CANNES — After “programmatic” methods of refining and automating the planning and buying of digital display ads took off, many are wondering when the same technology will get traction in the TV world.

But that’s the wrong question to ask, according to GroupM global chairman Irwin Gotlieb. He says the same approaches have been used since TV ad buyers started using demographic data in the mid-190s.

“By 1997, we were using optimization tools that used respondent-level data. We became less focused on context and more focused on audiences,” Gotlieb says. “If you use optimization tools… you can lay some foundation schedules in… you’re building specific audiences… You’re looking at a gajillion combinations … you’re doing some very, very specific work that can only be done systemically. That’s programmatic.”

“I laughed when one of the other agencies said that, within three years, they would be 50% programmatic. What, have you been living under a rock? We’ve been 80% programmatic in that regard for 20 years.”

Gotlieb says real-time programmatic bidding is an unlikely prospect in TV because so much advertising is bought upfront, not in the spur of the moment. But he does think the currency of TV ads will focus more on buying audience profiles, rather than 30-second spot exposures, as TV technology becomes more connected.

Gotlieb was interviewed in this session by Maria Mandel Dunsche, VP of Marketing for AT&T AdWorks.

More on the future of television and prospects of dynamic ad insertion in this article in the Wall Street Journal.

Gotlieb was on a Cannes panel discussion on targeted TV advertising presented by AT&T AdWorks. Please visit this page for more videos from the series.