SeeSaw Networks to unveil online ad-buying system

February 26, 2007 by Dave Haynes

I met Peter Bowen last year at the digital retailing show in Chicago, when he was starting to build awareness for SeeSaw Networks – essentially a sales rep shop specializing in peddling time on screen media networks.

Industry people have been talking forever about rolling up as many networks as possible into one media sales offer, but there hasn’t been much sign of success. The networks are too divergent and, as usual, it takes a lot of money to get it right.

But SeeSaw is starting to get some traction, with six sizeable affiliate networks in its portfolio: Captive Media, Ecast, DVD Play, MJM Sports and Media, The University Network and Zilo. I’ve only ever heard of Captive Media, but a little rooting around revealed Zilo does in-dorm campus TV and MJM is a fantasy sports play in bars and clubs.

With some 700 sign networks just in the US, there’s a long way to go still. SeeSaw is unveiling an online media placement system this week in Las Vegas that should help draw in more networks, and if things work out, also draw in media planners. The attraction to network operators is that they can make available their unsold slots to this group, who will then try to fill them – presumably at a reduced rate.

AdWeek is reporting: “This week at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ annual media conference in Las Vegas, SeeSaw will launch, an online platform through which advertisers can customize digital buys by demographic, geography or venue. “

“We give buyers one point of contact, one bill. It’s an easy way for agencies to wrap their arms around a space that’s becoming more complicated,” said SeeSaw CEO Peter Bowen. “Our network can deliver over 20 million gross impressions weekly, on par with some top-rated TV shows, at significantly less cost.”

You can click around a Flash demo on the SeeSaw site to see how it all works. It looks like pretty basic stuff and leaves a lot of questions about how this thing will actually work with other networks. My guess is the actual scheduling is manual, with SeeSaw generating an insertion order for its affiliates to execute.

That said, ANYTHING that reduces the noise for media planners and creates some order where there is little, will be welcomed by the ad industry.

This is the first system of its kind, to my knowledge, but I know at least one startup company that’s about to ramp up its own solution. More on them when they are ready to go talk. Suffice to say, similar, but in some respects very different.

 NOTE: Read the comments for SeeSaw founder Jeff Dickey’s point of view, and his clarification of what they’re all about.

  1. Jeff Dickey says:

    First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for your efforts to review and comment on our recent news. We are very excited about the new networks that have joined SeeSaw and the rapid growth being experienced by our existing networks. It is, indeed, clear that there is a need or SeeSaw and the capabilities that it provides to the OOH digital marketplace.

    I would, however, like to point out that we are not a “rep” in the sense that you indicated. The mission of SeeSaw is to provide advertisers with capabilities allowing them to plan, buy and measure their media spend in the OOH digital media space. We accomplish this by offering breadth and depth of inventory, technology that allows the advertisers to package the media in cost effective ways, research that qualifies reach and frequency of the selected media and, in the near future, new services that validate all of the above. The more accurate description would, therefore, be an “exchange”.

    Regarding inventory, our avails are split between digital signage networks that allocate all of their inventory, inventory targeted to national advertisers and inventory reserved for local/regional advertising. It is quite a diverse offering, in line with the needs of the media buyer. As a result, our allocations range from 20% of a DSN’s avails to 100% of their avails.

    SeeSaw’s goal is to elevate the efficacy of the media, the usage of the media and, subsequently, the value of the media. This will benefit owner operators, agencies and marketers as all work in partnership to provide smart, effective advertising to an increasingly mobile and difficult to reach consumer.

    Keep up the good work.

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