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TV Group Power Players Launch Unified Automated Ad Sales Front

Broadcast groups representing hundreds of TV stations, who banded together earlier this year to leverage the possibilities of next-gen TV, are pressing for the next generation of automated local spot TV advertising.

Sinclair, Tribune, Nexstar, and Tegna (a new addition to the group) are announcing Monday (Nov. 20) that they have formed the TIP (TV Interface Practices) industry working group.

That comes in the wake of the FCC's approval last week of the next-gen, IP-based ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmission standard that will make it easier to automate the process of buying and selling local spot advertising.

If it is easier to place local TV spot ads, they theorize, that should boost the volume of those buys, and dollars flowing into local station coffers. That will happen by creating standard processes across TV stations nationwide, which will make it easier to compete with automated buying of national broadcast advertising.

Sinclair, which has a deal to merge with Tribune awaiting government decisionmakers, and Nexstar, which was said to be eyeing Tegna earlier this year, joined up in May to leverage the various value-addeds of ATSC 3.0.

What they will be working toward in TIP is agreement across the TV station community on standards-based, nonproprietary API's (application programming interfaces)  for electronic ad transactions that will make buying and selling local spot easier and more efficient, including through "dynamic pricing and cross-screen integration."

The group is seeking other industry players to join the group and has issued a white paper, "Interface Automation Guidelines for Local TV Transactions."

TIP's backers say the initiative will benefit broadcasters "looking to standardize interfaces for scale and make it easier to conduct transactions," "tech vendors "interested in defining a technology roadmap that supports their industry and client needs," and agencies looking to automate manual steps and give their clients more options.

“The goal of the TIP initiative is to accelerate local TV interoperability by creating a coalition of system providers to work with buyers and sellers to develop and implement streamlined transaction workflows using standards-based open APIs,” said Nexstar Chairman Perry Sook. Sook is also chair of the Television Bureau of Advertising, which will be the "repository" of TIP's work on the ad initiative.
They expect the result will be: "Increased process efficiencies and less manual entry;    Paperless transactions [that] reduce phone, fax, paper, and printer costs; Increased accountability with audit-trail tracking; secure and neutral [process]; and anytime, anywhere access."

“Many of our advertising agency partners have told us they are unable to leverage our valuable television ad inventory because outdated processes leave them with little or no margin to support a local spot buy,” said Sinclair President  Chris Ripley. “The TIP Initiative demonstrates the industry’s shared commitment to working together with technology providers and advertising partners to develop open standards-based solutions for efficient automated buying and selling of broadcast TV spot inventory.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.