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Converged TV Buying Needs Operational Agreements: Amobee’s Smolin

Advanced TV targeting and transacting capabilities promise to bring together TV and digital video marketing strategies in a single whole – but that may require ad agencies’ own teams getting on the same page first.

GroupM’s North America CEO Tim Castree used Beet Retreat to call for the industry to develop common standards for measuring ads on an impression basis.

Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer of Amobee, in this video interview with Beet.TV, said agency in-fighting is stopping standardization.

Amobee, whose TV initiatives took off thanks to its earlier acquisition of Videology Group, helps advertisers buy and sell across 30-second connected TV and other video inventory. It is a media management software provider helping in the use of data for planning, transacting, measuring and analyzing ads across TV, digital and social.

Smolin spoke at Beet Retreat in the City, “We’re Going Local!” with Janet Balis, EY Global Advisory Services Leader for Media & Entertainment.

‘Fights’ holding back agreements

Smolin said technology is not holding back standardization – “operational” disagreements, between agencies’ distinct traditional TV-buying and programmatic trading desk teams, are.

“There’s kind of a fight in a lot of agencies over who gets control over that, on who’s going to lead in that going forward,” Smolin said. “On the sell side, you have a similar challenge in that, up until very recently, most of the broadcasters, programmers and MVPDs have generally been leaning back in regards to programmatic, as opposed to leaning forward.”

Three steps to converged agencies

Asked by Balis if technology was “out-innovating the market readiness”, Smolin said he saw a three-step process through which agencies can prepare themselves to buy in this converged fashion…

  1. Converged measurement: “(If) you’ve got separate teams, just have a single view.”
  2. Converged planning: “It may be TV first, it may digital first.”
  3. Converge management: “Are you going to have a single team that is doing all of your upfronts as well as all of your digital and all of your social? Hopefully it should be within the next 24 months and definitely within the next 36.”

Ongoing optimization

Smolin said advanced TV ad buyers that are profiting from the opportunity don’t want to be named, seeing the technique as a “competitive advantage”.

“We are seeing some organizations that are pretty evolved with their traditional TV investment teams, very data-driven. They are doing data-driven (TV) upfronts, and then they are taking those and using digital KPIs measured against the linear TV upfronts in order to do monthly and, for some of their brands, weekly planning updates.”

Why Amobee acquired Videology

The company spent $101 million on the TV and video ad-tech supplier in 2018. But what was the rationale?

“Amobee’s heritage as a technology platform was in programmatic,” Smolin said. “Programmatic evolved out of remnant display advertising; it’s demand-constrained.

“But when you look at TV, it’s supply constrained. It introduces the dimension of time, upfronts, reservations.

“It’s very different algorithms in order to solve those problems effectively. We realized it would take us years to build (this new kind of software).”

This video is part of a series from the Beet Retreat in the City, “We’re Going Local!” hosted by GroupM Worldwide and sponsored by Amobee, Comcast Spotlight, TVSquared and WideOrbit. Please visit this page for additional segments.