Centro Gets Local Through New And Expanded Partnerships With Publishers

Digital ad tech firm Centro this week will announce new and expanded partnerships with several of its publisher partners, including Disney/ABC Television Group, Emmis Communications, Lee Enterprises, Morris Publishing Group, The E.W. Scripps Company, The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company, Metro and others.

Centro's new publisher clients include Disney/ABC Television Group and Metro. Existing clients are expanding their partnerships with Centro to use digital ad tech to grow local market business.

Katie Risch, SVP of publisher development at Centro, told Real-Time Daily that Centro has offered publishers “extension” tools to help them manage their local businesses for three years on a managed service basis. Risch said the company is now letting publishers white-label a demand-side platform (DSP), which many are doing.

Centro’s tech is being used in 160 local markets, according to Risch. One hundred of these markets are using it on a managed service basis and 60 markets are going the white-labeled DSP route. One of the publishers that is white-labeling the tech is ABC, but Centro would not disclose any others. (The DSP that is being white-labeled is SiteScout, which Centro acquired last year.)

“Publishers are under-leveraging their greatest assets -- sales teams and in-market relationships,” said Risch. “The other under-leveraged piece is their first-party data. We see a lot of publishers not using their first-party data [to grow audiences].”

It may seem backwards -- DSPs are for advertisers, so what are publishers doing with them? Essentially, the media holding companies are using Centro’s ad-buying platform to grow their audience in local markets.

“Many of these partners are looking to bring programmatic capabilities in-house -- looking to build a publisher trading desk,” explained Risch. “They want to build digital extensions across exchanges to retarget their audiences or find new audiences.”

Risch said she expect the white-labeled portion of the business to grow “at a rapid rate.” And while that growth does not necessarily have to come at the expense of the managed service side of its business, Risch acknowledged that Centro “could see some of [its] managed service partners get on the path to self-reliance.”

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