Why Programmatic TV is an opportunity in a data-led world

New Delhi | Published: July 18, 2017 2:14:42 AM

Programmatic has already revolutionised how media is bought on digital; it is time that it is introduced for TV buying as well.

Programmatic TV, TV advertisingProgrammatic TV is poised to be the tipping point of the next revolution in TV advertising.

In media, like in all industries, data and technology have become big brothers directing all progress. TV is no exception to this. To see how the change is seeping into the TV medium, we must understand how the medium works in the first place.

The traditional television media buying process involves media planners working tirelessly on a plan and post approvals from the client, buy the ‘best’ airtime available for the budget.
The Indian TV advertising industry is valued at a whopping `27,000 crore with ads beaming across a staggering bouquet of 890+ satellite TV channels.
Obviously, media buying is no plug-and-play job. It is quite a task; it involves a complex process of massive data churning, choosing channels, placing ads and analysing impact. The job also demands taking care of last-minute changes that brands may demand. As a result, the entire media buying exercise is extremely time-consuming and cumbersome, not to mention an intuitive and impulsive function because some decisions also have to be taken on-the-spot.

Enter: programmatic TV

Thankfully, technology is ushering in a sea change in the way TV audience buying is being done. The process is set to shape up differently in the coming days with the entry of programmatic TV.

This data-driven media buying process, already a known currency in digital media, brings buyers and sellers on to an automated marketplace making the experience simpler and more efficient. While programmatic buying has worked well in digital advertising, the concept is just making inroads into the TV industry.

Of late, we are witnessing a gradual shift towards this technology-driven approach that uses data to make TV advertising simple and accountable, with the desired outcome.

Simplicity is the cornerstone of programmatic TV

With programmatic TV, a media buying agency does not have to engage in extensive manual processes that involve endless loops of working on spreadsheets and making lengthy media plans, requests and orders, and waiting for responses from TV channels. Now, campaigns can be planned, executed and managed in just a few steps, using a simple workflow. Advertisers can set up a clear and organised campaign specific to their needs, setting parameters such as audience classification, duration of the creative, target group, GRP objectives and genre of the channels. Significant time, effort and money are saved since workflows are automated in programmatic TV, thus making the whole process of buying audiences on TV super-efficient and transparent.


As programmatic TV is a data-driven technology with highly intelligent algorithms, it quickly generates precise and reliable media plans that meet campaign objectives, thereby making decision-making an easy task for advertisers. The technology also enables constant tracking of a campaign’s performance, which otherwise we get to know of only after the campaign’s completion. Thus, programmatic TV is not just about the convenience of buying inventory, but about being in control to enable advertisers derive more from their ad campaign budgets.

Course correction

Due to its unique capability to track a campaign’s performance as it progresses, programmatic TV allows taking immediate remedial action if expected performance (GRP) is not delivered due to ad drops or fluctuations in the audience performance of the TV channels. Programmatic TV traces accurately which ad spots get played out, when and where. So, whenever there is a deviation from expected performance, it is easy to make up for the loss by redeploying money elsewhere and ensuring GRP targets are met then and there. Like a navigation system that predicts jams on the road and suggests a change in the route, programmatic TV is flexible and intelligent enough to redirect traffic based on the targets to be met in near real-time.


Programmatic TV is poised to be the tipping point of the next revolution in TV advertising.  The worldwide TV advertising volume is about $220 billion, which is about 40% of the total ad spending. The share of programmatic TV advertising in the total TV ad spend worldwide rising and is expected to grow to $17.3 billion by 2019, as per IDC reports. Programmatic TV has already taken its first steps in India and can lead the way in bringing a paradigm shift in the global TV advertising landscape. The stage is certainly set for exciting times in the age-old TV industry and it will only get stronger with the advent of data and technology trends.

Rajendra Kumar Khare is founder, chairman & MD, SureWaves MediaTech

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