SeaChange Enables Programmatic for Cable Operators
Cable operators will be able to dive into the linear TV programmatic ad pool thanks to technology created jointly by Beachfront Media and SeaChange International.
The technology, already being used in the U.S. by a global operator and a regional cable company — both unidentified — will enable multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to tap into hundreds of millions of dollars being spent over automated platforms.
“Linear TV inventory has long been excluded from programmatic marketplaces due to technical limitations and infrastructural challenges,” SeaChange president and CEO Yossi Aloni said. “In partnership with Beachfront, we’ve completed the difficult work of connecting modern, digital-oriented ad buyers to linear TV inventory. This is a major milestone for the media and advertising industry, which we expect will serve as a major catalyst for improving the CPMs for our cable operator and media owner partners.”
The companies say their combined technology can also help direct-to-consumer and over-the-top video services sell their advertising without going through a middleman.
Beachfront has been building advertising technology that works with the set-top boxes employed by cable operators. Last year, Beachfront enabled the programmatic buying of commercials in set-top-box video-on-demand programming. The new technology extends that to linear TV.
Beachfront’s technology will interface with buyers and demand side platforms. Advertisers can activate this linear TV ad inventory — along with VOD, connected TV, mobile and desktop inventory — much faster than traditional direct buys through the use of real-time bidding. Beachfront will connect with VOD vendor SeaChange’s equipment, which provide information about available advertising, handles insertions and sends invoices. SeaChange also has the data about viewers needed to create targeted campaigns.
Despite the changes in TV viewing, linear TV is not going away. In fact, Aloni points out ad-supported on-demand streaming services are creating linear channels so people can continue to be couch potatoes.
The problem is that a lot of linear inventory remains unsold. On top of that, for many MVPDs, their sales units are old and expensive.
“These guys are actually using phones, and they’re calling customers and they have a cutoff date for commercials that’s three days ahead of when they go on-air,” Aloni said. “We are moving them into the 21st century. Not only are we enabling them to monetize their inventory, we are also enabling them to reduce their costs.”
The companies said the technology has already been tested with public service announcements, and some real clients have put real money through the system to prove the concept works.
“It will start generating very meaningful revenues in the next few months,” Aloni said, first internationally, then increasingly in the United States.
Beachfront CEO Chris Maccaro said what’s holding back programmatic buying for traditional TV is “a bunch of legacy executives who want to protect the way things have been done for a long time. I think you’re starting to see a transformation and consolidation on the agency side where teams are collaborating holistically on where budgets are going.”
Maccaro said Beachfront and SeaChange are giving buyers a lot of new flexibility. Instead of needing days to mount a campaign, “you can get a campaign live and buy it today.”
“What will accelerate the growth of this programmatic capability is how quick the inventory can be used in addressable campaigns,” Maccaro said.
“The quicker we get to addressability for this supply — whether it’s linear or VOD or even [connected] TV, which generally is addressable — and the more it looks familiar to how [demand side platforms] buy it, then demand starts flying into these channels,”