Audience Selling Strategies – Tips from The Future of TV Summit at NAB

Blog   |   Lorne Brown   |   May 11, 2017

This year’s Future of TV Summit hosted in partnership with the NAB Show was the must-attend event this year. If you missed it, don’t worry. We’ve kicked off important initiatives for media executives grappling with audience-targeted advertising strategies, that you can be a part of.

This is the second event SintecMedia has hosted with NAB Show and we continue to lay foundational standards for the market as a whole. Nowhere else can the media industry convene to discuss openly the issues facing their businesses as the linear and digital media begin to converge, especially around audience data.

Top TV executives, and leadership from key supporting constituencies, led by televisualist Mitch Oscar, discussed the evolution of selling TV viewership based strictly on age and gender to the inclusion of behavioral characteristics across burgeoning channels and platforms, including linear TV, addressable TV, programmatic TV, mobile video, digital video, ad supported video on demand (VOD), TV Everywhere, OTT/streaming video, and social TV. Most importantly, we discussed what the components of the workflow system need to be to support these cross-media endeavors to maximize profitability and efficiency for inventory owners and concurrently, satisfy the advertising community in its endeavor to service clients.

We had over 100 attendees from around the world discussing the future of TV and audience selling, including ABC, Amazon, Charter Communications, Comcast, ESPN, Fox, GloboSat, M6, NBCU, NCC, Sinclair Broadcasting, and Sky Italia. This invitation only event was closed to the press.

I laid out the event goals, which will extend well past the event: protect core businesses; expand existing business to include non-traditional TV budgets based on audience targeting capabilities; exploit the plethora of data sources based on behavioral characteristics to deliver customizable campaigns to garner incremental revenue; and develop workflow systems for seamless integration to support all of the aforementioned – a complicated process that needs to maintain the television industry’s artful approach to sales and make it a science, without losing the art.

Key workflow areas that were explored during the session:

  • Productization of audience products (rate cards, yield management, proposals and packages)
  • Order execution across the various components of a negotiation i.e., programmatic, self and managed service, direct sales
  • Role of optimizers – inventory forecasting, price and audience optimization
  • Campaign management/maintenance to meet audience delivery expectation
  • Data sources including post-analytic analysis
  • Invoicing

The event also explored  advertising agencies’ participation in the media ecosystem. Ad agencies make money through commissions on executing media plans and buys for their clients. Commission structures shared in the room ranged from 3% in TV to 10% in digital to 15% in advanced TV executions such as addressable and programmatic. Many companies discussed the friction points that prevent a smooth transition from implementing traditional to cross platform campaigns compounded by the pressure from Wall Street on media company and ad agency profitability. One of the “arts” that must be safeguarded as media campaigns become more complicated and workflow more intricate is the special relationship between the buyer and the seller. Everyone wants automation, but no one can afford to lose this unique relationship. The symbiotic relationship must be protected and nurtured.

The attendees then separated into breakout sessions to strategize on how to meet the workflow demands of behavioral characteristic audience planning and buying in the future. Emerging themes included the following:

  • Moving to portfolio-selling models
  • Developing capabilities to ingest marketer’s first party data for campaign planning and execution,
  • Expanding the inventory pool beyond the media company owned properties as well as workflow topics including

The inclusion of more automation in the sales process, moving away from traditional SSPs in order to streamline the cross media workflow process to glean efficiencies that include time-savings and enhance revenue generation. and delivery strategies that encourage cooperation with ad agency buyers.

  • The executives are changing their sales value proposition to strike deals that targeted impressions based on behavioral characteristics rather than the traditional age and gender audience delivery guarantees. New workflow systems, they agreed, were needed to accommodate this shift in approach to cross media and advanced audience targeting capabilities. A universal product catalog: unify all inventory and price it for different sales scenarios and packages for advertisers. As an aside, the room kept referring to the universal product catalog as “unifying the inventory.”
  • Pre-sales yield: maximize the value of inventory by creating packages that exploit intrinsic value of the targeted audiences – perhaps through the utilization of sophisticated optimizers.
  • Post-sales yield: meet the expectations of campaign deliverable while concurrently optimizing impression delivery across screens within campaign flight.

With so much value coming from only four hours, it’s clear that the shift to audience selling, and automation of linear ad sales is a key focus for media companies. SintecMedia is excited to work at the forefront of these issues. Look out for some more events and content that will help media companies make these discussions a functional reality.

As promised, we will soon be releasing a strategic overview of audience targeting and the state of linear and digital advertising sales. We’ve surveyed hundreds of media executives and buyers and are compiling the feedback from the event to create a working roadmap to drive internal discussion about workflow, process, technology and execution.

If you attended and would like to talk further, or if you’d like to hear more about the event and what SintecMedia is doing to lead the charge of technology innovation for linear and digital advertising, email us at In the meantime, be sure to take a look at the photos.

This gathering of the media mandarins could not have happened without our sponsors: Adobe, Brightcove, FreeWheel, Lotame, Matrix Solutions, SpotX and of course, our partner, the NAB.