Local stations are getting customized stock market reports from New York, partly thanks to programmatic advertising technology.
Former CNN and Bloomberg correspondent Jane King gets up early each day to provide live and taped segments from the NASDAQ studios for local newscasts. Her segments appear during the morning news on 76 stations.
Normally, it would be tough for such a segment to attract national advertiser support, but because King’s company, LilaMax Media, hooked up with AdMore and its programmatic ad platform, national commercials are running adjacent to the latest from Wall Street in markets around the country.
“Everybody wins; that’s the beauty of it,” AdMore president Brendan Condon said. “The stations are getting great national brands from the advertisers and they’re getting good editorial content. Viewers are watching something they’re engaged with, and therefore our advertisers win because they’re in that sought-after environment.”
King formed the company after Bloomberg decided to get out of the local syndication business in 2013 and stopped providing stations with the individual market reports she’d been doing.
King and her business partner Bob Morris, a salesman who had worked with King at Turner and Bloomberg, saw an opportunity.
“We knew we had to move quickly to keep the momentum going because we were working with a lot of stations and we wanted to make sure they wanted to continue the reports and didn’t fill the space,” King said.
The New York Stock Exchange, from which King had reported for 13 years, couldn’t accommodate her 4:30 a.m. start time, so she met with NASDAQ, which was willing to give the new enterprise a shot.
“NASDAQ immediately gave us some credibility,” she said. “It is a brand name that people know. They have highly professional studios — sound, lighting, cameras, everything is state of the art.”
LilaMax—named for King’s two children—launched with eight stations. That grew to 61 stations by 2016. “There were a lot of things that happened technologically that allowed us to do things without the staff of 13 that we had at Bloomberg,” Morris, LilaMax’s COO, said.
Things changed on the revenue side as well. LilaMax either charges a fee for its programming—about $20,000 per year—or takes ad time as barter, Morris said. Either way, it used to be that you couldn’t sell ads in syndicated programming unless you had 70% of the country covered. That made it important to have stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. But AdMore sells most of the ad time associated with the reports, whether the station retains the time or the revenue goes to LilaMax.
About 70% of the stations do barter, Morris said. But they pay fees in bigger markets, where an ad can generate $750,000 in revenue over the course of a year.
A Profitable Win-Win
In some cases, AdMore sells the commercials to advertisers who turn to the programmatic platform to find quality content with financial subject matter. In other cases, the advertisers may be looking for higher income viewers who have expressed interest in investments. Either way, the stations don’t have to worry about finding a buyer for this ad inventory.
“We’re marrying good, targeted content with targeted ads to the stations in a turnkey way,” Condon said. “The station is getting great stuff and doesn’t have to monetize it, because it’s already coming premonetized.”
AdMore already works with many of the stations on which LilaMax segments air, Condon said. If they bring in a station AdMore doesn’t have a relationship with, AdMore technology still allows it to slip the ads into the station’s traffic system.
Working with LilaMax might pave the way for AdMore to get into other forms of content.
Stations said they like working with King and LilaMax. “She’s very easy to work with, very knowledgeable,” said Blaise Labbe, news director at WOAI in San Antonio. When Labbe was a news director in Oklahoma City from 2006-10, King did reports for the station. When he moved to San Antonio and King was starting her business, they got to work together again.
“If something’s happening nationally that will affect your market, they’ll tailor their report for your station,” Labbe said.
The LilaMax duo is looking for ways to keep growing the business. Morris spent time traveling the country in an RV, visiting stations that might want to add King’s stock market reports. They might add another employee to start doing reports about how the market closed.
King has also started to create content for digital outlets, including The Street and Seeking Alpha. “There are a lot of opportunities for us out there too,” she said.