placemedia's Big Week-Transforming TV Ad Placement by Leveraging Value of TV vs. Web

By Peter Bernstein September 26, 2013

It has been an interesting week for Salt Lake City, UT-based placemedia, which is hitting the ground running with the first fully-automated self-service portal for national television advertisers. Starting at the beginning of the week the company successively:

  • Was launched by parent company Viamedia, the cable industry's leading independent cable rep firm and provider of online advertising services;
  • Released findings from its 2013 Advertisers Survey—done in August by research firm uSAMP with 264 advertising executives across the United States;
  • Unveiled its first capability, “placemedia Edge,” an advertising Web-based exchange that lets advertisers plan, place, buy, traffic and track campaigns targeted at specific audiences;
  • Revealed collaboration with media content management and network infrastructure provider Harris Broadcast on a solution to automate impression-based ad sales for linear television.

You may think that television is losing its edge as a way to deliver advertisers value, and that the allure of the Web is so irresistible that TV, particularly local and cable channels, would be looking at scenarios similar to those that hit the publishing industry; but think again.

What is different, and what placemedia is attempting to take advantage of, is the process of buying and placing ads has been manual -- along with the ability to properly target and track those ads -- and the company is being posited to disrupt that space.

The survey says . . .

The best place to start is in looking at the context for why Viamedia decided that creating placemedia was a niche ready and waiting for a major makeover. The first major finding says it all in that 89 percent of respondents felt television video impressions were more important than online video impressions.  They have a point in that TV still accounts for a whopping 97 percent of all video viewings, and that the TV screen is still the primary delivery vehicle for long-engagement viewing. This is why the so-called growth of “second-screen” interactions—enhancing the user experience by enabling them to use their tablets and smartphones to leverage the visual superiority of the TV—is a complement to TV service viewing broadly defined, and not a threat.

In addition, 88 percent stated there are benefits in better targeting in television advertising, including:

  • Better delivery of a message that relates to their viewers' interests (57 percent);
  • More effective use of advertising resources (42 percent);
  • Better use of advertising dollars (42 percent);
  • Increased return on investment (38 percent);
  • Less tune-out from consumers (29 percent);
  • Better delivery of desired goods directly to the consumer (27 percent);
  • More efficient campaign development (21 percent).

Additionally, when measuring the impact of television and online video among consumers, advertising professionals said television video impressions are more valuable than online video impressions not only when you need a wide variety of people to see it (69 percent), but also, when they want to create anticipation for an event (27 percent). This was followed by when they want to show they have arrived (23 percent), they want to build excitement (22 percent), they want to make sure the entire video has been watched (19 percent), and they need an immediate response (13 percent).

When it came to small businesses, 95 percent of advertising executives felt that video advertisements on cable or broadcast TV are highly effective, with the majority of respondents stating it introduces product to people in the surrounding area (66 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) said video ads on cable or TV  make small businesses look as big as national brands, followed by 36 percent who said these advertisements provide a local call to action, and 23 percent who said they show that the company has arrived.  Only 5 percent said video ads on cable or television is not helpful to small businesses.

However, value does not always translate into action. The survey found that nearly all respondents (97 percent) said there is something keeping small businesses from buying ads for broadcast or cable.  Not surprisingly, cost (89 percent of respondents) led the list but production challenges, process complexity and other forms of advertising being deemed a better use of finite marketing budgets were also cited.  

Viamedia CEO and Co-Founder, Jeff Carter stated that, “Now with placemedia we can provide that same enterprise-quality solution and scale it to any business needs in a targeted fashion, for any viewer in any territory . . . We look forward to introducing advertisers to a new, more efficient and fully automated system that can lower cost-per-impression while enabling businesses to effectively target their campaigns so that they can better engage their customers."

Product and partner

The fact of the matter is that consumer face time (pardon the expression) still is TV-centric, with consumers watching an average of four hours and 39 minutes of television each day.  Yes, the Internet has diminished audiences. And, yes the explosion of cable and Internet channels has fragmented audiences even more with the result that ad dollars are shifting from TV to online as advertisers search for more precise targeting and campaign measurement. However, Carter and his team are betting that providing advertisers with a viable solution that encompasses multiple media formats, gives their customers the best of both worlds: the brand building power of television, and improved audience measurement and accountability advertisers have come to expect online. 

placemedia Edge is the first in a series of solutions designed to help its customers monetize programming across all networks, by both cutting costs through automation and making it easy and fast to strategically buy, place and track ads. “placemedia Engage will revolutionize the way independent agencies and advertisers of all sizes plan, place, and buy television programming,” said Derek Mattsson, president of placemedia. “placemedia solves the puzzle of audience fragmentation for media companies by monetizing their underutilized inventory and for advertisers by delivering more efficient targeting.”

The Harris Broadcast collaboration is key to this. Harris services more than 3,000 broadcasters, cable networks, MSOs and mobile and IPTV providers in 140 countries. As Mattsson notes regarding Harris Broadcast’s role, they are “Providing the front-end software and user interface to transact exchanges, and a powerful tool to optimize performance for specific advertisers as well as the overall placemedia platform.” As Scott Criley, director of media and workflow at Harris Broadcast stated, “Our platform provides placemedia’s customers with an easy-to-use tool for the purchase of impression-based inventory, while NetGain enables placemedia to manage and analyze vast amounts of data coming into the placemedia advertising portal, providing tools to effectively manage that data and make it actionable.”

The Harris Broadcasts platform provides a simple and efficient user experience for media companies less familiar with online buying processes. The interface uses terminology and processes that are familiar to broadcast TV stations and cable networks, for example. Mattsson says this was important to placemedia since, “The Harris Broadcast solution was designed with a TV perspective in mind. We deliberately did not want to repurpose Internet ad sales technology for linear television; rather, we focused on delivering a transformative technology platform that is tailored specifically to TV advertisers and media companies.”

 As noted at the top, this was a big week and a well-orchestrated coming out party. These kinds of introductions are indicative of the ability of process automation, the Web and big data to literally transform traditional businesses. In this instance, the automation process benefits are poised to give an old industry some new life. Given the real shift of face time away from broadcasting and cable, and the emergence of the Net as seen on TV, where placemedia goes next to take advantage of the undeniable march of actual rather than promised convergence will be interesting to keep an eye on.

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