With all the talk about more precise audience targeting for linear TV, some basic things can get overlooked. For veteran buy-siders like Jason Kanefsky, who’s witnessing his 30th Upfront, those things include basic supply and demand dynamics.

So while “we’re taking a lot of first steps in lots of different directions,” sometimes there’s progress in the TV space and sometimes not, says the EVP, Director of Strategic Investments, for Havas Media.

“The data conversation is I think somewhat overblown right now,” he says by way of preamble. “We have been buying using data for years. It’s not something new to us.”

What’s interesting to Kanefsky is the fact that TV networks “are trying to infiltrate that space,” and “they’re charging to infiltrate that space.” He notes that the OpenAP audience-targeting consortium of Fox, Turner and Viacom designed to unify audience targeting for advertisers is seeking “a 10 percent up-charge on your media cost.”

He’s not disputing the need for a more unified currency across multiple networks. “With that said, we have a long, long way to go to solve the data issue.”

Kanefsky believes the best way to make TV buying more efficient is to actually have more ratings points available to buyers and that using data to optimize media is not a new concept.

“What we need the networks to do is find more ways to put more rating points back in the market, not necessarily from C3 to C7 but to actually perform better,” he says. “We’re in a marketplace that’s driven by supply right now. But what’s driving marketplace inefficiencies is the fact that supply is down so much.”

Advertisers still expect big ratings impact great content but would like to be able to obtain both while reaching audiences in difficult time frames like 8-11, according to Kanefsky.

Asked what he’d like to see most from the networks, Kanefsky says “a strategy” that would provide a vision of “how are we going to get from point A to point B.”

To his mind, ABC is the closest to having such a strategy, NBC is “all over the place” and CBS “has their model built out kind of perfectly.”

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.