The Many Paths to Convergence

By Holly Rae

How (and Why) Media Companies are
Unifying Their Advertising Business

Media companies know that “convergence” is a critical next step to take for their business. Convergence can mean many things, but usually refers to the idea of bringing different media assets together – like linear and digital, or video and over-the-top (OTT) services. For Operative, convergence is about the unification of media assets to enable companies to sell, execute and measure advertising more effectively to accelerate business growth.

We built AOS, an intelligent media platform, to provide flexibility for every media company who has multiple media assets to execute on selling their media in a converged way. AOS uses cloud technology to provide unification that drives smarter decisions, helps media companies sell more effectively,  limit liability and streamline operations.

In this article, we’ll explain why convergence is so valuable today, and how any media company can succeed with an approach tailored to their unique business.

Why Convergence Matters Now

For decades, media companies have operated their companies as separate but similar businesses. A broadcaster might have local and national advertising arms using different sales teams, products and platforms. Another media company may have linear, OTT and digital businesses that operate separately from one another. 

These separate operational units present challenges in the unification of media businesses across the market. Companies know they could sell more effectively, reduce overhead and optimize their inventory with a unified model, but legacy systems and entrenched teams can be slow to change. As long as there have been different media channels, there has been tension around how much a company tries to unify those businesses. 

While the concept of convergence has been around for several years, companies have been slow to adopt, resulting in stronger pressure to unify as viewership shifts to digital. There are a few factors that are motivating companies. The first is the growth and opportunity of OTT through Connected TV (CTV) devices. In the US, OTT is overtaking linear TV in total ad sales. When digital came on the scene, it was so different from linear TV that many media companies were justified in having different sales departments and systems. However, OTT is a perfect hybrid of TV and digital, requiring the expertise of both to sell it well. What’s more, advertisers want a single proposal, cross-channel optimization and streamlined reporting. And, media companies are realizing that they need more insight to plan effectively.Media companies are also under mounting economic pressure to grow. The tech platforms like Google, Amazon and Meta continue to build their businesses, while traditional media companies fight for additional ad revenue and audience reach. To be competitive, media companies need to modernize so that they can be more nimble and more scalable. 

Convergence is about the unification of media assets to enable companies to sell, execute and measure advertising more effectively to accelerate business growth.

Gearing Up For Convergence

Most people know convergence isn’t about “if,” or even “when,” but rather “how” they go about it. No matter where a company is in their journey, it’s possible to achieve major business advantages with a phased approach. Operative provides the solutions and the expert guidance on how to go about selecting and migrating to a platform that is built for converged selling.

We have seen that convergence requires a commitment to unification across process, technology and data.

Usually, none of these three elements are unified when we get started. Operative is focused on meeting our clients wherever they are on their convergence journey and helping provide them with the tools they need to execute successfully across these three elements. 

We are well versed in the complexity of unifying huge amounts of information, retraining sales people and ensuring that media companies don’t miss out on revenue or have to slow down their business in the process.

The three most important elements that make the convergence journey successful are: 

  1. Defining cross-platform unification/convergence. Companies need to map out their short and long term objectives and be ready to break out of old processes and cycles that are holding back growth. Convergence means something different for every company. 
  2. Aligning different teams and assets that may be siloed internally. It’s often best to start by bringing assets like product data together in one place in order to see the entire business more accurately and start to manage liability. 
  3. Focusing on evolution. Realize that convergence is a process. Prioritize specific changes that help the company evolve, such as unifying proposals, workflows or planning.  

Operative Delivers Unique Convergence Benefits

The good news is that it’s most effective to tackle convergence in stages. Operative has worked with a number of major media companies as they unify their advertising businesses including Fox and Sinclair, each with different needs and business models. 

No matter where a media company is along the spectrum of data, technology and process, we have experienced first-hand that convergence is possible.

First, we work directly with media companies to deeply understand their current business model and map to their vision of success. We then evaluate the technology and data that underpins their current business to understand what steps should be taken first to make the biggest impact. AOS is designed to work with what a media company already has in place, so systems can send insights to AOS and receive data from AOS without requiring major overhauls or needing to rip systems out. 

Then, we create a roadmap that provides an evolution from separate to unified. This includes implementing modular solutions, streamlining data and creating new processes that can bring different teams together and create the momentum and willingness to change.

Realize that convergence is a process. Prioritize specific changes that help the company evolve, such as unifying proposals, workflows or planning.

Convergence is possible with Operative for every kind of media company, no matter what technology or processes they currently have in place across mediums.

There is no common starting point across our AOS customers. We support each company where they currently are on their journey towards convergence. Customers often pick one or two media assets to onboard onto AOS first rather than bringing them all at the same time. We have had clients who have started with national linear and expanded that to also include digital, or started only with local linear. 

The convergence journey is unique to the media company’s need to converge their selling strategies to create the most gains in efficiency, scale and return. Digital first companies would likely start with onboarding their digital assets, while companies with large local teams might want to empower them to create better proposals on linear first. 

To understand where a company might start their convergence journey, Operative starts with a collaborative session to better understand  goals and business needs. We consider: 

Every organization has different responses, and as Operative learns more about a specific business, a plan is created that addresses the highest priority issues while considering the logistics required to ensure success.

Work With Operative to Transform Your Business

Convergence provides the foundation upon which companies can truly transform their business. Unified data and assets allow for AI-powered tools to optimize yield across converged inventory. These intelligent tools can automate ad operations to speed campaign throughput. The result is maximum flexibility for clients, delivering them previously unattainable value.

Convergence sets companies on a path for growth, helping them:

Operative offers AOS to help companies transform their entire advertising business. We work with clients to unify data within our converged media platform and leverage AI-powered workflows. To learn how AOS can help you drive revenue growth, contact us.


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