Q&A Interview with Shereta Williams, President, Videa.

Shereta Williams, President of Videa grew up on a farm in rural Georgia before moving to Boston to study electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Her career has taken her from financial start-ups and mergers and acquisitions at Lazard to Cox Media Group. She is currently the president of Videa which, she says is “a Cox-Media-Group-backed supply-side platform bringing automation and data-driven decision-making to broadcast television.”

Williams sees a great synergy in her expansive background. She states that ”I am driven by a desire to create value and all of the paths leading to my current role – farming, finance and engineering – are ultimately about creating growth.  In the following interview she talks about her work with broadcast networks, TV measurement and the future of TV programmatic and the media environment in general.

CW: Tell me about your company, current job and projects?

SW: Videa brings automation and data-driven decision-making to broadcast television. We debuted earlier this year and recently announced over 10 strategic partnerships including Mediaocean, Videology, and Raycom to bring audience-driven buying and new demand to spot television. I lead the organization in overall strategic and product direction. I have over a decade of experience with Cox in various investment, strategy and development roles focused on digital media. We launched our beta product this past December and officially debuted at the 2015 National Association of Broadcasters Show. We are launching our commercial product this fall.

CW: What type of strategic partnerships – can you be more specific?

SW: Videa is currently working with seven key broadcast partners including Gannett, Raycom, Media General, Graham Media, and Cox as well as major advertising agencies including Carat / Amplifi and Starcom to enhance and simplify the buying and selling of TV advertising. In April of this year, Videa inked a key partnership with Mediaocean to provide agencies unprecedented speed, efficiency and transparency to traditional local broadcast media transactions. As part of the agreement, Videa will be the supply partner for broadcast inventory that will be initially available through Mediaocean’s Spectra.

CW: Do you work with just broadcast or do you also work with cable networks?

SW: We work with broadcasters. By utilizing our platform, local broadcasters can now leverage automation and data to enhance existing selling approaches and increase demand to their inventory. Our solution optimizes inventory, simplifies workflows and increases revenue for broadcasters.

CW: Where do you think programmaticTV is today?

SW: Programmatic buying has been one of the biggest buzzwords this year in the traditional media ecosystem. Until about 18 months ago, programmatic buying was mostly restricted to the digital display business. And nearly 40 percent of all U.S. digital ad spend is expected to be conducted through programmatic buying transactions in 2015 according to eMarketer. Now, programmatic practices are more commonly applied to the sale of other media including TV.

Programmatic buying has become a viable and growing option for TV advertising this year and the multibillion dollar local market is in play – spot TV, in particular. In programmatic, buying is more automated and the targeting method of choice is based on audience spending insights as opposed to broad demographics. Today programmatic TV offers a variety of benefits, which improve the standard linear TV advertising model. For example, having an automated buying process saves time for ad buyers and sellers since many of the resource-heavy elements of these transactions can be streamlined. Additionally, advertisers can add consumer spending data to their purchasing plan to ensure they target viewers with the most appropriate messaging.

CW: Where do you think it will be in 2017?

SW: In 2017, advertisers will be able to purchase audiences across platform (digital and TV) based on enhanced data attributes more efficiently than they can buy stand-alone digital and TV today. It will allow for relevant messages to consumers and more engagement with audiences.

CW: Do you think TV measurement metrics will change from the current Nielsen currency?

SW: I think measurement will change over time to include more spending, behavioral and psychographic data in addition to demographic and viewing data. So I’m not sure Nielsen goes away so much as it gets augmented with additional information on who is viewing what.

CW: Give me some predictions regarding television and how it will look in the next five years.

SW: I think I saw a quote somewhere that “TV is the new TV” and I think that’s right. TV companies invest a tremendous amount of resources in creating quality, engaging content and that investment will allow them to continue to extend their audiences and business models across all platforms – online, OTT, mobile, etc. The content bundles, currencies and distribution models may be different but the providers and their ability to pair advertisers with their audiences will continue. I do think there are likely to be some new networks that emerge from MCNs but the existing networks will evolve and grow as well.

This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com

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