Legacy Rate Card Service SRDS Expands Into Media Planning/Buying Tech

SRDS (Standard Rate & Data Service), which for more than a century has been the primary reference tool for media planners and buyers researching media rate cards, is getting into the software business, launching a new campaign management system in partnership with Comcast's FreeWheel's Strata platform.

The application, dubbed AdwOne, was originally developed by new SRDS owner, Paris-based Adwanted Group for agencies in France (see screenshot above), but this week will begin beta testing a U.S. version with a mid-sized independent agency and the in-house team of a consumer brand marketer.

"We are not your old SRDS," says Heather Petaccio, a long-time SRDS exec who is now CEO of Adwanted USA, referring to the old, printed tomes media reps used to lug around while making the rounds with media planners and buyers.

SRDS took its entire database online in 1995, and stopped publishing printed directories nearly a decade ago, but Petaccio tells MediaPost that legacy data is part of an ambitious plan to expand into a wide variety of media planning and buying software applications, much of which are aimed at the long tail of smaller and mid-size agencies, as well as direct to brand marketers.



"We’re not really going up against the Mediaocean’s of the world right now, because they’ve got their corner of the market," she explains, referring to the dominant supplier of media-buying technology for the major agency holding companies for the past half century.

"We think. there's an opportunity to work with smaller to mid-size independent agencies, as well as advertiser-direct."

The move comes as a wide array of equity-backed players have begun developing -- and in some cases acquiring and rolling up established -- media planning and buying technology suppliers, including companies like Telmar parent LiiV Group, CoreMedia Systems Simpli.fi, and Guideline (formerly Dreamscape), the latter which acquired two key media spending databases -- SQAD and Standard Media Index -- last year, and recently acquired the Lumina media planning software system from Mediaocean.

The expansion of agency media-planning and buying tech players also comes as venture-backed startup Hudson MX was restructured earlier this year after spending years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a full-scale Mediaocean replacement system. While Hudson MX so far has not transitioned any of the major agency holding companies to its enterprise system, at least two biggies -- IPG Mediabrands and Horizon Media -- are said to still be in discussion.

SRDS, meanwhile, is similarly being transformed by a new parent with big ambitions for leveraging SRDS' legacy data and brand familiarity into software and technology, albeit aimed at the long tail, not the big agency holding companies. At least not at this time.

SRDS' core data business, meanwhile, continues to expand with new media types. Just last week, it announced the rollout of a podcast rates and data service to augment its radio stations listing in the burgeoning "audio" advertising marketplace.

Petaccio says the podcast service is beginning with data on 1,000 podcasts, but points out there are an estimated "4 million to 5 million podcasts" in the marketplace "and it grows on a daily basis."

Similarly, SRDS has quietly been integrating digital and nonlinear versions of other traditional media, including CTV and ad-supported streaming services, to augment its massive TV advertising database.

While the data is the core component of SRDS' expansion into the agency tech marketplace, Petaccio says its goal is to be "nimble and flexible," and to work with other third-party suppliers vis a vis API (applications programming interface) to integrate with other best-in-class tech providers, such as Strata whenever it makes sense.

Among the interesting innovations included in the new AdwOne system is the ability to manage multi-national campaigns based on more than 15 local monetary currencies.

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