TV networks to evolve demos and roll out single trading interface

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 9 April 2018

TV inventory will be traded via a single interface and advertisers will soon be able to buy audience segments as well as demos across the three free to air TV networks, according to revenue chiefs at Seven, Nine and Ten.

All three FTA networks and MCN, the sales house of Ten and Foxtel, are fully aligned on a single trading interface for TV.

Nine and Seven have now advanced their automated technology capabilities to a level where this is possible while MCN has led the market on automated trading technology.

TV networks have trialled the single hub idea before, but Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette points out that it previously failed because the networks were at different stages of developing their trading platforms.

“Everyone now has their technology up to date to be able to allow the next stage of a single buying portal to happen,” he adds.

Burnette reckons a single trading interface like this will roll out to market within the next 12 months.

Nine chief sales officer Michael Stephenson tells AdNews it means a media buyer would be able to log in once, brief once, and transact through a single dashboard, removing the friction of having three separate systems to buy television. The interface would exist on top of the network's different backend trading systems.

“We all have our own independent system and we will as a group make television easier to buy by developing an interface that sits in between individual systems and our demand sources, which is media agencies," Stephenson says. "This is inevitable and important and we should make TV easier to buy for our agencies.”

Evolving demos

Another area where there is broad agreement is evolving the demos and audience segments that advertisers can buy against.

“We have over time reduced the number of demos we trade on to make the advertising and transaction more efficient,” Stephenson says, adding that Nine trades against 46 demos.

He says Nine is “adapting to the modern world” by using the data gained from 5.4 million signed in users on 9Now and aligning this with third-party data suppliers to create a range of audience segments.

“We will begin to trade against demos and audience segments as we move into a world that aligns targeting and reach to deliver the most effective outcomes for advertisers,” Stephenson adds.

“It’s not a case of demos or segments, it’s more a matter of ‘and’. Advertisers will be able to buy demographics from us, some will be able to buy audience segments from us and some might like to buy demographics optimised against a specific audience segment.”

We need 'buyergraphics'

Network Ten executive general manager of revenue Rod Prosser says the “old 25-54” has to evolve to reflect modern realities of a greying population.

“60% of our inventory is bought on that demographic, now I think that has got to change. Marketers need to look at different consumer segments and reflect that in their demo," Prosser says.

“OzTAM is gold standard and far greater than anything else out there. That said, it needs to evolve. In terms of demographics, we need to move to what I call ‘buyer-graphics’ – or consumer segments if you like.”

Ten has reduced the number of demographics it trades on “because some of them are less relevant”.

Prosser believes the journey towards addressable advertising will require networks to trade more on consumer segments.

He also believes that the industry "can't continue to look at overnights" and needs to focus on gross ratings impact that includes catch up audiences.

"The content is distributed so much further than a linear screen now that the gross ratings impact needs to be considered. That needs to happen through OzTAM and is the evolution of being able to sell one single currency that is delivered cross-platform."

Burnette believes TV must move towards behavioural-based metrics that link to short and long-term ROI.

“There’s no question that needs to form part of the planning, buying and post-analysis," he adds. "It is happening, we are talking about this now but how we make it a daily currency is the thing that is going to take some time."

Burnette believes TV networks will roll this out within the next year and the “digital language” being used in targeting and consumer segments will make it easier.

“This is where the digital language is helping people feel more comfortable working in that space and then it comes back to how you can overlay that in television on IP and back to the linear broadcast,” he says.

MCN boss Anthony Fitzgerald has already laid out his support for evolving demos and trading, recently pointing out that next year he will turn 55 and move outside of the arbitrary 25-54 demo range and no longer be targeted.

Last week, TV revenue chiefs told AdNews they would support reduced ad loads on TV if the market was willing to pay.

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