Local TV is one of the biggest advertising opportunities – but the ecosystem needs new efficiencies to ensure advertisers can make the most of the medium.

That is according to an ad-tech veteran who spent years bringing programmatic technology to market – and now aims to use digital to unlock new dollars in local TV.

After a stint at MySpace, Jay Stevens spent seven years as general manager for Rubicon Project’s international operations, at a time when Rubicon was one of the few outfits introducing early programmatic.

Following a later stint at Adform in London, Stevens has now moved to New York, where he is president of Hudson MX, a new outfit which has built a technology platform for buying local TV and radio ads.

“Local buyers are an incredibly unique position, vis a vis money that would have historically gone to kind of the programmatic traders,”says Stevens, the company’s president, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“It’s roughly $20 billion of the $70 billion TV market but incredibly fragmented. You have a probably two dozen station groups that comprise of kind of independently owned and publicly owned station groups but also the L and Os, whether it’s NBC, Fox, CBS or ABC that have their own stations in kind of the larger markets.”

As general manager of international for the Rubicon Project, Jay was responsible for expansion efforts into all markets outside North America. But the US local TV market is unique, and uniquely disjointed.

Stevens says Hudson MX began two and a half years ago, going through a minimum viable product and gaining initial and feedback. Thus far, however, Hudson MX is still rather secretive.

“What we’ve built is a platform for buying TV and radio, starting and concentrating largely in the local space,” Stevens explains.

That platform connects to inventory sources like Premion so that buyers’ ads can go out through OTT platforms.

And Hudson MX just announced a partnership through which it integrates with WideOrbit to streamline pre-buy and order stewardship.

Representing a major coming out of stealth, the company also used that announcement to declare: “Since January of 2019, Hudson MX’s BuyerAssist has already been used to transact $2 billion in local ad buys among 700 buyers and 3,000 sellers across 30 of the largest agencies and all 210 markets.”

For Stevens, that is all about empowering local.

“Having come from the digital side and seen in the TV side, I was quite shocked about just how little information has been historically available for the agency and for their clients in terms of how a campaign is performing as it runs,” he adds.

“Platforms such as ours give (local TV buyers) quite a bit more power to be able to really leverage their market knowledge, but also to be able to do all of the cool and fun stuff that has been available within digital that’s kind of been outside of reach from the local TV buyers for many years.”

This video is part of a series about the emergence of OTT as an advertising platform. For more interviews, please visit this page. This series is presented by Premion.