BOSTON – Shereta Williams is hoping that 2017 will mark the tipping point for scaled advertising inventory from local television stations, whose power has been diminished by competing and often more efficient media. Although it’s not the only player in the local-sales automation space, Videa, of which Williams is President, has the imprimatur of owner Cox Media Group along with agreements with dominant local TV providers for its newly launched platform.
Videa’s private marketplace provides stations, agencies and brands with a simplified way to sell and buy local television station inventory at scale, Williams explains in an interview with Beet.TV. “It’s really an expansion of what we did in beta last year but it allows us to automate the buying and selling of local TV station inventory to national advertisers end to end,” Williams says.
The Videa platform plugs into demand-side platforms and systems like Mediaocean and STRATA. On the sales side, “We plug into the TV station traffic data and we automate all of the sales process in between,” she adds.
Williams has held various positions at Cox for almost 20 years, with other career stops in between, and is thoroughly familiar with the challenges of local broadcasters.
“A lot of the power of local TV has kind of diminished over time as network and digital and mediums that are either more addressable, more efficient or more targetable have come about,” she says. “This powerful reach medium has lost share to these other options in the marketplace.”
In the past, it might have made sense from an efficiency standpoint for advertisers that wanted to target just 40% of the country to do a network TV buy, according to Williams. “What our platform allows them to do is target that 40% of the country in a very efficient way. You don’t have to waste the part of the country you don’t want to buy,” she says.
From a targeting standpoint, Videa is not facilitating addressable TV. The company takes consumer data and overlays it with data about individual programs to see which ones over-index for specific targets. “I can’t send your ad to people who are Audi intenders but I can put your ad into programs that over-index for people who are Audi intenders,” says Williams.
As a sales platform, Videa collects “a small commission” on everything that runs through its platform. Creative messaging can be segmented geographically.
“For us personally, just getting to the place where we actually have scaled inventory is a tipping point for this space and that’s what 2017 will be about for us,” Williams says.