I had the chance to speak with Greg Clayman, EVP, digital strategy and commercial development, News Corp., about the company's decision to create a global programmatic exchange. MediaPost has already covered the news and potential fallout for ad networks, so I asked Clayman to explain the upside for News Corp., why it appears they aren't afraid of commoditization while others are, and what the discussions were like when deciding to include mobile inventory on the exchange right off the bat.
RTM Daily: What kind of upside do you see from this?
Greg Clayman: Basically, we've been working with Rubicon and we've been working with some programmatic buying on a various number of our publications over the last year or so, and we've seen demand from advertisers increase. From one end you have remnant stuff, on the other you have direct sold premium inventory. But there are advertisers who are looking for more targeted programmatic buying that are paying premium prices for that, and we have seen an uptick in activity around these things.
So the question when advertisers would come to us would be: Am I able to buy across [TheAustralian.com.au], and TheSun.co.uk, etc.? Our European buyers who are looking to aggregate audiences in France or Germany - they know we have readers on all our our sites in those regions. That led us to sort of say, "If we launch this exchange in each of our businesses, [why not] join them up together to be one global platform? Then we would give advertisers what they [were asking for]. They could target by market or demographic….
The upside basically allows us to operate both direct and programmatic for premium inventory. The piece that falls off is the low end. This gave us an opportunity to clean all of that up. Programmatic? Through us. Globally? Through us. Direct? Through us.
RTMD: You're putting a stake in the ground of programmatic that seems to say, "We're not afraid of commoditization." Is this true?
Clayman: I apologize in advance for sounding sales-y, but…we have unique content. We sell direct, we sell premium, we have market-leading CPMs. In that regard, it speaks for itself. And because we have these premium audiences, its wise. We really feel like we are [ready] to build a private exchange and we don't need to bundle our inventory with other inventories [that are anonymous].
RTMD: What about for other publishers - is the fear of commoditization a just one?
Clayman: Yeah. It really depends on the publication. If you are talking about publishers that have content that looks like it could come from anywhere and they are sold through multiple different networks anonymously, then I do think it's an issue.
RTMD: The plan includes News Corp. Web sites and mobile properties. I'd love to hear what some of the discussions were like when deciding whether or not to include mobile inventory in this exchange right off the bat.
Clayman: We are, I would say, as interested as anyone in what the programmatic mobile market looks like and will end up looking like. We've seen - obviously - growth in programmatic overall, and we have a tremendous amount of mobile inventory. More and more traffic is coming through mobile, and we are monetizing that via direct sales.
But it seemed like with that much inventory there was real opportunity to be able to do a couple of things: 1) sell it programmatically [with first-party data targeting]. And 2) Allow cross-platform sales so advertisers can hit [those] at the same time.
Our video inventory - we sell out of it regularly. It's all very
premium. So we don't have video in this yet, but I know there's a lot of interest [around programmatic video]. With video there's not excess inventory to support.
RTMD: This pegs you as a leader for premium publishers in the programmatic space. Were you trying to be a leader, or were you interested in doing something like this regardless of leadership status?
Clayman: It's a very interesting space for us, and we're excited about being aggressive in it. To your point, it puts us in the leadership position, and we're happy to take it.
RTMD: This is going to be a global programmatic exchange. I've heard lots of things about the overseas markets adopting programmatic, and I think it's really interesting to follow. What do you think of the overseas marketplace?
Clayman: I'm bullish on it. I'm glad to hear you're interested too. There's lots of fragmented markets around the
world. The nice thing about programmatic exchanges is that in many cases it allows you to aggregate some of those pieces together.
RTMD: Thank you for your time.