A consortium of local television broadcasters led by Nexstar Media Group, TEGNA, Sinclair Broadcast Group and desired merger partner Tribune Media have rolled back the curtain on an industry work group dedicated “to developing standard-based interfaces to accelerate electronic advertising transactions for local TV broadcasters and their media agency partners.”
The launch of the TV Interface Practices, or “TIP Initiative,” comes as the broadcast TV industry, they say, “has struggled with the manual nature of the advertising buying and selling process for many years.”
They note, “While various solutions providers have sought to streamline the process to support the industry’s long-term competitiveness, progress has been slow due to a lack of universal modern standards-based interfaces.”
In early 2017, broadcast executives from Nexstar, Sinclair and Tribune came together to accelerate, coordinate, standardize and make open the technical framework necessary to streamline the local TV transaction process.
TEGNA joined the consortium earlier this month. With TEGNA’s participation, the consortium now represents the four largest station affiliate groups in the U.S.
The TIP Initiative consortium notes that it is being guided by the following principles:
• Local television is the most powerful brand-building medium, connecting marketers with consumers and advertisers, brands and broadcasters will benefit from the best automation
• While demand is high for local television ad inventory, transactional friction has created challenges for buyers
• System-to-system electronic processes can streamline the buying of local spot media. However, creating interoperability takes coordination across multiple broadcast companies
• Standards-based interfaces are the best way of encouraging the needed system-to-system interchange of transactional information
• Standard API interfaces set the stage for advanced local TV and ATSC 3.0 and will greatly enhance the efficiency of buying local media by U.S. advertising agencies.
The consortium contacted over a dozen systems providers involved in various aspects of local TV transactions to review existing electronic methods and specifications that support local spot buying.
From this research, a set of API’s are proposed to support the electronic transfer of “buy” transactional data. TVB, the trade association representing local broadcast television will provide a repository for the TIP Initiative’s work and open access for industry partners.
The consortium’s technical whitepaper, “Interface Automation Guidelines for Local TV Transactions,” is a consolidated description of potential best practices describing the local TV transaction workflow and recommended API framework.
The whitepaper and details of the TIP Initiative is available at www.tvb.org/TIP.
“The goal of the TIP initiative is to accelerate local TV interoperability by creating a coalition of system providers to work with buyers and sellers to develop and implement streamlined transaction workflows using standards-based open APIs,” said TVB Chairman and Nexstar President/CEO Perry Sook. “Local broadcast television remains unrivalled among all media as its reach, engagement and influence consistently delivers proven revenue-generating marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. To sustain local television’s advantages across all screens and devices, we must work together as an industry to create a more efficient marketplace for advertisers to access local TV inventory in a manner that is cost effective for the buyer, while maintaining the integrity of our product. By encouraging broadcasters, advertisers and others to join the TIP Initiative and participate in this important, ongoing collaborative effort we will improve our competitiveness with other media and deliver more brand safe solutions to advertisers and brands.”
“Many of our advertising agency partners have told us they are unable to leverage our valuable television ad inventory because outdated processes leave them with little or no margin to support a local spot buy,” said Chris Ripley, President/CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group. “The TIP Initiative demonstrates the industry’s shared commitment to working together with technology providers and advertising partners to develop open standards-based solutions for efficient automated buying and selling of broadcast TV spot inventory. In addition, advertising and programming content monetization options will expand with Next-Gen TV, giving broadcasters the ability to deliver targeted campaigns to advertisers that reach local audiences at scale. For our industry to quickly and effectively optimize this opportunity, while ensuring transparency, it is important for us to collaborate on this effort ahead of the adoption of ATSC 3.0.”
Larry Wert, President/CEO of Tribune Media, added, “We believe the TIP Initiative is an important first step toward automating the buying and selling of broadcast television inventory in a manner that facilitates fairness and integrity of the marketplace. A lack of progress on the buy- and sell-side has prevented broadcasters from unlocking the full value of our local content offerings. Embracing innovation is critical to elevating the competitive position of the local broadcast television industry, while driving the continued growth of our respective businesses. By actively working together to implement standards-based open APIs and technologies, we will be able to extract efficiencies and create a platform for advertisers to more effectively access our multi-screen inventory and transact business.”
“There is strong demand for premium local advertising opportunities because live TV viewing remains the largest form of media consumption. Our inventory is finite, our platforms give marketers direct access to customers and our local content remains consumers’ first choice,” noted Dave Lougee, President/CEO of TEGNA. “We must be innovative and develop new ways to allow advertisers to connect with their targeted audiences more effectively. Automation removes the costs and complexity from the local broadcast TV ad buying and selling process, giving local stations and advertisers the opportunity to more efficiently allocate their respective resources. The TIP Initiative will serve as a foundation for marketplace fairness and the implementation of standards-based open APIs.”