Simon Daglish on VOD - Disrupting or transforming the TV Ad market?

Programmatic trading isn’t yet good enough for television, Simon Daglish, ITV’s commercial director, told MediaTel’s Media Playground conference this week.

Daglish said TV advertisers are being put off programmatic trading because of ad fraud and viewability issues online.

In the USA, it is estimated that as much as $1bn of ad spend is wasted on fraudulent advertising.

“It's hard to believe that this fraud is not endemic in the UK," said Daglish. “It does not give confidence to us, at ITV - nor should it give confidence to anyone in the TV industry, that we should allow this data to do the planning and buying across the highly successful £3.5bn business.”

Daglish said one of the key issues is that ‘big data’ is often not directly sourced by either the media or the brand owner – putting its reliability into question.

“The question is, what part does big data play in the planning and buying of TV? And the answer is not clear,” he said. “But for big data to be discussed seriously, it needs to be a lot more reliable than it currently is.

“My concern for the future of big data is its reliability, particularly around third party data, which is not sourced and owned by either the media owner or the brand owner.”

Daglish argued that the TV industry had actually pioneered the concept of programmatic buying in terms of targeting audiences – but that television was as automated as it needs to be at the present time.

“The surprising point here is the fact that programmatic buying already exists in TV,” he said. “In fact, it has done for some 10 years. Every day at ITV the CARIA system connects agencies to ITV’s sell system, delivering an automated approval system, which counts a booking straight into our airtime.

“Each month we have a system that takes the length, target audience, day part, region, contract, time, and then books across the whole of our broadcast schedule, delivering the ad as up to date as the last piece of audience data allows.

“So it would be wholly wrong to assume TV has not been a pioneering movement behind this idea. In fact, TV was the early adopter of programmatic buying.”

However Daglish said it was vital to retain the human element of planning and trading. “We are humans,” he said. “We are not numbers or pieces of data. We have to recognise that the human factor is not measured by data alone. Humans are not logic machines, despite the data claims."

“There are no absolutes about human behaviour. The process that goes into the buying decision is both complex and imprecise and can best be described as both logical and illogical.”

“Yes, data is great, I absolutely buy into it. But its accuracy and authenticity is so challenged at the moment it’s got a big struggle to get to the top table.

“It’s not whether programmatic will be part of it [TV trading], I’m sure it will in the future. It’s just not ready yet.”