But before the industry gets too excited, there’s still much debate about defining what, exactly, “programmatic” entails. During the ARF Measurement forum, network television and online media camps didn’t agree on a common definition. Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia, posed a question to ARF panelists Tuesday, “By 2020, will a majority of video ads in the US be bought and sold programmatically?”
Discussing ABC’s recent headline that it would be running a programmatic ad beta, Adam Gerber, VP of sales development and marketing for ABC Television made one thing clear.
“We are not moving in to an RTB environment,” he said. “We’re not enabling any of our inventory into open exchanges. None of our linear inventory is part of the trial. The [trial will] apply first and third party data to video inventory to more effectively target so [advertisers] don’t have to rely only on demo targeting – [it’s] connecting their data with our ad server.”
Associating “programmatic” with “open exchange” still happens. The concept of an open exchange is anathema to many in the ad industry, as was evident in a Beet.TV interview in which GroupM’s investment officer stated its programmatic buys would soon be limited to private deals only with publishers.
“Yes, real-time bidding is a subset of programmatic, but it is not ‘the’ definition of what programmatic is,” said Lauren Wiener, president of global sales and marketing at Tremor Video. “None of us are suggesting linear TV…will enter an RTB environment. But, advertisers want to layer in rich data” from DMPs, etc. for better profiling.
The networks agreed, to an extent: “Programmatic is about applying data in real time for dynamic inventory,” ABC’s Gerber said. “The digital video ecosystem will move there, but large swaths of the [linear TV] business will remain focused on human-to-human contact. automation is not programmatic. We still send faxes and emails back for linear TV deals. There’s still an MVPD in the middle who controls access to the home."