What is Working in Television Measurement? Interview with Ryan Reed of Lotame

Ryan Reed, Director of Television and Video Solutions at Lotame, started his career at Matrix Solutions , creating sales software for local television groups.  “That was a crash course in TV ad sales, going around to local stations and learning their day-to-day operations,” he said. 

From there he worked for Comcast and Canoe Ventures before moving to Lotame. “It was clear to me that data and audience-based advertising was the place to be. Now everything is coming full circle and audience data is primed to empower local television advertising as these silos break down,” he added.

Charlene Weisler:  Tell me about your company.

Ryan Reed: Lotame has the leading independent data management platform (DMP) and offer the most widely used, trusted and comprehensive data exchange in the industry. Our team aims to continuously find new and meaningful ways to help clients harness the power of data to fuel more relevant and personalized experiences across screens and devices, online and off. 

Charlene Weisler: What is the most dramatic change in the industry since you started, in your opinion?

Ryan Reed: The growth of additional media, hands down.  Some may call this fragmentation, but that’s a very pessimistic view. When you boil it down media is a competition for human attention.  Regardless of how many screens or platforms exist, there is still a pretty static number of people with only so many waking hours of the day (in the US this would be around 319 million people with 16 hours or 5.1 billion hours of attention).

The biggest difference from the start of the 21st century (when I left college) is that media is an ever-growing percentage of our available time.  Before it was only TV when you woke up, radio and billboards on your way to and from work, then TV when you got home, with some web surfing maybe thrown in.  Now we have these magical devices in our pockets giving us social media, podcasts, video, and news whenever we want. And even our work machines give us the ability to be distracted by media. If you work in media or advertising, this means that there are more and more chances to reach people, but it gets harder to reach them at scale.

Charlene Weisler: What is your opinion on local television measurement in general? What is working and what needs improvement?

Ryan Reed: Overall, the marketplace undervalues local audiences due to a lack of audience data.  Advertisers know local broadcast is the best medium and provides the best local reach.  What we need to be able to provide is dynamic audience capabilities that the large national cable and broadcasters are developing to local station groups. Brands and their agencies want to measure their impact on audiences across different screens and local television completes that picture.

Charlene Weisler: How much impact do you think programmatic TV will have on local television in the next couple of years?

Ryan Reed: It’s tough to guess this on a relatively short timeframe. Even if we had perfect technology, the TV industry is a very large ship to try to turn around.  It will only take hold if the tech can work for all parties involved. TV programmers are very protective of their inventory. So the digital version of programmatic where inventory is thrown into a black box exchange isn’t going to work. We need to demonstrate that for stations and networks, the technology is getting them full value for their inventory that wouldn’t have been achieved before. For agencies, we need to demonstrate that the audiences they’re trying to engage can be reached more efficiently without spots being thrown away on the wrong audiences

Charlene Weisler: What is your definition of TV?

Ryan Reed: The delivery of audiovisual content to a consumer’s device.

Charlene Weisler: What should local TV priorities be in the next 2-3 years?

Ryan Reed: In broad terms, it’s the same as it has always been -- providing quality news and entertainment to consumers while demonstrating value to advertisers. What that means in the 2010s is embracing clients’ data-driven demands to show how local reach engages the audience that a brand reaches on competing mediums.  This means fighting old habits of how you buy and sell while embracing empirical and impartial data to meet clients’ needs.  

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