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Nexstar, SBG, Tribune, TEGNA Launch TIP Initiative

NEW YORK—Four of the nation’s largest station groups this week have launched an initiative to develop standards-based interfaces aimed at speeding up electronic advertising buying and selling for local TV stations and media agencies.

Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, TEGNA and Tribune Media announced the formation of TV Interface Practices (TIP) Initiative on Nov. 20 and publication of a technical whitepaper entitled “Interface Automation Guidelines for Local TV Transactions,” which is a description of potential best practices that describe the local TV transaction workflow and a recommended API framework.

Outdated, frequently manual transactional processes have hindered local television broadcasters and ad agencies by making it difficult for stations to leverage available advertising inventory, said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair in a press release announcing the initiative.

More than 12 vendors of systems that address some aspect of the local TV buy-sell process have been contacted by the consortium of station groups and asked to review the electronic methods and specifications in use to support local spot buying, the release said.

Based on the responses, a set of APIs are being proposed to support electronic transfer of buy transactional data. The TVB will serve as a repository for the work of the initiative and provide open access to industry partners, it said.

“To sustain local television’s advantages across all screens and devices, we must work together as an industry to create a more efficient marketplace for advertisers to access local TV inventory in a manner that is cost-effective for the buyer, while maintaining the integrity of our product,” said Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar in the release.

According to the release, the TIP Initiative will be guided in its work by five principles, including:

· Local TV is the most powerful brand-building medium, and broadcasters will benefit from the best automation;

· Although demand for local TV ad inventory is strong, buyers face challenges created by transactional friction;

· It is possible to streamline local spot buying with system-to-system electronic processes, but coordination involving support from multiple broadcasters is need to create the necessary interoperability;

· The best way to promote system-to-system interchange of transactional information is via standards-based interfaces;

· Standard API interfaces set the stage for advanced local TV and ATSC 3.0.

“A lack of progress on the buy- and sell-side has prevented broadcasters from unlocking the full value of our local content offerings,” said Larry Wert, Tribune president and CEO in the release.

Dave Lougee, president and CEO of TEGNA, added that automation can cut out the complexity and costs associated with the process of buying and selling TV advertising at the local level and can give “local stations and advertisers the opportunity to more efficiently allocate their respective resources.”

More information is available from TVB

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.