Why TV Sales Reps Worry About Tech Shake-Ups

Fear and loathing in ad selling

Compared with digital, the TV ad landscape changes at a glacial pace. But some of TV’s largest players are trying to overhaul its underlying technologies, which is giving some industry insiders anxiety.

Between September 2017 and March 2018, Videa and Finn Partners surveyed 174 TV industry professionals who work for ad agencies, stations and station rep firms in the US. The study found that just half of respondents were somewhat or very concerned that their organization would not be able to keep up with the tech changes occurring around them.

Many of the biggest tech changes happening in TV are being led by legacy media companies. NBCUniversal is selling targeted TV ads in an attempt to take ad dollars back from digital giants like Facebook and Google. It also joined an ad targeting consortium that includes Turner, Viacom and Fox.

Sales representatives showed the most concern among those polled. Regarding the tech changes occurring around TV ad selling, a quarter of the surveyed reps said they were very concerned, and another 43% said they were somewhat concerned. By comparison, just 8% of TV station members were very concerned, and 31% were somewhat concerned.

Overall, 46% of respondents felt that the tech advancements happening in the TV industry are a threat to their organization’s existence. Again, the fear was highest among reps, with 87% saying that tech changes threaten their firm. There is no doubt concern that the expansion of programmatic TV could extinguish traditional methods of brokering inventory.

Sales reps lack the resources to buy or build their own tech, according to Dave Morgan, CEO of TV ad targeting company Simulmedia. This makes them more vulnerable when new technologies replace old ways of TV ad buying.