LONDON, UK — Ana Camara doesn’t want business to get stuck in the past. But she does want to turn the clock back to a time when buying TV ads was more straightforward.

As senior director, global investment, GroupM, Camara is sitting atop the ad budgets of multi-national brands who are clients of the world’s biggest-spending ad agency.

But she says the modern splintering of streaming TV has created a headache. Camara has been working on the antidote.

The new complexity

“For the last five years maybe that television has never been better from a user perspective,” she told me at Beet.TV’s London summit in December. “But, from a client perspective, it’s becoming a bit of a nightmare.

“Before, by just running on linear TV or traditional television, they would reach everyone. That’s no longer the case.”

Camara blames the collapse in linear viewing, shift to new digital environments, emergence of hardware makers in the mix and the splintering of ad buying points.

“To be able to run a campaign and reach audiences at scale is just not such an easy task anymore. It’s very, very complicated,” she adds.

Re-aggregate TV supply

Even with speculation about a looming shake-out in viewing services, the re-harmonisation of TV doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

So GroupM has decided to tackle the problem itself. “There’s not enough collaboration. We’ve gone out and built our own solution that we feel is easy,” Camara says.

In February 2022, the agency leaned on ad-tech suppliers PubMatic and Magnite to build GroupM Premium Marketplace, a platform that aims to holistically list all kinds of TV, video and other ad inventory opportunities.

“We’re bringing the inventory that currently sits in many different silos, and we’re putting it together in one unique marketplace for our clients to access it,” Camara says.

That amounts to turning the clock back – in all the best of senses. Camara told me the aim is “trying to replicate the way they would buy linear TV and bring that into programmatic”.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as it is to buy linear TV or to buy through an insertion order, but powered by technology.

“We believe that was the only way of doing it, aggregating supply, so we could have a big enough scale, similar to traditional TV.”

Most-desirable inventory

When GroupM did re-aggregate that supply, it realised that, in fact, there are many different kinds of TV and video content.

Camara has settled on “professionally-produced and long-form” as the most desirable kind from an advertiser perspective: “That’s the type of inventory that we are going after.

“Basically, that will mean we’re working with the broadcasters, we’re working with the Netflixes, we’re working with, Vevo, DAZN… There is a reason why television has been king for so long. It works.”

Come together in 2023

GroupM has done its part. But Camara wants to see others in the industry do more, too.

She desperately wants TV to adopt programmatic, which can make ad trading more efficient and targetable – but she sees European broadcasters and their sales houses “a bit reluctant” thanks to “negative connotation” from the early days of display programmatic.

There, it had been associated with low-grade remnant inventory and auction systems. But few who have worked around programmatic in TV would recognise that characterisation. Rather, there is a greater respect for quality of experience and for broadcasters’ need to retain control.

“If we, as an industry, understand programmatic as (simply) a way of execution, then we should be able to bring the best of the worlds – the best of digital with targeting, data capabilities, with the best of the TV content and just merge it together,” Camara adds.

“2023 should be a year of all of us getting together, holding hands and understanding, ‘Where do we need to get to because, from a buy-side perspective, we really want protect and help and support the professionally produced content?'”

You’re watching “Looking Ahead: TV in Europe 2025” a Beet.TV Leadership Summit presented by Magnite & Publica, in partnership with egta. All videos were filmed on-site at our event at London’s Soho Hotel. For more videos from this series, please visit this page