SAN FRANCISCO – As national television networks are coming together to standardize audience targeting, local broadcasters know they need to make the buying and selling of their inventory easier to execute. For Hearst Television and several others, one vehicle is the TIP Initiative hosted by the trade group TVB.

“Local TV still has the majority of its revenue based upon the traditional buy/sell process with our local clients,” says Al Lustgarten, VP, Technology and Information Services at Hearst Television. “What we’ve seen in the market is that there is a very slow evolution of the traditional broadcast sales process.”

Advances like Internet-protocol-based ATSC 3.0 hold the promise of revolutionizing the way local broadcasters can deliver editorial and advertising content. But it’s a voluntary standard requiring investments by broadcasters for something that won’t reach consumers until late 2020 at the earliest.

“We don’t see any significant immediate change, but as new technologies emerge like ATSC we hope to have new targeted and addressable capabilities within our advertising that we could market to our customers,” Lustgarten says in this interview with Beet.TV at the WideOrbit Connect conference. “But we are very focused now on trying to maintain our current business but then try to bring more efficiency to the buy sell process.”

A main selling factor for local broadcast is local news, which remains highly relevant despite competition from online outlets. Hearst’s footprint comprises just under 20% of the country or about one in five households.

“The local television market has a unique presence now in the media that the public consumes,” says Lustgarten. “The unique presence is the fact that we can provide live news to an audience in the geographic areas that we support. There is no other medium that can provide that now.”

The TIP initiative involves creating application programming interfaces to streamline some of the transactions that take place between buyers and sellers at the local broadcast level. In addition to Hearst, its members are Nexstar, Sinclair, TEGNA and Tribune.

As Lustgarten notes, agency media buyers typically have their own tech providers and the sell-side has its own. The goal of TIP is to “seamless connect the two and provide them with the opportunity to easily transact business electronically and efficiently.”

This video is part of a Beet.TV series on advanced TV produced at the WideOrbit Connect conference. WideOrbit is the sponsor of this series. Please find more videos here.