Lougee: Embrace ‘Automated’ Spot Selling

The president of Gannett Broadcasting says broadcasters should work together to develop an automated or programmatic system to streamline the selling of their broadcast and digital inventories. "To be relevant to our local and national clients, we have to make it easy for them to buy and activate across platforms."

Gannett Broadcasting President Dave Lougee yesterday said that broadcasters need to work together to develop and implement an automated — otherwise known as programmatic — system for the buying and selling of spot advertising and other digital offerings.

“Let’s embrace automation and take ownership of making smart business rules around it for all involved,” he said at the TVB Forward conference in New York yesterday in accepting Broadcasting & Cable’s Broadcaster of the Year honor.

“To be relevant to our local and national clients, we have to make it easy for them to buy and activate across platforms.”

That the industry has consolidated should speed the effort, he said. “[I]t doesn’t take as many of us as it once did to agree on something to affect change. “

The antiquated selling processes are costing broadcasters money, he said. Sales managers and account executives spend too much time on paperwork and not enough time “in front of clients helping solve their needs.”

“Who decided local stations should be posting for advertisers off of local daily overnights?” Lougee asked. “Who does that possibly serve? In fairness to Nielsen, they aren’t even selling us or the agencies a service that is intended to be accurate on an individual day in an individual market.


“Yet this morning, thousands of hours will be spent at stations, buying shops and national reps doing make-goods off of yesterday’s live-plus-same-day overnights. That’s nuts. And for some of our folks, that make-good and other administrative work is part of the routine. It’s like comfort food. But like comfort food, it can kill you.

“It doesn’t serve the client, the agency or the station.”

The “good news,” he said, is technology is now available to not only streamline spot buying, but also to provide new services for spot advertisers.

“We can help them create a campaign that uses the TV spot to motivate the consumer to activate on their mobile device five seconds later without ever having to leave their living room chair,” he said.

“For those same clients, we can provide the data and analytics to buy targeted digital ads on our own platforms and others through data-driven reach extension vehicles.”

Comments (11)

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Brian Bussey says:

September 10, 2014 at 9:24 am

one would hope all of this is not code for laying off more American workers.

    Gregg Palermo says:

    September 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Technology oftentimes replaces jobs (and it has always been thus): how many camera operators or board operators lost their jobs to robots and centralcasting? Innovations are great until you lose your job as a travel agent to the Internet.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    September 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    As shown by your posts about how Fox buying Time Warner had to be stopped because of the layoffs. Now we are seeing THOUSANDS of layoffs planned at Time Warner without Fox buying it. Perhaps we should not have invented airplanes so that train conductors and stage coach operators could keep their jobs?

Matthew Castonguay says:

September 10, 2014 at 9:46 am

In online media, programmatic exchanges are becoming the main sales channel, and it absolutely is resulting in fewer traditional sellers employed. Also, the advent of airlines has reduced the number of people employed by railways.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    September 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    lol…we think alike. i posted above prior to reading down to your analogy!

Joe Jaime says:

September 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

The real problem is how to manage inventory and not get you best inventory “Cherry Picked” by the system. a good sales staff will work hard to balance inventory and get all dayparts on the buy.. plus package to gain share. Allowing buyers free access with not maximize revenue.

Leavett Biles says:

September 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

Are those who commented suggesting we continue utilizing antiquated business models so that people keep their current jobs? I would suggest that those who feel their positions may be in jeopardy (the train has left the station on programmatic buying) look at ways to continue being a contributor to their company before it happens.

    Lance Vitanza says:

    September 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Could not agree more! Resisting technology in the transaction with television for the reason of keeping jobs is the most insane comment I’ve seen a long while. Betting that comment was posted by a sales person in television who fears loosing his job.

Lance Vitanza says:

September 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm

As a firm that buys well into the millions via local television stations, we’ve advocated for years among broadcast management to automate the buying process. We’re always told “it can’t be done”. The airlines did it, almost every other industry has done it, TV should have done it years ago. Eliminate the AE’s, buy avails on a direct basis, we all win. Glad a broadcast CEO has at last seen the idea and is promoting it. About time in our view.

    John Bagwell says:

    September 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    You apparently didn’t actually read the article. Nobody (besides you) is advocating eliminating AE’s. Do you really think stations could survive on just this automated process and make enough money? Read the comment from GMRetiredTV above. It is absolutely true. Lougee is advocating a more streamlined approach for selling where sellers are out selling instead of doing paperwork all day (which you partially to blame for, btw.).

Michelle Underwood says:

September 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm

The next spot Dave Lougee sells will be his first. He’s a guy who came up the news side.

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