The Barriers to True Convergence

Siloed systems create roadblocks on the way forward

Across the media industry, there have been rumblings of convergence for nearly a decade. Convergence is a strategy that seeks to integrate marketing channels and platforms to reach specific audiences cohesively and consistently while streamlining production and distribution. The results—when properly executed—can pay dividends. Yet, even with the desire for convergence across the mediascape, the path to get there remains littered with challenges. 

“My first practical experience with linear and digital convergence was more than seven years ago,” says Fraser Woollard, who recently joined Boostr as EVP of Business Development and Partnerships. “I was having lunch with a friend who worked at an agency buying local spots, and she said to me, ‘I need to reach a younger demographic. I wish I could advertise in Taylor Swift music videos.’ It was obviously a real challenge.” 

Within a year, Woollard saw that happening—local TV spot buyers were buying music video ad inventory from VEVO. More options followed from CTV publishers such as Premion and NBC and streaming radio companies like Spotify and Pandora. Today, local buyers have access to an array of non-linear partners to create their own converged campaigns. 

However, buyers are still piecing together these campaigns themselves to reach the right audiences across a fractured media ecosystem. “I thought that original system would be a Band-Aid,” Woollard laughs, “but it has become the status quo.”

Nevertheless, the promise of convergence and true omnichannel campaigns is driving growth in advanced measurement and programmatic. Agencies and marketers alike are increasingly demanding the ability to target and reach specific audiences across all forms of media.

For consumers, the impact of well-crafted messages is more profound when distributed across channels and formats, including out-of-home, linear, CTV, and audio. “One of the most successful and award-winning campaigns that I can still recall vividly was for Caesars Sportsbook,” Woollard says. “Whether it was on TV during NFL games, on YouTube, in Times Square, or at the restaurants I frequented, I saw the same branding. The message was consistent and, in a competitive market, it truly managed to stand out.” 

How can more brands achieve such a feat? For Woollard, it’s all about breaking down silos and closing process gaps resulting from legacy platforms and architecture.

Barrier #1: Legacy architecture

“Today, massive linear systems are the norm,” Woollard notes. “They weren’t designed to be expanded to handle converged [campaigns], so many companies have brought in alternative measurement companies. It has become increasingly complex, disconnected, and expensive to manage.” 

While trafficking on digital inventory is straightforward with an ad server, that is still not an option for local or national TV. Creative has to be approved, sent in specific formats, and loaded into TV sales systems. All of this takes an enormous amount of time, whereas other channels are leveraging AI to speed up processes and even generate personalized creative.

Woollard notes that the most common complaint he hears across Ad Ops teams is breaking deals apart to bill agencies separate linear and digital invoices, adding hours of labor and numbers-crunching to the work day. This potentially extends the time to pay out, too.  

For personnel attempting to converge media, the prevailing systems are a millstone around the company’s neck, creating friction, lost time, and undue complexity. 

Barrier #2: Siloed budgets

Brands still have separate national, local, and digital budgets. “When Amazon started broadcasting live NFL games on Prime, I assumed these games would come out of a digital budget and be managed by digital buyers,” Woollard says. “I was surprised to see agencies adding these deals as TV buys against the 'AMZ' network. The prices and system were just the same as when they were buying the games the previous year on Fox.” 

“An overall budget, where you could then designate how much you have to target a specific audience, wherever they may be, would be a much more effective approach,” Woollard says. 

Barrier #3: Siloed teams

Sales teams tend to mirror buying teams, where one person handles linear TV, another person oversees digital, and another focuses on audio. From there, the measurement, valuation, and Ad Ops management of the media pieces are also separate. “I’ve heard anecdotes about local sellers struggling to create digital and linear packages together. And I’ve witnessed digital sellers’ frustration with broadcast calendars, including February TV buys that include January dates that have already passed by.”

Automations, linked systems, and cross-functional teams are necessary to create more robust, converged campaigns. “The amount of email that is used is unconscionable,” Woollard says. “We pass all this stuff back and forth endlessly, but email shouldn’t really be used for business processes. The time and effort required is enormous.” 

Barrier #4: Pricing and rates

Prices for direct-sold inventory tend to be higher because of its scarcity and quality. Netflix, for example, charged CPMs over $60 when it introduced a lower-priced, ad-supported subscription. The company aimed for a lower ad load, but its prices were nearly five times the cost of broadcast TV. 

Programmatic may apply downward pressure on CPMs because reaching an audience at scale is the primary goal, though with less focus, context, and quality. Converged media deals up to this point can give publishers a path to higher CPMs, but the costs to manage them will remain higher for the time being.

Smoothing the path forward

“We can think of the situation as a tennis match where there are two sides: a buy side and a sell side,” Woolard says. “One has an audience to sell; the other has dollars to buy. Getting deals done could be quite simple—but it’s not.” 

On the buy side, agencies are transitioning so they can actually purchase digital and linear together with a single buy, but invoices still have not converged, and so the same frustrations continue to arise despite the progress.

“The truth is that we’re not there yet, but the path is clear,” Woollard says. “Neither the buy side nor the sell side has the systems in place to handle converged media.” 

To Woollard, the way forward requires strategic partnerships, with systems in place that can overlay sales, read orders, and automate the building of converged plans without adding complexity to an already convoluted process. “We know where we want to get to—and to do that, we have to work together,” he summarizes. 

Find out how Boostr can unite teams and manage complexity no matter where you’re at in your convergence strategy. Let’s talk. 


Boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting.

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