A+E among Media Vendors Looking to Automate Sales

Media agency IPG Mediabrands said it has formed a consortium, including A+E Networks, Cablevision and Tribune, that will work towards automating more of the commercial buying process.

The buying and selling of TV commercials has remained a hands on person-to-person business even as digital media has moved to a system of exchanges where computer handle the bidding for advertising space in real time. The TV business has resisted automation largely out of concern that their inventory would become a commodity and that sales people would no longer be able to command premium prices for spots in their programming.

IPG, which has been working on its automation initiative for six months, said its goals are to deliver more precise targeting and greater performance through the use of data; to find opportunities to streamline media negotiations through technology-based buying platforms; and to apply technology to automate legacy buying systems across traditional and digital media.

Working with the members of the consortium—which also includes AOL and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment—IPG says it will have access to display, video, mobile, digital out-of-home, radio and TV inventory. Some of the inventory was not previously available through automated buying systems.

“We estimate that about half of the annual media investments will be delivered via more automated channels by 2016.  The good news is that our charter members were quick to sign on to develop a plan forward,” Tim Spengler said in a statement. “Our goal is to ignite real change in the way media is transacted for the industry. I look forward to other industry leaders joining this consortium to help move the industry forward,”

"Cablevision is committed to pursuing any opportunity that results in an improved television experience for consumers and advertisers,” said Tad Smith, Cablevision's president of Local Media. “Our work with IPG Mediabrands and the Consortium will accelerate the pace of innovation in TV advertising by using technology to drive meaningful advancements for the entire industry.”

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.