As someone who launched a new TV ad-tech platform just as a global pandemic began, Pete Bruckbauer ends 2020 having seen the value in good timing. Now he wants the industry to realize the benefit of alignment.

Xandr, where Bruckbauer is senior product manager, launched Invest TV, a platform for TV ad buyers to transact using data across multiple linear programmers, in March, just as COVID-19 was taking hold.

The suite began with Xandr parent WarnerMedia, AMC, and Disney on the system, and recently added A+E Networks and Crown Media Holdings.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Bruckbauer says linear TV targeting capabilities have taken a great leap – but now the industry’s next step must make it easier to use them across publishers.

A fragmented future?

“Audiences have fragmented and made it harder to reach them all,” he says. “It used to be that you could go to a couple of broadcasts networks, do an upfront deal, and reach the majority of your audience.

“Now, with cable networks and streaming platforms and almost the never ending supply of video, it’s harder to reach your audience and get that scale.

“So, I think that the demand from the buy side is to aggregate that, put it back together, allow them to see the whole picture of the audience that they’re looking to target.”

Finding harmony

Bruckbauer is voicing a common concern when it comes to connected TV, even the linear variant.

The proliferation of new viewing packages and platforms has made a plethora of advertising opportunities available. But, unlike TV before them, each is distinct, often disparate technology.

The industry’s next challenge, then, is to make systems that simplify and harmonize what has become a super-capable but fragmented ecosystem.

“The industry needs to allow the buyer to focus on the audience, focus on their performance, and manage reach and frequency across all of those,” as Bruckbauer puts it.

Targeted evolution

Even so, it is testament to how far the idea of advanced TV advertising has come that the key challenge is managing so many inventory options. A historic complaint was that there is insufficient inventory in the first place.

Nowadays, many more ad buyers are using digital platforms to target on-demand and linear TV.

“We offer Xandr database targets that are comprised of our gender data traits and segments, as well as Nielsen traits such as MRI, MBI segments,” Bruckbauer says.

“The big value that we’ve worked to enable this year is to allow first-party data matches against both of those. So, if you’re an advertiser … and you have a first-party data set, we can match that against that Xandr data subscriber base or against the Nielsen panel, and then look at the viewership of that first-party that you’ve defined in order to create an optimal proposal for it.”

Tackling that across each publisher or broadcast platform is a challenged, but Bruckbauer thinks the industry can get there.

“The industry is evolved by combining all of those different supply types and bringing it all together for the buyers,” he says.

You are watching Where We Go From Here: The Lessons and Opportunities of 2020, a Beet.TV series presented by Xandr. For more videos, please visit this page