Making a big move into linear TV, programmatic ad giant Rubicon Project has made a deal with Placemedia that gives Rubicon Project’s clients access to Placemedia’s supply of premium ad impressions.
The two companies believe that programmatic TV, which has been slow to take off, is poised for strong growth and that by teaming one of the leaders in the digital space with Placemedia’s inventory—which reaches more than 100 million U.S. homes in 210 local markets—they can provide the kind of multiplatform campaigns advertisers are demanding.
“The big story here is that we’ve got a very sympathetic view with Placemedia,” said Jay Sampson, head of strategic partnerships for Rubicon Project. “They have a very nice position in programmatic television with linear, and we have what we believe is the digital industries leading guaranteed orders platform that can take advantage of these linear impressions coming into the marketplace.”
Rubicon Project’s Guaranteed Orders platform is a good fit for TV inventory, which is usually planned and sold with a delivery guarantee. “That capability is critically important as the business moves forward,” Sampson said.
Chris Satovick, COO of Placemedia, says TV networks and cable operators are moving forward with automating access to their ad inventory, but some remain more advanced than others.
“It covers the full spectrum,” Satovick said. “We have some suppliers that are very automated and taking orders purely electronically and it’s machine to machine and right into the traffic and billing systems and it goes quickly and seamlessly and accurately. Then there are others that are still hand keying in the orders.”
Satovick said Placemedia has been talking and doing tests with Rubicon Project for almost two years.
‘”Now it’s formalized and the inventory is live in the guaranteed orders platform, so their clients can log in and access that inventory and do it in an automated way and create an omni-channel campaign,” he said.
Though a leader in the growing programmatic space, Rubicon Project’s stock plunged earlier this year because it was slow to adopt header bidding in its sales of desktop inventory. Header bidding gets multiple buyers involved in auctions at the same time, which can push pricing higher.
But the companies note that linear TV inventory isn’t affected by header bidding because there will be no auctions or real-time bidding.
Rubicon sees a big opportunity moving into the linear TV space, though for now it won’t represent a big share of its activity.
“It will still be relatively small in comparison to the overall digital desktop, digital video and mobile space, so sub-10% over our overall business,” Sampson said. During the third quarter, $243 million worth of ad spending passed through Rubicon Project’s systems.
“But it’s still an important area to prepare for. We see some pretty astounding numbers as far as the [compounded annual growth rate] on what will happen to the programmatic TV market,” Sampson said.
He cited studies that pegged programmatic TV at $700M in spending for next year. “Which is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall television business, but shifting dramatically on a compounded basis over the next two or three year horizon,” he said.