Videa, Cox's Video SSP, Plans Connections To Buy and Sell Sides

VideaCox Media Group’s sell-side platform Videa is sinking more hooks into buy- and sell-side systems.

Released earlier this year, Videa has since drummed up strategic partnerships with Gannett, Raycom and Media General on the local broadcaster side. That’s in addition to agency alliances with Carat and Amplifi and demand-side deals with Mediaocean and Videology.

Now in active negotiations with three or four other demand-side platforms, Videa's line of attack involves plugging more gaps in demand and availing more broadcast inventory to be bought and sold programmatically, according to Brad Smith, Videa’s SVP of revenue and operations.

“We see a willingness for buyers and sellers to come to the table with business rules that make sense for them, but a need for standards that will be accepted longer term across the ecosystem,” said Smith.

While a single programmatic TV standard is not yet codified, there are early efforts underway from multiple constituents.

“Both sides are trying to make sense of the key attributes both areas are going to need,” Smith said. He added, “We’ll see soft standards emerge as a result.” 

Smith spoke with AdExchanger. 

AdExchanger: What’s one of the challenges of automating local TV inventory?

BRAD SMITH: It’s been difficult to execute a widespread local buy for some time. What the local broadcasters understand is they’re sitting on this incredibly rich and deep inventory set, but the inventory they’re selling is relatively undervalued because they’re not able to access a whole lot of new sources of demand. What Videa does is expand their ability to sell into these new pools of digital DSPs and agency platforms. 

Are you partnering with broadcasters in addition to DSPs? And what’s a typical use case?

We have partnerships with five broadcasters that we’re working with every day, and they’re seeing a lot of dollars come into their marketplace that they haven’t seen in the past. For an agency buying into the marketplace, putting advertising dollars behind a TV station on a local basis [is a newer phenomenon].

Maybe they’ve touched [a viewer with] national cable where there’s a high waste factor based on what their footprint is, or maybe they’ve touched them online with some video segments where they want to achieve more scale. We’re able to give them this middle avenue where they can go out and get a high reach factor for the customized audience they want, but limit the frequency cap so they are not hitting the same consumer 10 times. Instead, they can balance the reach and frequency of who they covet within that market.

When you strike a deal with a DSP, how does it differ from an agency-buying platform? Does one have closer proximity to the buyer?

There are definitely distinct differences and advantages that we work hard to customize based on. When we talk about our API, which triggers into the trading desks and buying platforms like Videology, there are fundamental rules for buyers and sellers that are different than when we build into a workflow or trafficking platform like Mediaocean or through an agency’s platform. You have to be cognizant of this because it goes back to advertiser-based goals. … How do you customize a product, but ensure it still fits in the bigger ecosystem?

How will programmatic play a role in Cox’s TV automation efforts?

We believe that a forward-reserve model for traditional TV is critical. As much as folks talk about real-time bidding, we’re not a real-time-bidded shop. In a forward-reserve marketplace, giving people the ability to buy programmatic guaranteed inventory allows them to know what’s running … and what their success rate will be in reaching their audience. All these things are table stakes.

What data provisions can you make?

Advertisers [want to know which] viewers you serve, how sticky is content is and how they can match data up to meet their own goals. The first thing you have to tackle is complexity and how do you build simplified swim lanes that allow people to reach traditional audiences or incremental audiences [using data] to move the needle.  Advertisers want to know traditional metrics, like reach and frequency, or newer, undefined [metrics using] data sets that match their needs.

Do you have a data-management platform?

We’re really in the early innings of our data-management platform, but we recognize that the piping and the transactional workflow is table stakes. The value will be about adding data and tools to effectively manage the inventory well. We believe that in order to get full value of your inventory set, you can’t portion it off and sell it as a remnant play. We have partnerships with Nielsen and Rentrak and are consistently working with other third parties to pull in their data sets. We have a dedicated data science team that focuses on just that. We have agency partners who are working through both their trade desks and traditional agencies, which have first-party data they want to apply from the advertiser side.

 

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