SAN FRANCISCO — It owns dozens of local TV stations in 44 US markets, and several TV production companies besides – so how is Raycom Media adapting to the rapidly-changing world of TV ad sales?

Beside a $3.6 billion merger with Gray earlier this summer, the company has tapped WideOrbit, a San Francisco-based company with a software platform that handles  scheduling, billing, content management and invoicing for TV ads around the US.

Specifically, Raycom is using the company’s programmatic-direct and open marketplace capabilities, to extend ad buying to non-traditional marketers.

“We’ve trained five dozen (sales) people on how to manage that,” says Raycom Media
GM, central traffic operations Garrett Popein this video interview with Beet.TV. “As the offers we come in, we want to be able to react swiftly and to best serve our clients’ needs and these new revenue streams.

“A lot of the advertisers are folks who would traditionally not buy TV because of that friction.”

WideOrbit’s programmatic TV open marketplace lets ad buyers make automated, data-informed offers in more than 1,000 stations and networks.

So, who is buying?

“They’re people who don’t want to talk to local salespeople,” Pope concedes. “If they can just log in to a dashboard, press a couple buttons, place an order and they get impressions in a local newscast or local sporting event or network sporting event, that’s valuable inventory.”

For Raycom, WideOrbit also supports a private marketplace in which ad buyers can still use conventional GRPs to target ads.

Pope says he is behind the ATSC 3.0 initiative aimed at tooling advanced TV technology for the future. He says addressable TV capabilities should mean higher ad rates for broadcasters.

But he says it’s important that the new enabling technology allows for sufficient control.

“A lot of the live streaming and OTT apps don’t provide the same reconciliation for a buy side that they would expect,” he explains. “We don’t want spots to run back to back to back. We don’t want long pauses. We want to have a user experience on the digital side similar to the linear side where it flows and you can retain audience, rather than just choppiness.”

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..