That suggests that publishers are either relying more on third-party aggregators such as advertising networks, or exchanges, to move more of their inventory and generate more of their revenue, or they are getting a higher yield for it. To that point, Rubicon also disclosed that a new, "secondary premium" marketplace has emerged for online display advertising, and that it is reaping much higher prices than the traditional "non-premium" marketplace that has emerged with the rise of advertising networks over the past several years.
The new secondary premium market, the Rubicon report said, is comprised of premium inventory that is sold by third-parties other than a publisher's own sales team, and commands CPMs ranging from $2 to $10, falling somewhere between the premium market of a publisher's own sales, and the so-called "remnant" inventory liquidated by advertising networks and exchanges. Rubicon said the secondary premium market is comprised of "non-guaranteed" and "preemptible" display advertising inventory that commands a higher market value than what is traditionally sold by ad networks, but which does not compete directly with publishers' premium sales.
Citing research from a recent ThinkEquity report, Rubicon estimated that the new secondary premium marketplace represents as much as $15 billion.
Several other twists are beginning to emerge within the rapidly evolving online display advertising marketplace, including another secondary market in which publishers are beginning to augment the sales of their own site inventory by "tapping into fellow publishers' inventory." Rubicon calls this phenomenon "audience extension," and says it follows the trend toward buying based on "audience" delivery.
That trend may be part of a broader trend toward so-called "audience representation," and the emergence of a new class of media sales reps within the industry. Rubicon is expected to announce deals soon with several traditional media sales representation firms to extend the reach of their offline TV, radio audience delivery online, and to add their online audience reach into the mix aggregated by other online advertising networks.
Rubicon hasn't cited which firms it will begin working with, but Brian Benedik, president of Katz 360 Sales, is quoted in the new report as saying, "Agency needs are focused on reaching very targeted, relevant consumers for their brands as the migration of advertising dollars towards digital channels accelerates. The ability to segment specific audiences for these advertisers is an essential value proposition for today's sales agents. At Katz 360, our Audience Representation business lives through multiple digital platforms and our new display advertising audience offering is an exciting development. There is a real need for the secondary premium display market to evolve, and our Katz Audience Representation business provides national brands and local businesses with behavioral and contextual solutions across a host of Web publishers."