As the upfronts draw to a close, and TV networks take stock of the annual presentation fest, the role of "audiences" will likely have played a larger role in TV buying, says Ashley J. Swartz, CEO and Founder of Furious Corp. Despite concerns of a flat market, there is still money flowing in. "There is as much money being spent net new. We just need to find the audience, and that is what is coming to bear in the upfronts. Everyone is talking about their audience, their data platforms," she says in her predictive analysis of the upfronts for Beet.TV.
As examples, NBC has come to market with multiple products to mine audiences that might previously have been missed, while Univision and others are doing the same. This trend suggests that the audience approach of programmatic buying is having an impact on the TV market. "The ecosystem providers of data and technology...are going to the buy side first because they are writing checks first," she explains. This shift is occurring in part because of the down trends in viewership in the first quarter of 2015. "Audiences are moving from TV," she says, and that's why networks are applying tech tools to help find them.
"[With] the dynamics around programmatic, private exchanges and trading desks...we are becoming more video neutral. All that does is reinforce the fact that we need the upfronts....The upfronts are alive and thriving and we are seeing more and more reinforcement around integrated sales, productization and one currency," Swartz says. "And we will see convergence between premium video and TV in the upfront." The net effect over time will be delivering to audiences what they want and driving to a more efficient P&L.
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