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The REVisionists: MadHive Wants To Help Local Broadcasters Master OTT

The following is a selection from our latest report, “Local OTT: What You Need to Know.” Use the discount code [tvrev25] for $25 off when you purchase today.

“The original idea behind MadHive is that as viewers are moving into streaming channels, what technologies can we build that will allow the people who built this industry, the broadcast groups and TV station owners, to be able to keep their business models relatively intact as the underlying infrastructure switches to this digital based system,” says Adam Helfgott, Founder and CEO of MadHive. “And how can we do that in a way that ensures that all the value of their business does not get siphoned off by a middleman, like one of the big digital giants that don’t really produce any content.”

Q: Let’s start off discussing why local is still so important even in this digital era.

A: it’s kind of the difference between shopping at Walmart or shopping at a family-owned local store where you get to know everybody.

For news, that means the information you get is more in-depth about the things that are important to you, rather than just focusing on national trends. It’s the same on the advertising side, because it’s a way to access the local market both for local businesses and national ones. 

In many ways, local media represents liberty and freedom, because it’s really community-driven meaning it’s more about consumers and less about large corporate agendas.

Q: What are some of the challenges facing local TV these days?

A: As the streaming wars heat up, local TV is often missing out. Few of the broadcast groups really have a presence that is meaningful on OTT. That means they’re not the kings of the jungle anymore. You look at their stock prices and they’re sinking. Viewership is declining on local linear because people are moving to OTT. The pandemic will slow it down some, mostly for news, but that’s just a temporary fix.

That’s why the rise of the reach extension business is so important, it’s a way for the local stations’ ad sales teams to sell that portion of their viewership that’s largely left them for OTT and still be able to profit from it.

Q: Let’s talk about measurement. Is it true that become you have become a believer in panels for OTT?

A: When I first got into this industry, the idea of a Nielsen panel seemed silly to me. And it wasn’t until I really got into the business intelligence part of things that I understood why panels were so important. You see, unlike a phone, where you know who the owner is, you actually have no idea who in the TV-viewing household is sitting on that couch and watching. And often as not, it’s several people, not just one person. When you look at it from that angle, Nielsen’s panels make a lot of sense, and I understand why you’d want to design demographics around that.

Panels for OTT are not really there yet. There’s a bunch of companies doing work there, but in the meantime, there are digital companies selling measurement systems that try to guesstimate who might be on the couch, or at least to know if that household has certain types of people in it.

So right now, if an auto intender campaign is sold, and there’s an OTT impression available, where a member of that household is on that auto intender list, generally an OTT impression will be bought for that campaign against that particular household. There might not be direct evidence in a probabilistic format or even in a deterministic one, as to whether that person actually was watching the show, and that’s why we get ads on a children’s show for adult products and things like that.

So our goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen or doesn’t happen very frequently.

Q: How exactly does MadHive work with local advertisers?

(to read more of this interview, buy our latest report on local OTT)