While AOL and Publicis Groupe have been programmatic cohorts since last July, the media giant and the holding company took their partnership to another level by adding video and linear TV to the mix Monday at Advertising Week.
The move will link Publicis' digital arm VivaKi with AOL Platforms, which will become Publicis' preferred partner for programmatic video.
Through the deal, all Publicis agencies will get access to premium reserved and non-reserved inventory through ONE by AOL, as well as the tools to build private marketplaces.
Toby Gabriner, head of Adap.tv and ONE by AOL, told AdExchanger that AOL forged 50 new private marketplaces in the first half of the year alone. With digital video ad spend expected to skyrocket from $7.77 billion in 2015 to $12.71 billion in 2018, agencies are stepping up their investment in the format.
Although it's unclear how Publicis clients using other video platforms for their buys will be affected by the partnership, AOL touts its openness, claiming brands and agencies can use either their own tech or AOL's. More details should emerge when AOL stages tonight its Programmatic Upfront, what's rapidly becoming a fall tradition.
What's particularly compelling about the AOL-Publicis alliance is AOL's growing inventory supply. On the heels of an earlier acquisition of TV ad-targeting platform PrecisionDemand, AOL got set-top box data on some 210 designated market areas (DMA), the equivalent of 662 million national and 675 million local viewers. As more demand-side platforms look to bring linear, connected and over-the-top inventory into the digital fold, deals such as the aforementioned become attractive to the agency buyer who wishes to bundle their video and TV buy.
When AOL and Publicis first linked up last year on Publicis AOL Live (PAL), a number of digital advertising and media execs noted that the partnership appeared to be an effort to move deeper intro real-time marketing.
But some execs like Steve Katelman, EVP of global strategic partnerships and digital at rival Omnicom Media Group, pointed out the original deal was not necessarily as exclusive as it sounded. "If we had a client that wanted to incorporate 'Live' with AOL, TechCrunch, HuffPo, etc., we could tomorrow," he said. "Any platform unique to a holding company would be open to all in six months or so."
Exclusive or not, Publicis Groupe continues its string of partner deals. At DMEXCO, it announced it would roll out Adobe Marketing Cloud across its agency network, namely licensing Adobe's data-management platform AudienceManager to agencies and customers.