Commentary

Video RTB: Is An Impression An Impression An Impression?

On the "Is It Primetime for Video RTB?" panel at OMMA Video today, moderator David Goetzl, senior editor, MediaPost, posed the question: "Is an impression an impression an impression?" Another theme throughout the panel was anwering the question: "What is 'premium programmatic,' and what is the key to unlocking it?" 

Matthew Kramer, director of TV products, Accuen, does not believe that an impression is an impression is an impression. Kramer argued that "even if everything could go to RTB," it wouldn't. He doesn't believe that programmatic can replace contextual buying. "And I don't think it should," he added.

The adoption of RTB was a topic on the panel as well. The term "slow" came up, but Brett Wilson, co-founder and CEO of TubeMogul, argued that with a market that's growing 35-40%, it shouldn't be called slow. "It's growing," he said. "A lot of publishers are racing to grow more content."

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However, there are still some concerns surrounding online video inventory available on automated exchanges. Mike Finnegan, director, product development, Xaxis, said that a lot of top-branded properties are being "cherry-picked." Another factor, according to Finnegan, is that there will always be quality concerns with RTB. He says he's observed publishers "severing ties" with inventory to let it be traded on open marketplaces.

A later topic on the panel was private marketplaces, a term that has sprung up and squeezed it's way into the real-time conversation. Kramer thinks that the future of private marketplaces is bright. "Part of the problem with RTB is getting your hands on some of this premium inventory," he said, before adding, "[and] one of the ways of doing that is" through private marketplaces. He believes that private marketplaces are going to be part of the initiative of every trading desk this year and in future years.

Goeztl asked, "Whats the tipping point for premium inventory?"

Staying true to his cherry-picking theory, Finnegan answered, aruging that "higher quality, TV-like" inventory will be bought before it's trickles down to the RTB exchanges. However, he suggested that the mobile space could be the key to unlocking premium inventory. 

If all impressions were created equal, real-time buying would never have the "race to the bottom" stigma, and televsion advertisers would not belittle online video inventory sold in real-time. Clearly, there's a divide, which tells me that it's not quite primetime for video RTB.

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