With the national presidential conventions complete, and most of the state primaries for Congressional, state and local offices either behind us or to occur in the next few weeks, the most concentrated period for the purchase of political advertising on broadcast stations is now upon us, to peak in the late October/early November frenzy. While most of the principles governing the FCC rules on political broadcasting are relatively established (and many are summarized in our Political Broadcasting Guide available here), there are always new advertising practices and opportunities that throw some new wrinkle into how those rules are applied. At a number of political advertising seminars that I have conducted this past year, and in discussions with broadcasters, one of the new wrinkles this year that has not captured the attention that it deserves is the political broadcasting issues raised by programmatic buying of advertising time.
In the last year or two, programmatic buying has become the buzzword in broadcast advertising circles for both radio and TV. It is intended to make ad buying easier and more akin to the experience that ad buyers have when they place online advertising, where most of it can be done from a computer with a few clicks of a mouse, anywhere at anytime. While programmatic buying is becoming more and more common in broadcast circles, is difficult to easily say exactly what it is, as what is called “programmatic buying” comes in so many different flavors. Not only does the concept mean different things in different systems, it is also being provided by all sorts of different companies, from rep firms, to broadcast technology companies, to companies that have specialized in specific types of advertising – like remnant ad sales (i.e. sales of unsold advertising inventory that broadcasters may have). And some station owners are signing up with multiple providers – sometimes at the same station.
Continue Reading Programmatic Advertising Buying and the FCC’s Political Broadcasting Rules