Magna Global Partners With Cox Media, AudienceXpress for Programmatic TV [Breaking News]

January 20, 2015 Mike Smith

Is the TV industry starting to get serious about embracing programmatic, or more data-driven, automated ad sales, just like the Internet? That’s still an open question. But one of the top media buying agencies sure seems ready to get into that game.

Magna Global, the ad buying and research division of IPG Mediabrands, has partnered with Cox Media–the ad division of Cox Communications, along with the technology firm AudienceXpress, to create what the companies are calling a private marketplace for TV advertising.

Using a new Web-based interface, Magna will be able to buy linear TV ads that would run within Cox Media’s local cable ad space. Magna will also be able to target specific audience segments for its clients via the new marketplace, said officials at the companies.

Essentially, this new private marketplace will be modeled after similar entities from the Web ad world. Even as programmatic ad selling has risen in popularity, many major media companies have shied away from selling their ad space on open exchanges, even their online inventory, fearing that prices will take a hit given these open exchanges’ vast inventory supplies.

Thus, many top media firms have established more private exchanges, which purport to offer advertisers some of the benefits of programmatic advertising–only on a much smaller scale, with a single Web publisher or a select set of publishers. That way, the thinking goes, the publishers can better control pricing and data sharing–which theoretically should appeal more to reticent TV ad executives.

“That’s very important,” said Walt Horstman, AudienceXpress’ president, who noted that TV ad sales people often fear the word programmatic, equating it with cheap ad inventory. “The fact that Magna and Cox will negotiate terms of their deals directly is crucial to get TV sellers to buy in. That’s why we think this represents an inflection point and why major inventory providers are now getting on board in a significant way.”

Neither Magna nor Cox discussed how much revenue will change hands in this new marketplace. Magna’s parent company IPG has set a goal to automate half of the agency holding company’s media spending by next year.

Given that Cox’s cable footprint is just six million homes, it’s doubtful that Magna will be able to move huge portions of its clients’ TV budgets right away. But Todd Gordon, executive vice president and U.S. director of Magna Global, said that momentum for testing programmatic TV is building, in spite of any limitations.

“This offers them better data for targeting, and efficiency.” he said. “And there is solid inventory available here. Every client is asking for this.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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