Magna, Tribune Launch Local Programmatic Buying

Magna Global said it is working with Tribune Media Co. and WideOrbit to launch WO Central, which offers programmatic targeting and automated buying in local media for local and national marketers.

Hearst, Meredith, Raycom, Scripps and Sinclair also agreed to participate in testing of WO Central. The station owners are part of a consortium set up to advance programmatic buying by Magna, the media investment unit of IPG Mediabrands.

Programmatic has been a hot buzzword in the media world but most automated buying has involved digital inventory. These companies plan to use programmatic technology to make local TV commercial inventory more attractive to marketers.

WO Central provides a live environment for trading linear television station inventory across geographic areas ranging from specific DMAs to the entire U.S. WideOrbit inventory management systems are used in 70% of TV stations in North America. Its system is also employed by more than 30% of cable networks and 15% of radio stations.

The system also incorporates Nielsen’s Local Buyer Reach and IPG Mediabrand’s Audience Measurement Platform, two sophisticated audience analysis tools that will help deliver efficient TV ad schedules.

“By providing a programmatic solution that allows agencies to perform targeted, data-driven, audience buys across markets, and delivers real-time analytics and audience insight for on-the-fly optimization, we’re creating a brand new revenue stream for our television station partners, while allowing them to control precisely what they choose to sell through our platform,” Eric Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit, said in a statement.

 “We strongly believe in using enhanced audience analytics to create customized and automated solutions for advertisers,” said Keith Bowen, chief revenue officer for Tribune Media. “We look forward to working with Magna to get a much deeper understanding of our audiences and improve the ability of our clients to target opportunities across the 50 million households reached by Tribune Media's broadcast stations."

Jon Lafayette

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.