Local TV is perfectly capable of overhauling the the historic system it uses to sell advertising – because that system has been hiding in plain sight.

So says the president of Hearst’s television operation in this video interview with Beet.TV.

The industry is embarking on a shift, from the historic method of measuring and selling TV eyeballs using rough “gross rating points” (GRPs) to selling on real viewership, by digital-style impression.

Whilst that may seem like a challenge, given local TV’s patchwork nature, Jordan Wertlieb isn’t daunted.

“I don’t see many obstacles,” he tells interviewer Howard Shimmel of Janus Insights & Strategy. “One thing we have to remember is that impressions have always existed – we’re not introducing a new measurement, we’re just introducing a way to transact.

“So I think what’s most important is television ratings were established to measure a percentage of audience in a television ecosystem. Because our audiences are now being reached on multiple platforms, that rating method is just too narrow.

“We’ve got to talk about total audience reached impressions across all these devices and add them up. I think it’s actually a more fair representation of the reach of the broadcast.”

Wertlieb says live linear still has an ability to capture audiences’ imagination whilst consumers also have a “voracious appetite for local news”.

The interview took place at the at the TVB Forward conference in New York.