Like many agency television buyers, Todd Gordon spent a lot of time on the telephone buying inventory for clients that they didn’t necessarily want but that came in packages. “If you wanted to buy prime, you quite often also got late night and daytime,” says the Director of Programmatic TV for Adobe.
“What’s remarkable about what NBC is doing in partnership with us is they’re literally letting you buy what you want,” Gordon adds in this interview with Beet.TV. “If you only want late night on Bravo, you can buy that. And that’s never been enabled before in TV.”
Gordon, whose background includes stints at Lowe, Mediacom, Initiative and Magna Global, was referring to the recent integration of Adobe Advertising Cloud TV and NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio of broadcast and cable television.
The concept behind the integration is that data about TV viewers “is just data if it doesn’t have inventory to decision against,” says Gordon, who left Magna for TubeMogul in 2015 before its acquisition by Adobe, as Advertising Age reports. “The more accurate depiction of the inventory that’s out there that’s loaded into the tool, the better plan that is going to be built.”
While it’s not programmatic in the sense of real-time bidding for inventory, “we are taking major steps forward to make the process a lot more automated.”
Using a host of data, “We can identify very specific things, visitors to your site that took a particular action. We can match that to TV viewership and tell you how a very narrow audience behaves in TV,” Gordon explains.
Buyers using Adobe’s platform “get a live look” into all inventory on NBC’s networks and can propose a purchase order for what best matches their clients’ TV audience targets.
Until now, buyers worked with “a ranker in one hand and a phone in the other. You bought big portfolios of inventory across multiple networks. You bought broad rotations.”
Gordon spent most of his career in TV and “loves” the medium. But he’s very sensitive to the chasm that has existed between the viewing experiences available to consumers and the way the industry does business.
“The TV viewing experience is as good as it’s ever been. But the way TV is planned and bought and sold hasn’t transformed in the same way that the viewing experience has transformed.”
He praises collaborative efforts like the OpenAP audience targeting consortium launched by Fox, Turner and Viacom, of which NBCU is a recent participant. “TV inventory is a very precious resource and the attention of consumers is extremely precious. In TV we’ve spent those resources poorly.”