In this series, we interview the people and companies paving the way in programmatic TV advertising.
This week, we talk to Brent Horowitz, Vice President of Business Development at BrightRoll, where he leads strategic partner relationships across the video ad ecosystem. Brent has more than 15 years of experience in the advertising industry, with six of it focused in digital advertising.
What is your Programmatic TV Strategy or Point of View?
We believe the power of video transcends screens and it will soon be table stakes for any major platform in the video advertising world to allow buyers and sellers to programmatically transact against inventory across viewing environments, including traditional linear TV. BrightRoll is taking a leadership role in aligning digital and TV advertising by working with key companies like clypd as well as with industry groups (e.g., IAB, SCTE, CIMM) to make TV inventory easy to buy, deliver and measure across all digital video ad campaigns.
What are the greatest opportunities and challenges related to programmatic TV?
The greatest opportunities in programmatic TV are similar to the opportunities we’re seeing in digital video today – those being automation, granular targeting, and advanced measurement. However, with programmatic TV you are now pairing these powerful capabilities with the most sought-after brand ad medium in history. The ability to use data and algorithms for smarter buys and seamless workflows in a rich storytelling environment is a holy grail for advertisers. That said, we have a long way to go when it comes to implementing the consistent standards, end-to-end workflows, measurement, and data policies to enable purely programmatic execution.
How much of TV advertising do you believe will go “programmatic” over the next few years?
We’ll gradually see more TV inventory transacted programmatically, but done so in varying methods in order to appeal to the needs of both buyers and sellers. Before attempting to make this prediction, we first have to define what we mean by “programmatic” in this context.
To me “programmatic TV” means:
Given this definition I think we’ll be doing quite well if 10-15% of TV ads are transacted programmatically within 3 years. That may sound low given the expectations and buzz around the topic, but to put that in perspective that’d be about $8-12bb, which is larger than the entire digital video ad market today.
What are the greatest benefits that advertisers will gain from programmatic TV?
Two key benefits: One, a more streamlined workflow for campaigns that extend beyond the 4 screens of digital to include linear and set-top-box VOD. Two, the ability to take the problems introduced by a fragmented viewing/consumption landscape (shrinking audience reach, inconsistent measurement & technical standards) and turn them into strengths (better storytelling, brand building, relevancy, personalization, and overall efficiency). Study after study shows that cross-channel advertising brings a range of benefits; programmatic makes those benefits a lot easier to achieve.
With public companies like Mondelez (Oreo, Chips Ahoy, etc…) discussing their favor and investments programmatic, how should media buyers be thinking about programmatic TV advertising?
It’s important to keep in mind that programmatic TV buying disrupts the “old way” of doing things, one that despite its inefficiencies in delivering against precise audiences is actually quite efficient from a workflow standpoint. So we need to move forward in way that adds incremental value to content rights owners – for example to un(der)-monetized inventory and/or with previously untappable data assets – as opposed to a way that attempts to change existing workflows or replace methods just for the sake of being “programmatic.” For instance, many national sellers (broadcasters & cable networks) already have pre-negotiated deals with brands like Mondelez for their premium, prime-time spots as part of the upfronts. The best way for these media companies to dip their toes into programmatic will be for unrated networks/spots that attract no money today. And many service operators (cable/satellite/telco) have tremendous data assets that haven’t really been utilized at scale for their local avails; digital buyers are set up well to transact against these targeting capabilities. If buyers look to leverage data (from their seller partners and brand clients) in conjunction with platforms like BrightRoll & clypd to roll up pockets of fragmented TV inventory, they will turn up a lot of “diamonds in the rough” and everyone wins.
What else do you think is important to share?
We can’t have enough mutual education over the coming quarters and TV seasons. It’s fair to say that literally no one in the emerging programmatic TV ecosystem knows everything about everything. We all lose if technical standards and API’s don’t support key use-cases that are only being discussed in an ad sales setting. And digital buyers aren’t going to get very far if they don’t spend some time learning about the broader television business (hint: it attracts a LOT more money than that $70bb a year in advertising) and its infrastructure. One good test: could you go the Wikipedia page of a company across the linear-digital split and define half the acronyms you see there? If so, you’re doing yourself, your company, and your segment of the broader industry proud. If not, go buy someone “across the aisle” a drink and start talking!
To learn more about Brent Horowitz and BrightRoll, head over to their website.