Multi Channel Network (MCN) has announced the rollout of two new data and trading platforms designed to bring together screens across all platforms into a “Television Unified” vision for the future of media.
The platforms include both data (Multiview XP) and Programmatic XP that allows MCN’s partners to make use of a single portal for advertising content across free-to-air, subscription TV and digital video.
Chief sales and marketing officer Mark Frain (pictured above) told B&T the new platforms were all about MCN transforming into a data-led business. Frain said about 40 per cent of the business was already traded programmatically and he believed that figure would rise to about 60 per cent by mid-next year particularly with its newly acquired Ten business moved across to its trading platforms.
“From an agency and advertiser perspective they get the benefit of highly targeted segmentation across all parts of television,” Frain said of the technology. “Critically for them they start to have a common currency across free-to-air, subscription television and online video, and from an agency perspective they now get all these different data sets across all the different screens and devices.
“We’ve solved those problems for them; across all of our assets they’ll have the ability to use that targeting product.
“And from the consumers’ point of view it takes it one step further, the ads are becoming more targeted and they’re more relevant and that’s only good for the viewing experience,” he said.
Frain said the main advantage of Multiview and Programmatic XP was that advertisers could better target audiences, get better ROI on campaigns and better efficiencies too.
However, Frain believed a strong human-to-human interaction would always remain in parts of the buying process. He added: “The areas that won’t really be affected will be the big premium ticket partnerships and sponsorships to key programs that require ideation, seamless integration, and that will be 20-30 per cent of the MCN business. And there’ll always be a certain part of the business that will be highly program specific, fixed placement model where certain advertisers want to align themselves with 10 or 15 cores shows and those models will always exist.”
Frain admitted there had been initial concerns that agencies weren’t staffed properly to trade programmatically – an education and training issue, he said – but overall agency-land had thus far embraced the change. What programmatic would do, he said, would force “agency trading desks, digital teams and television trading teams to work closer together”.
Despite some murmurings around programmatic’s secrecy and concerns there were a lot of people in the process taking a “cut of the ticket”, Frain said he’d not encountered any concerns from MCN’s advertisers.
“I think the MCN stable is highly brand safe, it’s premium content, it’s premium brands. So when we’re talking programmatic it’s about adding a layer of automation and targeting that already has a lot of trust and buy-in from advertisers. So we’ve not had any concerns thus far from our perspective,” he said.
“Advertisers will continue to get more efficient and effective outcomes which is only a good thing. The most exciting part of this is it truly starts to reignite television in the eyes of advertisers, it enables them to be swept-up in digital and all its capabilities and you start to bring those TV and digital worlds together and, from an advertisers’ perspective, it’s immensely exciting.”
Nor did Frain believe there would be a backlash from viewers concerned about data collection, privacy issues or having to view more ads on pay TV which they were already subsidising through subscription fees.
“Interestingly enough there has been some work done by Sky in the UK and their AdSmart platform that delivers highly targeted advertising and, from a viewer perspective, where they’ve used that model they’ve seen viewers stay with channels longer and increase their dwell times and that gives us confidence that a more targeted model is not only better for the advertiser but better for the viewer as well,” he concluded.