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Programmatic 2018: Local TV Markets Gravitating Toward Programmatic

The local television marketplace still has some trepidation when it comes to programmatic, but industry executives speaking Thursday at the Programmatic TV Summit say that automated ad buying is ultimately the future of the business.

Karine McMaster, Amplifi US associate media director of advanced TV Local Investment, said during the "Local TV’s Programmatic Opportunity" opening panel that its imperative that both executive sellers and buyers have the skill set to deal with the changes in technology.

Karine McMaster, Frank Comerford and Eric Mathewson: photo by Mark Reinertson for Future plc.

Karine McMaster, Frank Comerford and Eric Mathewson: photo by Mark Reinertson for Future plc.

“We have silos -- local TV buyers and we have digital buyers – that are two separate teams that eventually need to come into one,” she said. “Before we can do that, everyone needs to at least have the knowledge of their business so that we can come together and try to figure out how can we do this in a way where we’re merging all the knowledge that we have.”

NBCU chief revenue officer and president of commercial operations Frank Comerford added that the industry – and in particular stations – need to “take their heads out of the sand” and be risk takers if the industry is going to move forward.

“It doesn’t matter if you have someone handing you a piece of paper or contracting the spot electronically, you’re not losing the individuality of your product,” he said. “We need to stop fearing the fears that have been rampant on our side of the business.”

Eric Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit, said as the industry is changing, both buyers and sellers have to adjust to the evolving landscape if everyone is to be successful.

“We have to make it easier to buy and sell media, and in particular local media,” he said. “The job is getting harder – there is more media to manage, and the needs of the clients are more sophisticated … the systems have to support that tougher workload, and we’re working very hard to make that a reality.”