Programmatic TV poised for take off

7 November 2014

NAPA, CA: Programmatic has grown quickly in the digital advertising space and is poised for a similarly rapid uptake in linear TV, industry figures have suggested.

"Brands are taking control of the wheelhouse," according to Gary Milner, director/global digital marketing at computer giant Lenovo. He told Beet.tv that brands were "not so much dictating what needs to be done as directing the conversation" and so forcing agency partners to address how they bought video.

"Brands are starting to understand the power of what programmatic can bring in transparency, in reach, and scale and measurement," he said, adding that he expected programmatic TV buying would "significantly accelerate".

Keith Weed, CMO at FMCG group Unilever, told The Drum that programmatic TV was "a potential destination that will grow and develop". Brands were currently in the experimenting and learning phase, he said as he compared the situation to that which prevailed only recently in social media.

"Would you have predicted how brands would engage on Facebook five years ago?" he asked. "The answer is absolutely not."

No-one had known just how social media would evolve "and I think that's the respect we need to have with this whole new area of marketing," Weed stated. "You've got to be flexible, you can't put in five year plans and stoically stick with them."

Milner also highlighted the possibility that programmatic would bring more advertisers to television as the advent of addressable TV would enable brands without large budgets to buy more specific audiences, ultimately down to the level of household set-top box.

That scenario, however, was still some way off. A more immediate concern for advertisers was likely to be how best to produce content for programmatic buying parameters.

A challenge for brands, he said, was "how to build the right creative for the right audience at the right time". The idea that one agency might do that "is probably not going to work long term," he added.

Among media owners, the fear of ad fraud remains a deterrent to adopting programmatic. Simon Daglish, commercial director at ITV, a UK commercial network, pointed to some recent figures from the US where three new botnets had been generating 30m video views per day, fraudulently earning as much as $10m.

"While these are US figures, it's not hard to believe that this fraud is endemic in the UK," he said.

Data sourced from Beet.tv, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff