WideOrbit, an ad tech platform that works with local stations, said it launched ZingX, a buy-side platform agencies and advertisers can use to access TV inventory.
“With over 20 years’ experience as the leader in premium broadcast technology and the largest sell-side processor of premium advertising, WideOrbit is excited to bring that expertise to the buy side with ZingX,” WideOrbit founder and CEO Eric Mathewson said. “Optimized for the buyer, ZingX leverages WO Marketplace, our sell-side platform broadcasters already use, making it easy for buyers to access the reach, effectiveness, and brand safety of premium local TV advertising.”
ZingX automates the ad-buying process, enabling users to build a campaign by defining a budget, price goals, audiences, target markets and dayparts. Users can also preview allocated impressions and budgets and adjust them if needed.
The new platform is aimed at ad agencies and demand-side platforms that specialize in digital advertising but are being asked by their clients to expand into TV, Brian Thoman, senior VP of software engineering, told Broadcasting+Cable.
“The traditional method of buying isn't going away,” Thoman said. The buying done via ZingX will be “incremental at first, at least at the start. It's the digital brands, the digital agencies, the DSPs buying TV where they haven't been buying TV. They may buy cable networks or local cable, but they haven't broken into local broadcast. Those are the targets.”
WideOrbit has had ZingX in beta before the launch.
"Our two-year partnership with WideOrbit has made broadcast TV extraordinarily simple for our clients to buy, putting large audiences and scalability at their fingertips," said Michelle Ricciuti, director, media strategy at Bliss Point Media, part of Tinuiti. "The addition of broadcast TV complements our branded performance approach with patented tech to build brand value, acquire customers, and boost digital conversions."
ZingX could only automate local broadcast buying so much because few local stations are automated end to end.
“There’s a trafficking system in the middle, so our platform presents the buy-side offers to the sell side and they can review that in our WO Marketplace SSP, review that against the business they have currently on their books and make a decision whether to accept or reject that offer,” Thoman said.
An optimizer built into ZingX is designed to predict that acceptance and what the price should be, he said.
“After that point, getting the order into the traffic system is WideOrbit’s bread and butter. We’ve had our other platforms doing that for decades,” Thoman said.
Despite the human element still being a part of the equation, media buys through ZingX can still be executed quickly, often in the same week. If an order is made on Monday, the spot could be on the air by Wednesday, Thoman said. There’s more of a crunch for an order made on Thursday because of how weekend ad logs are compiled.
Bottom line, ZingX is a step in the right direction, Thoman said. “It needs to be easier to buy TV,“ he said. “It’s cumbersome, it’s challenging and there are always going to be hand-held deals for very premium inventory. But I think the balance of the business is going to start to move to automated platforms, especially because digital is so accessible and easy to buy. The broadcast and linear channels are going to have to move in that direction.” ■
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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.