It’s no secret that everyone in the TV advertising business is trying to make ads more data-driven, automated and effective as platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon double down on their efforts to siphon away TV ad dollars. Videa is one company that is having a real impact, tightly focusing on helping TV broadcast stations become more competitive in the fast-changing ad business. I caught up with Videa’s president Shereta Williams recently for an update.
Videa had a strong 2018 and is closing in on relationships with 600 different stations from all major station owners spanning nearly 160 markets around the U.S., with Shereta adding that the goal is to have 90% coverage by the end of 2019. Through these partnerships Videa gains access to the stations’ full schedule of local inventory across all dayparts in the stations’ primary linear feed, regardless of whether the viewer is accessing over the air, via pay-TV or a virtual pay-TV operator (e.g. YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, etc.). Some virtual pay-TV operators enable dynamic ad replacement or non-linear ads and Videa is not selling those ads. Videa is 100% linear at this time but they aspire to sell across the other streams in the future.
Videa in turn enables a huge array of buyers, both agencies and brands to build campaigns accessing desired spot inventory. In this way, Videa acts as an extension to the station’s national ad sales team, broadening its reach and bringing new demand sources to the table, which the station’s sellers service. Shereta said campaigns typically focus 1-2 quarters ahead.
Recently Videa added Comscore TV data in its automation platform, giving buyers this additional data source and campaign measurement capability in the Videa platform. Shereta noted that the Comscore integration means buyers can see viewer data at the market or station level, access reporting by daypart or unit and other key analytics. All Videa inventory was already Nielsen measured, so the Comscore data is complementary.
Looking ahead, Shereta said stations owners are increasingly focused on distributing their signals OTT, creating new non-linear networks/content (e.g. Sinclair’s Stirr), distributing via virtual pay-TV operators and leveraging ATSC 3.0 for mobile delivery. Videa is working with its station partners to better automate and monetize all of this new inventory that is being created as well.
As I wrote last week (“Signs of Ad Model’s Growing Role in Video Are Everywhere”), there is a massive industry wide push on right now to roll out ad-supported or hybrid ad-supported OTT video offerings. These will further fragment audiences and create an even more competitive battleground for TV and digital ad spending. In this context, Videa looks like an increasingly valuable partner for local stations to compete effectively.