A company which crunches the data on 85% of US ad spending in order to help agencies and others better price their business says it wants to roll the same features out to 12 other countries this year.

Standard Media Index (SMI) has sight of 85% of all ad agency invoices, piped straight from booking systems – aggregated and anonymized. It then makes it available back to agencies, publishers and hedge funds as intelligence, to variously understand ad pricing, product trends and TV events.

This week, the company announced Ben Tatta, the former Cablevision Media Sales executive who had been president of TV data firm 605, was joining as its president.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Tatta describes SMI’s expansion plans.

International expansion

“They collect data from about 34 markets internationally,” Tatta says.

“A big part of the growth is going to be international expansion and James (Fennessy, CEO) is really focused on that, (on) launching new markets.

“Recently, we launched in Canada, (our) dataset represents well over 80% of all the ad spend.

“The goal is to get upwards of a dozen pool markets launched over the next 12 months or so, so that we have a true international footprint.”

Data in a down market

SMI was founded a decade ago. It sells aggregate, normalized ad pricing data back to agencies so that they can understand ad pricing within their market and can effectively benchmark spending levels.

The company also provides industry ad spend forecasts.

SMI recently reported how March national US TV ad spend in 2020 was 12.8% lower than a year earlier. By May, it was down 23%.

As advertisers have pulled back during the pandemic, broadcasters and publishers have dropped rates to win back business.

For some buyers, that has meant a lower-priced opportunity to keep spending. For others, the emerging economy means a new reluctance to commit to upfront ad buys.

Granular spend data

“The area where we see things going on a go-forward basis is to provide much more granular pricing data that could be used for emerging platforms, whether it’s on the buy or the sell side,” Tatta says.

He says that, previously, traditional TV ad prices were dictated by factors like the placement of a spot in the commercial break.

Now, in OTT environments, it is increasingly about the data used to target it.

So SMI wants to “dimensionalize’ pricing data to help buyers get a better handle.

National scale

Not only that, but Tatta imagines online TV evolving to adopt a digital media pricing play.

“This notion of using CPM as the standard metric to evaluate advertising across platform, we think, is going to take hold,” he explains.

That is significant, because some of the largest MVPD services are now reaching larger scale in deployment of addressable TV ad capabilities at national level.

Tatta thinks that will allow big brands to custom-target different TV ad creative at viewers in New York versus Los Angeles, for example.