2018 election reconciliations won’t be done until July, yet stations/agencies are still doing them manually. The finance and investment teams comb through the invoice, line by line, to determine which parts of the invoice they should pay. It’s a situation tackled by advertising data automation company PremiumMedia 360, which provides a cloud based solution for buyers and sellers to enable automation of advertising data. Joan Fitzgerald, SVP, Advanced TV Partnerships, explains how her company aims to relieve buyers and sellers of the burden of manual tasks, and deliver campaign results within hours.
What are the challenges addressed by PremiumMedia 360?
A great example of media problem solving PremiumMedia 360 addresses is in-flight reconciliation. After the invoice is issued, agencies interrogate each line to determine what advertisements meet their business rules and can be paid, and what advertisements don’t and won’t. By the time the invoice is issued, it’s too late to re-invest those advertising dollars during the campaign, which is when the advertiser wants the dollars invested. Discrepancies are either “made whole” as make-goods or, worse, credited back to the advertiser. Invoice reconciliation is an extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive process.
PremiumMedia 360 in-flight reconciliation finds and solves media problems before the invoice is issued and, many times, even before the campaign begins. By the time the invoice is issued, discrepancies are solved; the invoice is clean and can be paid on time and in full.
Why do you think agencies and TV stations are still using a manual processes for reconciliations?
Until PremiumMedia 360, there were only two ways for buyers and sellers to solve for the onerous, manual processes that have plagued ad buying and selling: (1) wait for their legacy media systems to make expensive technical changes or (2) install entirely new media systems. The first is too expensive and takes far too much time. The second is simply impractical, as well as expensive. Sellers want to continue to use their legacy traffic and sales systems. Buyers want to continue to use Mediaocean, Freewheel/Strata, HudsonMX, CORE and others. PremiumMedia 360 gets right in the middle and creates a straight-line between the buyer and seller systems, so they talk to one another, but don’t have to make costly engineering changes.
How does your solution help lay the foundation for programmatic linear TV?
Programmatic advertising has changed the dynamic in digital video advertising, and it will change the dynamic for linear TV as well. Advertisers are keenly interested in household-level targeting, real-time bidding and continuous optimization that are digital programmatic advertising today. However, the reality is: continuous optimizations must come first before household targeting and real-time bidding can be part of the equation for linear TV.
And, continuous optimization of any kind requires automation. That’s where PremiumMedia 360 fits in. As eMarketer’s Gerard Broussard said in a recent piece: “Decades-old TV systems that keep track of available ad inventory, order management and tracking and billing are now being overlaid with technological workarounds to facilitate automation.” Automation and AI from PremiumMedia 360 can help agencies continuously optimize, to find media problems instantaneously and deliver superior campaign performance to their clients at lower costs.
Why is invoice reconciliation a major headache for finance and investment teams?
Agencies are hired to invest client dollars in advertising. When there are discrepancies in the invoice, this means the agency didn’t make 100% of their investment goal. Think about a political agency for example: The candidate wants $100,000 invested, but only $80,000 ran. Without inflight reconciliation, $20,000 could be left on the table as a credit. That’s not going to do a lot of good. Think about it this way: if the candidate loses, you can bet that blame will be assigned to the agency for not doing their job.
Aside from the business risk, there’s a lot of coordination involved, and critical historical data about inevitable changes during the campaign that is simply not available at their fingertips to quickly determine the status of every advertisement in the invoice. Another political example: at some agencies, reconciliation from the 2018 races is still not complete.
What’s next from Premium Media 360?
We are excited about how automation and AI can transform the television business, empowering our clients to solve media problems faster to grow investment in advertising. Our shared goal across buyers and sellers alike is to make the television advertising business even more attractive to advertisers than it is today. Television media brings premium, engaging content to consumers and is an ideal, high-value advertising environment. Using automation and AI to solve problems faster, we can make it easier to buy with lower costs and fewer manual steps.