COMMENTARY: GABBCON Bows Automated Linear Broadcast Cross-Device Standards For Audience Buying

COMMENTARY: GABBCON Bows Automated Linear Broadcast Cross-Device Standards For Audience Buying

This week the  Global Audience Based Buying Conference (GABBCON) gathered for its New York Audience-Based Buying Summit. GABBCON bills itself as a group of organizations that aren’t “satisfied with the status quo” and who are or want to be active in audience-based buying. The group went public with version 1.0 of its Automated Linear Broadcast Cross Device Standard or (ABCDs). Well, at least the acronym is easy enough.

What is ABCD, and why is it important?

According to GABBCON, ABCD aims to arm the advertising and audience-based buying marketplace with a standard and recommended practice for buying of linear TV inventory and cross-device measurement. Essentially, it looks like the group wants to bring programmatic buying practices to linear TV, and that’s a good thing. It may take a while, but it’s a move in the right direction.

GABBCON created a working group with partners that include heavyweights like DataXu, Hulu, TiVo Research, TubeMogul, AudienceXpress, CBS, Fox, Omnicom Media Group. IPG, IPONWEB, SpotX, Canoe, AdMore, AOL, Clypd, Neustar and iSpotTV.

For its part, DataXu has already been working with satellite TV and internet provider Dish, and the telecom/TV giant Sky to develop standards for programmatic buying of linear broadcast TV.

“Bringing programmatic principles and best practices to broadcast [TV] is an enormous opportunity for the industry,” Sandro Catanzaro, co-founder and SVP of Analytics & Innovation at DataXu, said following Wednesday’s summit.

Many broadcast and cable giants with linear TV businesses simply aren’t prepared for programmatic TV. Internally, they’re not organized for it and backend systems aren’t yet integrated and aligned. For example, Jason Baron, SVP of direct marketing and programmatic ad sales at Turner, told me that from a programmatic TV standpoint, “we’re not really there yet,” though discussions are ongoing. Still, the company has put some of its VOD inventory through its FreeWheel premium video marketplace and it’s connecting to set-top boxes through an automated system.

This week, of course, Turner announced that its Incite platform for ad sales will align with the IBM Watson platform and Neustar’s MarketShare to obtain predictive analytics, a sign that it’s serious about putting real-time data and analytics at the core of its business practices. This represents a shift away from proxy metrics like “eyeballs” in favor of real-time actionable insights.

Meanwhile, it looks as if GABBCON is trying to bring broadcasters, cable networks, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), advertising agencies, multichannel DSPs, SSPs, data providers and other ad-tech platforms that integrate or plan to integrate with the TV ecosystem under one tent. And that’s a good first step.

As GABBCON CEO and co-founder Gabe Greenberg stated, “eliminating one-off technical integrations and aligning around a protocol and common set of definitions is critical if the industry is to successfully scale programmatic TV.”

Chris Pizzurro, head of sales & marketing at Canoe, stated that he looks forward to seeing how VOD fits within the audience buying ecosystem.

We’ll see what develops soon. And this season’s TV upfronts could be telling.

GABBCON’s ABCDs Of Linear TV Audience Buying is available here.

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