/// Can TV Buyers Adapt to a Digital Model?

March 12, 2013  |  Media Week

Beyond just getting a seat at the table, digital buyers are suddenly finding themselves at its head—and the love of data, optimization and acronyms they’re bringing with them could seriously shake up traditional media buying where a steak and a handshake still rule. Indeed, a growing number of agency media executives who grew up in digital are finding themselves overseeing the buying and planning of all media. Last month, veteran digital leader Amanda Richman was installed as Starcom USA’s president of investment and activation. She joins John Nitti, who rose through the interactive agency ranks to become president of activation at Zenith in late 2011, and David Cohen, formerly Universal McCann’s U.S. director of digital communications, who rose to chief media officer last year. These execs aren’t looking to force all of TV and magazine buying onto real-time exchanges tomorrow. But it’s clear they’re modifying their old-school colleagues’ ways of working and thinking—albeit nice and slowly. “Traditional media really over-indexes on preplanning,” said Cohen. “Most of the work in digital media is done after a plan starts. So we’re trying to bring some of that thinking to TV, for example, along with concepts like machine-to-machine buying. One thing you notice is that it’s a somewhat foreign concept [in TV] to buy audience over content.” So, look for execs like Cohen to push more data-driven TV buying during this year’s upfront and more on-the-fly optimization. “TV is organized around relationships,” said Cohen.

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Can TV Buyers Adapt to a Digital Model?

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