SureWaves MediaTech has just launched Skynet, an end-to-end programmatic Television advertising marketplace. Rajendra Kumar Khare, Founder, Chairman & MD, SureWaves MediaTech, talks about the new offering
Q] Tell us about the Programmatic Television Advertising marketplace, Skynet. How does it simplify the buying of traditional Television advertising?
Skynet is a Programmatic Television Advertising marketplace that enables media planners to intelligently plan and efficiently buy audiences on broadcast TV channels, akin to Digital advertising today. Skynet is a data-driven cloud based technology platform that empowers planning, buying and execution disciplines of traditional linear Television advertising. It equips media agencies with the ability to execute TV ad campaigns in a simple, systematic and accountable manner.
Traditionally, Television advertising has been an extremely complex process. Planning, buying and execution work independently without the full knowledge of the constraints at each of these stages. Planning is a very time-consuming process presently, taking weeks of effort to come up with optimized plans due to the large number of regional markets and broadcast channels. In a very dynamic demand and supply situation, after all the effort that goes into arriving at the optimum plans, it is a Herculean task to buy what has been planned, and almost impossible to execute what has been bought. This not only affects the deliveries in campaign performance, but also leads to unending loops of reconciliations and delays in processing of payments.
Skynet seeks to change the status quo by simplifying Television advertising like never before; enabling planning, buying and execution to work in tandem using robust technology and sophisticated algorithms that guarantee absolute and measurable end-to-end implementation of a brand’s Television campaign.
Agencies can simply input their high level parameters for the campaign and the audiences they wish to buy on behalf of their clients. Skynet quickly builds an optimum plan using the inventories available on its marketplace from the participating broadcasters and enables the buyers to buy these audiences at guaranteed costs per rating point.
Q] What is the differentiator for Skynet?
We believe that Skynet is the first real attempt at implementing a true end-to-end programmatic audience buying solution for linear TV, in India and the world over. We see that technology platforms are transforming every sector. Skynet is built with a vision to bring about the same transformation to linear TV advertising.
Previous attempts made outside India have been primarily focused on solving the demand side problems and have struggled to integrate with broadcast systems. We recognized very early that the key to solving this problem was fixing the supply side of the equation. Hence, our entire solution is architected to enable seamless end-to-end system integration with existing systems and processes.
Q] What are the challenges ahead?
We see the change needed in user behaviour as the biggest challenge for adoption of new technologies. Hence, our whole attempt has been to understand the existing systems and processes and provide a delightful user experience.
Q] How are you implementing programmatic buying in the Television space?
Programmatic buying has already gone mainstream in the Digital medium, while companies across the world have struggled to bring the same to linear TV. The main reason is the difficulty in convincing the broadcasters. Their solutions require the broadcasters to make drastic changes to the current set-up.
We started our journey by organizing the cable TV advertising ecosystem in India. Over the years, we built a robust technology platform that integrates seamlessly with broadcasters in a very unorganized market. Our learnings from this phase formed the foundation for building our next generation platform - Skynet. Since most integration issues were already resolved, we could focus our energies on data and algorithms. After running scores of simulations and crunching petabytes of data in our labs, we now feel confident about taking the solution to the market.
We are empowering broadcasters to better monetize and manage their revenues through knowledge tools that would help them to stay on top of their business. They can exercise full control of the roll-out of their inventories and rates.
Q] SureWaves is associated with the cable universe. Is Skynet the first step towards the larger Television network space...
With our platform SureWaves Spot TV Network, we have aggregated the audiences of more than 500 local cable TV channels, across the country. The platform has enabled large advertisers to reach out to countrywide audiences with culturally and linguistically nuanced communication. As a giant leap in our journey, we have launched the next-generation platform, Skynet, to cater to the needs of mainstream Television in India. Skynet represents a paradigm shift in TV advertising and will bring sweeping changes to the broadcast ecosystem.
Q] Measurability and RoI have always been a challenge for the media planner. How does Skynet ensure accountability? How does your partnership with BARC help?
Skynet provides media planners with continuous updates on campaign performance, putting them into the driver’s seat. The platform automatically tracks the spots played and is capable of making course corrections to deliver on the campaign performance that was planned. Skynet ensures RoI by enabling buyers to pay for the actual performance at guaranteed costs per rating point. As a marketplace, we provide complete transparency in the billings between the broadcasters and media buyers.
BARC has been very supportive of our programmatic initiative. Our partnership with them for Audience Measurement and Spot Track data has made the platform more effective for our customers.
Q] What has been the response from media planners, broadcasters and advertisers?
The platform has been launched only recently, but we have seen tremendous positive response from the leading media agencies. Given the rapid developments in the digital world, they are eager to hop on to the programmatic bandwagon.
We have started with channels in Tamil Nadu as a pilot and we will go pan-India in the coming months. We are already seeing interest from many broadcast networks that are eager for us to launch in their markets.
Q] What can we expect from SureWaves, looking ahead?
In the near term, you can expect a national rollout of Skynet. Subsequently we intend to take our solutions to international markets and have started exploring partnerships.
Given our keen interest in media convergence technologies, we are also working on solutions that integrate TV and Digital ad campaigns.