Ryan Reed, director of television and video solutions at Lotame, started his career at Matrix Solutions, creating sales software for local television groups. “That was a crash course in TV ad sales, going around to local stations and learning their day-to-day operations,” he said.
From there he worked for Comcast and Canoe Ventures before moving to Lotame. “It was clear to me that data and audience-based advertising was the place to be. Now everything is coming full circle and audience data is primed to empower local television advertising as these silos break down,” he added.
Charlene Weisler: What do you think is the most dramatic change in the industry since you started?
Ryan Reed: The biggest difference… is that now we have these magical devices in our pockets giving us social media, podcasts, video, and news whenever we want. And even our work machines give us the ability to be distracted by media. If you work in media or advertising, this means that there are more and more chances to reach people, but it gets harder to reach them at scale.
Weisler: What do you think about local television measurement? What’s working, and what needs improvement?
Reed: Overall, the marketplace undervalues local audiences due to a lack of audience data. Advertisers know local broadcast is the best medium and provides the best local reach. [We need to bring the] dynamic audience capabilities that the large national cable and broadcasters are developing to local station groups. Brands and their agencies want to measure their impact on audiences across different screens, and local television completes that picture.
Weisler: Tell me about your company.
Reed: Lotame has the leading independent data management platform and offers the most widely used, trusted and comprehensive data exchange in the industry. Our team aims to continually find new and meaningful ways to help clients harness the power of data to fuel more relevant and personalized experiences across screens and devices, online and off.
Weisler: How much impact do you think programmatic TV will have on local television in the next couple of years?
Reed: It’s tough to guess this on a relatively short timeframe. Even if we had perfect technology, the TV industry is a very large ship to try to turn around. It will only take hold if the tech can work for all parties involved. TV programmers are very protective of their inventory. So the digital version of programmatic, where inventory is thrown into a black-box exchange, isn’t going to work. We need to demonstrate that for stations and networks, the technology is getting them full value for their inventory that wouldn’t have been achieved before. For agencies, we need to demonstrate that the audiences they’re trying to engage can be reached more efficiently without spots being thrown away on the wrong audiences
Weisler: What is your definition of TV?
Reed: The delivery of audiovisual content to a consumer’s device.
Weisler: What should local TV priorities be in the next two to years?
Reed: In broad terms, it’s the same as it has always been: providing quality news and entertainment to consumers while demonstrating value to advertisers. What that means in the 2010s is embracing clients’ data-driven demands to show how local reach engages the audience that a brand reaches on competing mediums. This means fighting old habits of how you buy and sell, while embracing empirical and impartial data to meet clients’ needs.
This Q&A originally appeared in Mediapost.