Starting 15 August, Mediaocean and Operative will be piloting a program to automate assembling requests for proposal (RFP) and processing insertion orders.
NBC Universal (NBCU) and several agencies within one of the big five holding companies have signed on as launch partners.
Operative is a sell-side software-as-a-service platform, and Mediaocean has a similar offering for the buy-side. With this integration, NBCU will respond to an RFP through Operatives AOS Connect offering, which is sent to the media agencies via Mediaocean's Prisma platform.
Operative chief executive officer Lorne Brown said that whole back-and-forth process is done manually today, but this integration converts the task into an automated one.
Brown added that he sees about 50% of a sales planner’s time spent re-keying orders from one system to the other. Automating this process should help networks compete with digital giants like Google and Facebook and allow advertisers to buy an audience without having to "talk to a human to get it bought and delivered".
"Premium content has the scale, and is higher quality [than Google and Facebook], but the work to do the buys and sells is totally manual. This is a huge step because we are taking a big part of the inefficiency in the value chain and automating it, getting the premium media companies and agencies one step closer to replicate the seamlessness the digital giants offer," Brown told The Drum.
"For [media companies] to compete with large digital companies, they need to act and feel like a single platform, like a Facebook. The more the media companies can promote consistent automation methods, the more share they will get."
Mediaocean chief executive officer Bill Wise said the integration with Operative should lead to "greater efficiency, visibility and control" for all parties involved.
The Mediaocean-Operative partnership will automate the RFP process across all of TV, including video on demand, OTT and connected TV.
“Automation of media sales is an important step towards a future of advertising that combines the best content for consumers with the best technology for advertisers,” NBC Universal senior vice-president of advertising technology Ed Kozek said in a company statement. “We’re excited that our clients will now be able to use these buying tools to seamlessly access our entire portfolio, to reach the audiences they love at the scale they need.”
The next step of this automation quest is to reel in more buy- and sell-side partners. Brown said the two companies will be extending the pilot in Q4 of 2019 to involve the "top seven-to-eight" media companies that represent "a very big chunk" of the premium content market share.
Operative and Mediaocean will track transaction speeds during the automated RFP process and compare it to the manual process to measure success.
"On the agency side, they should see a massive increase in speed of turnaround times with the media companies, making it significantly easier and faster to do deals with premium content companies," said Brown.