Microsoft's Bell Joins DOmedia Exchange
While the television industry has made several half-hearted attempts to set up a NASDAQ-style online media exchange (the most recent iteration was nicknamed Adsaq), all of them failing, the burgeoning digital out-of-home video industry, unencumbered by TV's legacy structures for buying and selling inventory, has cruised ahead with its own versions. One of the most promising new media exchanges, DOmedia, recently recruited Jeff Bell -- formerly vice president of global marketing for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, where he led campaigns for Xbox, Rock Band, and Halo 3 -- as chairman. MediaPost caught up with Bell this week to find out what DOmedia does, and what's in store for the exchange model.
Q: What's the purpose of the DO exchange? How does it work?
A: The DOmedia marketplace is designed to help buyers and sellers of out-of-home and alternative media connect as efficiently as possible. Media owners use our site to create profiles for their properties, including photos, contact information, product description, rate card pricing, and more. Media buyers are then able to search our database by keyword, geography, media type and/or venue to find properties that will meet their needs.
Q: How does it differ from companies like SeeSaw or Adcentricity, which aggregate DO networks for advertisers?
A: The DOmedia solution truly solves the problem of fragmentation that has held the industry back in the past and includes everyone in the OOH and alternative media space, from traditional to digital to ambient and beyond. We are also focused on bringing buyers, planners and sellers together as quickly as possible, streamlining the research and sales process, so subsequent conversations can be productive for everyone involved.
Q: What is your first mission, now that you've joined the company?
A: My first priority has been to reach out to my colleagues in the agency community, listening to their experiences working in the out-of-home and alternative media space. Our role is to develop software tools which alleviate the pain points that exist in the industry, while elevating the overall stature and respect for this growing media channel.
Q: In the past, several big media exchanges for (regular) TV were proposed, but they never got off the ground. What factors were working against TV? And, what makes the DO marketplace different?
A: I think there have been a number of issues impacting traditional TV exchanges that don't apply to what we're trying to do. First, there isn't the same fragmentation in that space that there is in out-of-home and alternative media, so the value proposition isn't as strong for those working in television. Within our segment of the industry, it can be a challenge to keep track of which companies offer which products/services in each market and then connecting with the appropriate contacts can take days. DOmedia is able to leverage our technology to streamline this process.
The second factor that hurt the development of TV exchanges is that many providers only viewed them as a way to sell remnant inventory, which meant that prime ad slots were rarely listed. This again drove down the value proposition for both buyers and sellers. DOmedia works very closely with our sellers to include all of their inventory in our system, so buyers can get information on the entire product range a media seller is able to offer.
Q: Does your exchange recruit DO networks, or do they ask to join, or is there some other system? How does it plan to expand?
A: We actively reach out to media providers within all verticals of the out-of-home and alternative media space, including digital networks, billboards, street teams, malls, airports and more. Concurrently, media providers are able to create their accounts and add their inventory on their own within our site as well, subject to a review by our client services team. This combination of self-service and client service allows us to build the inventory listed within DOmedia very quickly.