The TV-station unit of 21st Century Fox said it would allow advertisers to buy advertising inventory from its stations with programmatic technology, giving new momentum to a method of ad buying with which many marketers have experimented.
Fox Television Stations said it would use WideOrbit, an ad-tech firm, to help clients buy inventory controlled by the stations and automate transactions with specific buying partners, among other things. Fox’s Television Stations Group operates 28 stations in 17 markets and covers 37% of U.S. homes.
“Based on our tests over the last year, we are convinced that programmatic advertising will be a complementary additional sales channel for our stations,’ said Jim Burke, president of sales for Fox Television Stations, in a statement. ” Opening a programmatic sales channel is a clear win for everyone involved in the media buying process and we’re proud to be the first network owned-and-operated group to offer it to our buying partners.”
Programmatic buying helps marketers place ads according to a predefined set of data — and get it at what is believed to be a more efficient price. The technique is gaining more traction as Madison Avenue attempts to place advertising on TV in much the same way it does in digital arenas, with precision and in a way that can reach an audience more narrowly defined around a set of behaviors or characteristics.
The move “makes it simpler and more appealing for our clients to buy local media,” said Jennifer Hungerbuhler, executive vice president of video and audio buying for local media at Dentsu Aegis, in an interview. “Buying based on behavioral and attitudinal information allows us to do more advance targeting and get beyond age and gender media buys.”
Fox said WideOrbit has access to inventory from more than 750 stations that reach more than 93% of U.S. households and 270 million people. “Fox’s embrace of programmatic advertising shows that it is committed to setting up its stations to capitalize on new revenue opportunities and offering its customers robust solutions for making better audience targeting decisions and automating processes,” said Eric R. Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit, in a statement.