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Cut Through Complexity with Data-Driven Solutions

Posted by Trish Lemley on Jul 2, 2019 1:00:00 PM


image credit: HAKINMHAN/

TV ad sales is a high-volume, fast-paced business with many clients to please, KPIs to track and deliver against and sales budgets to hit. As a result, TV sellers are pressured to come up with creative plans to reach their clients’ goals at the right price, all while leveraging their inventory. Too often, they are forced to rely on what they know advertisers will respond to, rather than exploring their entire house of wares. This is mainly due to the inability of systems to deliver quick and accurate information.

Advertisers looking to reach Men 25-54, for example, might be automatically led to content on ESPN, Fox, or TNT Sports, rather than to unconventional content on networks like Adult Swim, Comedy Central or USA. While completely understandable, this creates a few problems. What’s unsold will continue to sit on the shelf, while what’s popular will be oversold and increase in price. More importantly, there might be less “shiny” content that actually drives better results for the desired audience that remains hidden and might need to be priced more competitively.

At Furious, we’ve seen time and time again the ability for data to uncover hidden assets in any given video portfolio; and that’s not the only benefit to a data-driven approach. Here are several additional areas where more insightful data can help:

Timely rate cards

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as dynamic pricing in television right now. Media companies do their best to look at historical pricing, programming, seasonal trends and known nuances to make partially informed decisions on pricing at all levels. Instead of incorporating current weekly supply and demand information, they’re only able to draw on data from the previous quarter or year.

Switching to a more machine-driven environment—which tracks historical inventory trends over many years and creates forward-looking forecasting based on data science—can generate optimized inventory pricing on a weekly basis. This results in huge improvements to the bottom line. Over time, the promise of dynamic pricing based on real-time analysis of supply and demand becomes a reality.

Informed inventory allocation— upfronts vs. scatter

Every year, media companies are faced with an analytical challenge: how much inventory do they lock up in the upfront, at what price point, and how much should they leave for the scatter market? This problem also translates to the analysis of annual vs. incremental as well as interconnect vs. local.

Today, given the amount of systems, databases and lack of communication between them, all of this becomes a very challenging exercise. As a result, sellers need better visibility into their inventory options and tools to allow them to identify opportunities to allocate their inventory in optimal ways.

Informed inventory allocation— traditional vs. new ad products

TV sellers also have to optimize their inventory across multiple sales channels and inventory types, all in a timely manner. They need a quick and easy way to identify all buckets of inventory that will be used for analysis and sales, such as regular linear, digital, OTT, streaming, addressable, audience-based, programmatic, and more.

Leveraging systems that aggregate and normalize data in addition to applying machine learning, opens up the ability to run scenarios for optimal allocation and pricing. While there is often a lack of history to prove a new ad product’s effectiveness, insightful data can highlight the opportunity cost or provide measurable risk scenarios. Essentially, data offers an “eyes wide open” approach to allocating inventory to newer ad platforms.

As the media business continues to get more complex, and the many ways to reach consumers increases, the industry desperately needs tools that will allow companies to hear the signal through the noise. Ultimately, the mindset shift to a data-driven organization could be a win-win for buyers and sellers alike. Advertisers get campaigns that prove more effective in reaching their desired audience and their bottomline KPI’s, while sellers more accurately create packaging for said campaigns, move inventory that might remain unsold otherwise, and uncover key insights into inventory and pricing to help inform all areas of their business.

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