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How to Package Inventory This Fall to Make Up for Lost High-Value Programming

Posted by Ashley J. Swartz on Sep 22, 2020 9:00:00 AM

How to Package Inventory This Fall to Make Up for Lost High-Value Programming

The marketplace for TV and video advertising is incredibly dynamic right now, and it’s hard to be certain of anything. On the one hand, major sports have all returned, which is great news for buyers and sellers alike, but we can’t necessarily count on an uninterrupted NFL season. And while studios are finding ways to safely resume production, we’re still left with much less premium primetime programming than we can usually count on in the fall.

The top-shelf inventory we do currently have will be supply-constrained, which means that sellers need to be strategic about how they package and merchandise their inventory to meet buyers’ needs. For example, broadcasters and MVPDs will need to build packages that reach large male audiences for advertisers that are shut out of live sports. And this requires taking a deep dive into data to find what those viewers are watching and how that programming can be most effectively bundled to replicate the reach of lost high-value programming.

Here are two approaches to take when packaging and merchandising your inventory this fall:

1. Enable Narrow-Casted Linear Buys by Packaging Programming with Similar Audiences

Live sports are a bright spot for sellers—as is a new season of “The Bachelorette” (produced in a bubble) for ABC. But the reality is that broadcast networks won’t have new live-action sitcoms or dramas to air until at least November.

With so much premium primetime programming removed from the equation, driving incremental value from less popular content is imperative. This can be accomplished by bundling Tier 2 and Tier 3 content with similar audiences, which can let buyers target a large share of the people they would have reached with Tier 1 buys.

To achieve this objective, developing a much deeper understanding of the audience profiles of programming that’s normally sold within dayparts and broad rotators is key. Armed with those insights, sellers can define new packages for TV buyers, enabling them to over-index against a specific audience, such as men between 18 and 34 or affluent women.

The new packages you create by adopting this strategy won’t sound as premium or prestigious as primetime, but, again, they can deliver very similar audiences.

2. Bundle Networks or Stations to Replicate the Reach of HVP

Instead of packaging networks by tier, do it by content adjacency or vertical. This can help replicate the reach of high-value programming while also letting advertisers over-index against their desired audience. If you’re a national broadcaster like NBC or Turner, this could mean bundling your lifestyle networks. If you’re an MVPD, it could mean selling your home, garden and DIY channels as a package.

If you’re a local broadcaster, you should look at bundling dayparts across different stations, combining content such as courtroom dramas and tabloid talk shows that reaches similar audiences.

These two strategies represent a departure from normal ways of selling, but they can help advertisers come close to replicating the reach and audiences they can’t get from the limited amount of high-value programming that’s available right now.

To learn more about how to drive value from underutilized inventory and why active inventory management is crucial, click here. Content Library