform, has made a deal with the sell-side platform WideOrbit for faster transactions. The deal is non-exclusive, and Hudson MX can make other sell-side platform deals.

That said, many other local TV programmatic players might say their buying software/interfaces are also adaptable to media agency and TV media systems. But Hudson MX seems -- at the moment -- to have the upper hand.

So much so that two big media-buying groups -- IPG Mediabrands’ UM and Initiative units and Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi -- are making a not-so-gentle push for TV stations to comply. In a letter to TV station groups, they say: “We respectively request that you work with Hudson MX.”

What does that mean? Perhaps there’s money to be had. So changes need to be made -- from all parties.

From TV stations' point of view, they have been taking -- in theory -- a longer approach, betting on the new TV standard, ATSC 3.0, which looks to promise many technological advances to compete with growing digital media competitors -- including perhaps automated and/or data-driven advertising monetization.

But rolling out ATSC 3.0 is slow-moving, with no industry-wide plan as to what it would mean for automating local TV station media buys.

Major media agencies are saying, ready or not, now is the time to play -- and big advertisers are ready to go all in.

3 comments about "Are Local TV Automated Deals Finally Here?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 13, 2019 at 10:13 a.m.

    Wayne, unless things have suddenly changed---and I doubt that this is the case----this refers mainly to paperwork, billings info, transmission of information of various types, etc. but not to the "deals" actually being made. That is still in the hands of humans for the most part---unlike programmatic digital media buyibg.

  2. Rick Howe from The iTV Doctor, June 13, 2019 at 4:33 p.m.

    The “request” from the agencies smells like a threat.  IMHO that’s not the way to make friends with broadcasters 

  3. Gary milner from The Simpler Way, June 14, 2019 at 12:10 a.m.

    If $2bn has moved through the system, running to 6, what is the roi of this? What savings were made, where? Also the buys are still done manually, this just generates an electronic request to the station? Correct?

Next story loading loading..