TV as a Platform: Automation & Efficiency [FWC Video Series]

James Rothwell VP, Marketing, Comcast Advertising

TV’s scale and quality are undeniable, and with addressability and smarter application of data, it has evolved as a platform to meet the full set of marketer’s needs, no matter what the campaign goals are.

In our final installment of the this Upfronts series featuring roundtable discussion taped during the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video’s (FWC) Executive Board dinner in March, decision-makers at major TV companies talked about the way in which TV’s evolution as a platform has enabled more simplified buying at scale, leveraging the best of digital to create efficiencies.

One of the key aspects when considering any medium or advertising environment as a platform is how efficient and easy it is for advertisers to buy. TV has a made great strides here, evolving from exclusively manually executed transactions across individual screens, to a more unified model across linear and digital, enabling more automation and efficiency for buyers.

TV has not only evolved to embrace digital consumption, it has invested in technology to reaggregate scale across all screens and create efficiencies with the application of data and automation.

“As a platform, we reach more people in more meaningful ways than anyone else, and we are shifting mediums, we’re appearing on every screen now. We can get to everybody,” said Marcien Jenckes, President of Advertising, Comcast Cable. “We increasingly have data in order to find that audience, we increasingly have the ability to target that audience, and we increasingly can measure the impact that we have on our customers’ business, which is why we’re in business.”

As TV continues to grow in its stature as a converged platform, members of the FWC are focused on investing and partnering to achieve automation and workflow efficiencies.

“One of the biggest trends we see in continuing to make premium video more effective for marketers is to actually automate the workflow and the transaction around it,” said Krishan Bhatia, EVP, Business Strategy & Operations, NBC Universal. “We believe that is a future bright spot for premium video overall and we are doing our part to work with technology partners and other vendors to automate the planning, buying and ultimately measurement of premium video across all platforms.”

As we approach the Upfronts season, this is especially relevant as marketers consider the enhanced opportunities that TV and premium video providers are now bringing to the table.

“Looking at what might have succeeded before but does not anymore is part of what all the Upfront messaging is about: to make people comfortable with the fact that there is parity around how easy it is to transact with us, and frankly there is not parity around the power of our ability to sell at reach, because we can do better,” said Vikram Somaya, SVP, Global Data Office & Ad Platforms, ESPN.

But it’s not just the TV companies that are responsible for increased efficiency. All of the different technology and distribution partners that are aligned to this platform must be aligned to ensure that the advertising environment works seamlessly and that the transaction can be executed in both consistent and standardized ways.

“This is a work-in-progress. A simple switch like publishers or programmers deciding to go from a flash-based player to an HTML5 player- there’s a whole sequence, there’s 8000 other people that have to be compliant,” said Amit Chaturvedi, EVP, Revenue Operations & Product Management, Turner.

As Krishan Bhatia puts it, further standardization and investment in automation and workflow will have very positive benefits for the ecosystem, and solidify TV as a quality and efficient platform for marketers:

“All television programmers and businesses within the media ecosystem should be investing in those types of offerings and ultimately we believe that it will provide more access for a broader set of advertisers to participate in premium video.”

This video is final installment in our Upfronts series filmed in New York City in March 2018. Learn more about The FreeWheel Council

Watch Video One in the Series: TV as a Platform

Watch Video Two in the Series: Quality Scale

Watch Video Three in the Series: Data & Intelligence