FreeWheel cuts inefficiencies in the local TV advertising process

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 
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FreeWheel Solves Decades-Long Inefficiencies of Buying Local TV

  • New Enhancements to the Strata Platform to Offer Increased Efficiencies Throughout Entire Buying Process, from Pre-Planning to Invoice Reconciliation
  • Online, In-Platform Communication Between Buyers and Sellers Allows Real-time, Direct Negotiations; Reduces Costly Errors

NEW YORK — FreeWheel, A Comcast Company (Nasdaq: CMCSA), today announced that its FreeWheel Advertisers division has launched enhancements to its Strata platform that will bring additional automation to the local TV advertising process. These enhancements will bring greater efficiencies to many of the tasks associated with buying local TV advertising for both agencies and local broadcasters. The new automated capabilities will be made available to the 1,200 agencies that already use the Strata platform and all U.S. TV stations.

“FreeWheel is dedicated to improving the Strata platform to reduce the friction associated with TV buying and provide time savings. With this latest round of enhancements, we’ve accomplished these goals,” said Joy Baer, General Manager, FreeWheel Advertisers. “When you consider that these new automation enhancements are available within the same system that local TV buyers and sellers currently use, the solution is clearly unique in the industry. The word that our clients are using is ‘game-changing.’”

The capabilities now available include:

  • Automated Ratings Estimates: Using algorithm-based machine learning, the Strata platform can automatically provide agencies with ratings estimates for proposals submitted by TV sellers.
  • Optimized Schedules: Buyers can evaluate multiple “what if” scenarios by building schedules in seconds against an advertiser’s audience goals and budget.
  • Real-time, Online Negotiations: Buyers and sellers can use the software for two-way communication, cutting out the need for e-mail and time-wasting, error-prone data entry.

Zimmerman Advertising (part of Omnicom Group) is one of the agencies currently piloting the software and their buyers have already seen some positive results.

“The automation capabilities within the Strata platform allow our buyers to accomplish what used to take a full day in less than a minute,” said Adam Herman, EVP, Chief Integrated Media Director, Zimmerman Advertising. “This is a huge benefit to our clients, as our buyers’ time can be better spent on more strategic activities rather than on mundane tasks that are best automated. We congratulate FreeWheel on automating these tasks so accurately and reliably.”

According to a January 2019 Advertiser Perceptions survey commissioned by FreeWheel, buyers spend 8.4 hours a week on activities they wish were more automated.

FreeWheel expects the software to be available to all agencies later in Q2. Local broadcasters who are already Strata platform users can connect with agencies using their current tools. Other sell-side users can access web-based software to connect with those agencies who are utilizing the new capabilities.

“Anything that we can do to make local TV advertising easier to buy is a benefit to the entire ecosystem,” said Brett Jenkins, EVP, Chief Technology Officer, Nexstar Media Group. “The work that FreeWheel has done on automating some of the more time-intensive activities is a win for the industry, and very much in line with the goals of the Television Interface Practices (TIP) Initiative. We look forward to working with FreeWheel on the roll out of its new capabilities.”

FreeWheel Advertisers plans to launch additional enhancements by the end of the year, including mid-flight optimization and automated invoice reconciliation. The company also plans to extend this initiative to include local OTT advertising, allowing TV buyers to comprehensively plan and buy both linear and digital TV in Q4 2019.

Links: FreeWheel