An intelligent ‘ad’ on

Bengaluru firm devises a new platform, Skynet, that intelligently automates TV advertising workflow

June 12, 2017 05:34 pm | Updated 05:34 pm IST

Skynet aims to make television advertising a much more managable process

Skynet aims to make television advertising a much more managable process

The planning and scheduling of television advertisements is predominantly a manual one. In the absence of a robust data-analytics tool, media planners (the professionals hired by brands to decide which ad goes on what channel at what time and date) don’t always have a clear idea of which time slot, on which channel, is the best for their ad to air.

In 2016, TV advertising registered a growth of only 9%, while digital advertising flourished at 40%. An FICCI KPMG report says digital advertising revenue marked a growth of over 28% from 2015 to 2016, compared to 11% for TV.

A new platform, Skynet, is now changing the game. This innovation from Bengaluru-based SureWaves brings to TV advertisers all the benefits their counterparts in the online space have. The platform, launched in March this year, is steadily catching on, with six satellite TV channels on board; and the company is currently in talks with about 20 to 25 channels.

Programmatic TV advertising

Skynet is an algorithm-powered platform that automatically analyses vast amounts of data pertaining to different TV channels and their audience, in order to help advertisers plan and schedule their campaigns quickly, in a such a way that they effectively reach their target audience.

“This is called programmatic advertising, and it is quite effective in the digital media. But it has not been implemented in an end-to-end manner in television,” said Rajendra Kumar Khare, Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, SureWaves MediaTech. “Skynet is a first-of-its-kind, Programmatic Television Advertising Marketplace, which enables advertisers to efficiently buy their TV audiences in the same way they do for online audiences.”

While the advertiser keys in his requirement in terms of who his or her target audience is, the algorithm analyses vast amounts of data — related to available channels, slots they have, BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) figures on audience profile etc — and comes up with the best possible inventory for the advertiser.

The problem of overbooking

The current ad scheduling process, according to Khare, isn’t as efficient as the digital process. Using tools that give an estimate of the potential target audience, media planners, by trial and error, fine-tune the process till they come closest to the demands of the advertiser in terms of the target audience.

The time slots are then bought, but without knowing if the slots are actually available or have been bought by another agency. It’s like booking a train or flight ticket without knowing if the seat is available or not, said Khare.

Another problem is that media planners are also unaware if some other channels have available slots that do fit the requirement of the advertiser. Because of overbooking, about 18 to 20% of planned slots don’t get executed and get dropped, said Khare.

Automation simplifies the process

Research agency International Data Corporation says with programmatic TV, marketers get better targeting, access to new inventory, and a unified, easy-to-use interface simplifying the workflow.

Skynet makes the whole process simple, fast and efficient. “The entire media planning and execution process that normally takes weeks when done manually is done in a few minutes,” Khare said. Since the whole process is automated, Skynet is also able to suggest changes to the slots on the fly, depending on the changing viewership pattern.

Another difference is that now the advertisers buy the slots; while on Skynet, they buy the Gross Rating Points (which measures the impact of advertising), akin to online advertising. On the Skynet platform, payment is based on the performance of the advertisement.

The trend is set to catch on. IDC says, “The total worldwide spending on programmatic TV is expected to grow from $69 million in 2014 by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 201% to $17.3 billion in 2019.”

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