As more programmers and operators begin to experiment with programmatic advertising, vendors of traffic and billing software that have long played a central role in managing the TV ad business are rushing to expand their own capabilities.
This has led vendors such as WideOrbit and SintecMedia to launch sell-side programmatic (SSP) platforms and prompted vendors such as Imagine Communications, Broadway Systems and Management Science Associates to closely integrate their traffic and billing software with demandside programmatic (DSP) platforms run by agencies or outside players.
Moses Zelniker, VP of marketing and product development at SintecMedia notes that they have already deployed their programmatic platform OnBoard in Europe and are now talking to U.S. and Canadian clients about doing the same. “There is a lot of interest in the U.S. for such a solution,” he says, adding that they are also looking to integrate their SSP platforms in other systems. “We are talking to all the major agencies and ad exchanges about [it].”
In the U.S., WideOrbit has been working on developing a programmatic solution for many years, investing over $70 million to evolve its WO Programmatic platform, says Eric Mathewson founder and CEO of WideOrbit.
Tribune, Magna Global and a number of other station groups, including Hearst, Meredith, Raycom, Scripps and Sinclair have been testing the platform, which was used to sell a spot on this year’s Super Bowl. Mathewson says they expect to have a general release of the platform in mid-April, around the time of the NAB show, adding that they are looking to integrate it into as many DSPs as possible.
In addition to the hefty investments involved in developing the platform, Mathewson stresses that having tight integration between the programmatic platform and their traffic and ad software is crucial to the success of the effort. “We believe that programmatic will raise rates because it will attract incremental demand from the marketplace,” he says. “We think [broadcasters] will embrace programmatic.”
Advances in Automation
Sarah Foss, VP of product management for Media at Imagine Communications, stresses that the company’s focus continues to be on automating a wide range of workflows for traffic and billing, rather than launching their own programmatic platform.
“We are going to be announcing workflow automation improvements at NAB that will make the traffic director’s life a lot easier,” she says. “We’ve also put a lot of energy into automation to increase efficiency with price and inventory management that will make our clients more money.”
As part of that effort they are integrating their traffic and billing systems with outside platforms via APIs. “We are not building exchanges,” she says. “Our philosophy is to work with buyers and sellers to automate the entire advertising ecosystem.”
On Feb. 23, Broadway Systems announced that it had integrated its software with place-media. “A couple of our clients have started testing programmatic with place-media,” says James Ackerman, executive chairman, Broadway Systems. He adds that they will be showing the interface with Place-media at NAB and that they will be adding interfaces for other DSPs in the future.
“We plan to work with anyone our clients want to work with on programmatic,” he says.
THE WORLD BEYOND PROGRAMMATIC
While programmatic advertising systems have gotten much of the media attention in recent months, efforts are also heating up for dynamic ad insertion (DAI) and video-on-demand. Nick Troiano, president of BlackArrow, notes that operators have installed DAI insertion capabilities for VOD in about 32 million homes in North America—a number he expects will climb to 40 million in 2015—and that the volume of VOD impressions for their clients grew by 500% in 2014 to about 1 billion per month.
That has prompted Broadway Systems, Imagine Communications and other traffic and billing vendors to develop new capabilities to handle VOD and dynamic ad insertion. “We are working with some clients in this area and have developed innovative technologies that we will be talking about at NAB,” says James Ackerman, executive chairman at Broadway Systems.
Sarah Foss, VP of product management for media at Imagine Communications, adds that their recent acquisition of RGB Networks provides them with widely used dynamic ad insertion technologies. “It gives us a full end-to-end solution at a time when there is definitely some expansive VOD monetization efforts,” she says.
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