The television industry has made great strides trading on alternatives to selling advertisers exposure against demographic targets. But true, biddable “programmatic” broadcast inventory remains a longer-term goal .
This is how Viacom’s Julian Zilberbrand sums up the semantics surrounding the current state of programmatic television. In an interview with Beet.TV, the company’s EVP of Audience Science parses the plumbing of data-driven audience buying in an effort to dispel confusion.
“A lot of people have a misconception of what programmatic TV is,” says Zilberbrand. “The reality is that if you define programmatic as ad tech, which allows for automation of trading and the ability to layer data on to help make decisions on the inventory that you’re going to be accessing, then that doesn’t exist in TV.”
What does exist are solutions like Viacom’s Vantage, defined as data-driven TV that helps advertisers hit desired audiences “at a rate higher than just simply going out in the traditional demo level,” according to Zilberbrand. “Really what we’re all about is trading on alternative currencies by allowing a more audience-based buying approach as opposed to a broad demo buying approach,” he adds.
Zilberbrand explains the disconnect between what might seem like “programmatic” and what the future might ultimately deliver.
“The reality is that most of the inventory is broadcast inventory, which doesn’t allow for DAI, which isn’t really tradable in some kind of programmatic fashion,” he says in a reference to dynamic ad insertion. “It’s planned programmatically but then executed manually on the back end.”
Exceptions include over-the-top TV and full-episode player inventory in the traditional digital realm. Buyers are hoping all of traditional TV goes in the same direction, enabling them to view and trade specific inventory.
“It don’t know that’s a reality because you have a smaller supply source in the broadcast space and the reality that it’s never going to be traded on a biddable fashion,” Zilberbrand says.
More likely are standardized audience targets across sellers of broadcast TV inventory that advertisers could access on a single platform for planning purposes. This would enable broadcasters “to provide in the short term tactical plans that will hit that audience and index high across their own channels,” Zilberbrand says.