This year’s upfront negotiations come in the wake of economic turmoil and strapped marketing budgets. In the first half of this year, advertisers pulled back or held TV ad dollars from flexible commitments to weather the uncertainty, but now need inventory to re-invest optioned budgets.
“[Proteus] would have failed profusely in the first half of the year when everyone was holding back money, because if you’re holding back money, all you want is as many eyeballs as cheaply as possible,” said Michael Bologna, co-founder and chief accelerator at Brightline.“You can only buy so many eyeballs—eventually, eyeballs are not enough. You have to engage those eyeballs.”
Proteus will also tap into marketers’ evolving needs for measuring outcomes, according to Robert Aksman, chief strategy officer at Brightline. By providing a direct source of interaction with viewers, Brightline is able to track audience attention and business outcomes from consumers that interact with the product, as well as verify the ad’s viewership.
“Some of these attention methodologies are pretty sophisticatedly modeled—but not direct. The most direct way of measuring attention is someone clicked [the ad] to respond; the best way to know if somebody is sitting in front of the TV set while an ad is playing is tracking the number of clicks that you’re getting on your ad,” said Aksman. “I believe that this offsets verification because we’re verifying that the viewer is there and we’re verifying that they’re engaged because they’re clicking on something.”
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Allen Media Group is being mindful of the placement of these ads to avoid risky situations, such as advertising a food delivery brand during coverage of a hurricane. As a result, the ad format won’t be available through programmatic platforms.
The product is designed to feed The Weather Channel's hyper-local targeting data to Brightline to serve relevant ads—an allergy medicine might sponsor a segment on local pollen counts and serve different ads for its products based on the region’s pollen.
In the current economy, “sellers want to charge more, buyers want to pay less, advertisers think they’re always right—everybody can’t have what they want,” said Bologna. “In this case, with this product, everybody can have what they want. The seller can charge more because there is a trackable value that the agency can in turn track back to success, which they can then pitch back to their client, which will then approve the premium.”