Pandora Opens Programmatic Box: Real-Time With Jeremy Randol

Pandora, a large company that has been relatively quiet in the programmatic space, has made a big move toward embracing ad tech with the appointment of Jeremy Randol as its vice president of programmatic sales.

Pandora tapped Randol from NBCU, where he served as director of programmatic ad sales since 2010. Randol is also on the IAB’s Programmatic Council and was a founding member.

The streaming music company wasn’t ready to speak in-depth about its programmatic strategy, but the appointment of Randol gives us a peek at its hand. Randol answered a few question via email about Pandora, his new position and what drew him to ad technology in the first place.

Real-Time Daily: What’s the programmatic team like at Pandora?

Jeremy Randol: To date, Pandora's programmatic efforts have been guided by a combination of team members on our ad operations and monetization teams. As our large clients and agency partners have begun exploring and embracing programmatic buying to a greater degree, we felt it was important to think strategically about how to position programmatic and have dedicated resources focused on it. I am being tasked with helping our outside sellers go to market with more of a holistic offering, including programmatic, so that we can continue to meet client needs in new ways. 

RTD: What are some of your primary, day-to-day responsibilities as Pandora’s VP of programmatic sales?

Randol: Some of my primary responsibilities will include advancing programmatic sales (within the context of our broader client discussions), bolstering internal education of our sales force, exploring partnerships and evaluating our ad tech solutions. 

RTD: What does "programmatic" mean to you?

Randol: During my time at NBC, I worked to define programmatic and my definition hasn't really changed since then. In short, I place it into two buckets:

  • Back office automation (automating the booking and trafficking process)
  • Electronic trading with the use of publisher, advertiser or third-party data sets.  

I sit on a Programmatic IAB council who helped define the four basic programmatic deal types.

RTD: What drew you to this position at Pandora?

Randol: Prior to even starting my discussions with Pandora, I was an avid user of the product. I love it. It's literally changed how I consume and discover music. So, personally, I was interested from the get-go.

Professionally, I was drawn to Pandora because it is a digital and mobile-first company. Combine that mobile-first mentality with gigantic scale and a sincere desire to serve the most relevant ads to our users, and you can have a very compelling programmatic offering.

RTD: What draws you to ad technology in general?

Randol: I'm drawn to ad tech because of its promise to simplify labor-intensive processes, as well as the way it enables the use of data to put the right message, in front of the right consumers, in the right environment, at the right time.

Nick Johnson, Ryan Mayward and Peter Naylor gave me the opportunity to join NBC's Universal Audience Platform team in 2010 where I shifted gears from a decade in sponsorship sales. There, I learned the Adtech ecosystem. I haven't looked back since.

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