Just a few years ago, use of the word "linear" was redundant when describing network television viewing. Today, with expanding over-the-top and on demand viewing options, linear is increasingly becoming a synonym for premium. Sports, news and entertainment viewed in real-time delivers audiences that conform to traditional standards and metrics. The continuing decline of monetizable inventory available to networks is driving up CPMs, which are again expected to approach and pass double digits in this year's Upfront market. To capitalize on this reality by meeting marketers' and agencies' needs for linear viewers at efficient costs-per-thousand, XACTV has tapped into the IBM cloud and AI technology to "aggregate, optimize and track local broadcast programming to deliver a national footprint while creating cost efficiencies," says XACTV Vice President and Managing Director, Melissa Moschetti (pictured above). "Essentially, we have created a national unwired local broadcast television buying capability."
While unwired networks are not new, and other companies tap into local inventory for aggregated packages, the XACTV software and platform is designed to link local inventory with buys that are guaranteed and measured by Nielsen, offering national scale representing 80% U.S. coverage. "National ratings are declining, ADU weight is artificially inflating demand and impacting availability, and costs are going up," stated Moschetti. "We developed a national platform using local inventory in both local and national programs to help advertisers navigate this marketplace more effectively and efficiently." Moschetti's mission is to better leverage the value of local linear television.
XACTV's data scientists are applying digital strategies and data models to linear TV, using AI technology to optimize inventory against specific KPIs. The platform analyzes data patterns to refine plans across a spectrum of local broadcast station inventory and deliver competitive national CPMs. XACTV utilizes Nielsen age-gender impressions and ratings (reporting on NTI or aggregated NSI performance) and includes data to enable greater targetability. "The goal is to continually expand and refine the range of datasets used in the platform to further enhance our measurement capabilities, attribution and ROI targeting," Moschetti points out. "And in all cases this data adds to the understanding of the customer who is watching linear television," she adds.
Unique Inventory Packaging Opportunities
Moschetti believes that the greatest values offered by XACTV are the ability for a national advertiser to reach locally engaged audiences and broaden reach with ease of implementation. "There is valuable local inventory with strong ratings such as local news and talk shows. We package that inventory with related network inventory, delivering expanded reach with scale and greater engagement in a seamless schedule and with greater cost efficiency. "It's the perfect solution for agency buyers who are confronted with higher CPM demands and challenges in delivering targeted reach goals. We are seeing growing commitments from advertisers who use XACTV as a complement to their national buys, and it lends to greater flexibility in the Upfront marketplace," noted Moschetti.
She also points out that the number of alterative options open to agencies and advertisers requires XACTV to deliver a frictionless planning and buying experience. "Certain aspects of buying and selling require manual insertion and computation, which continue to cause friction in the marketplace. Excel spreadsheets are outdated and take time away from analysis and negotiation," says Moschetti. "XACTV is an automated platform so that the business of television can focus less on the manual mechanics and more on delivering better results for advertisers."
Moschetti, whose background is in local planning and buying with Active International, believes there will be accelerated exploration into cross platform video targeting data, which will ultimately benefit the linear TV marketplace and enable improved attribution measures. She promises, "XACTV will evolve our machine learning technology to automate additional areas of the planning and buying process, with the goal of delivering the right inventory to reach the right consumer at the right time.
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