The Next Big Step Towards Local TV Programmatic

There is a lot of talk about programmatic moving into television but there are few experts in the industry when it comes to programmatic specifically in local TV. Magna’s Janice Finkel-Greene is one of those experts. She knows local broadcast and her collaboration with Wide Orbit in the area of local broadcast programmatic has led to a transformative new initiative called “Wide Orbit Central” which has been announced this week. 

I sat down with Finkel-Greene who filled me in on the details in this video.

She explains, “What we are trying to address with this new application is to improve the local buying process as we introduce elements of programmatic buying to it… It puts the buying process into an automated framework.”

Currently, buying local broadcast is time consuming. It is bought by individual market and tends to concentrate in low value inventory. There is also the issue of local television measurement which is challenged by low sample, large relative error and therefore performance bounce. This new application, available to all agencies and broadcast stations and affiliates, is considered “programmatic in spirit” in that it is console to console with near real time buying and reporting. It is connected directly to a traffic system (Wide Orbit) as opposed to connected to a source of inventory like other local sellers in the space. Finkel-Greene describes the application as “local TV programmatic on a national scale offering the ability to buy all broadcast across the US.” While it does not include cable at this time, there are plans to expand into cable as a next step. 

The stations decide which inventory they want to sell by DMA. Finkel-Greene says that the system is transparent in that it surfaces “markets, stations, times and dayparts. Currently, programmatic TV is a dark pool arena for local TV – there is not a lot of disclosure.” What Wide Orbit Central offers is a data driven solution, according to Finkel-Greene who notes, “We overlay qualitative data and if a station offer meets our criteria, we can buy it. It is data driven, not whimsical.”

Finkel-Greene concludes, “The transparency and speed of the Wide Orbit Central platform creates the feedback loop we need for continuous optimization.  It makes insights actionable by providing the opportunity to place buys nationally while targeting to the local market specifics.  It’s the best of both worlds.”

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