Turner’s recent news about its alignment with IBM’s Watson platform addresses linear TV ad sales. But what about programmatic ad sales?
I spoke with Jason Baron, SVP of direct marketing and programmatic ad sales, to explore this question.
After a restructuring of Turner’s sales division in December, each sales team now has a dedicated programmatic sales lead— a sign of the importance placed on programmatic in the entire media planning and buying process.
RTBlog: As senior vice president, what’s your specific focus?
Jason Baron: I’m focused on our programmatic digital ad sales, and our big push is around private marketplaces (PMPs) and automated guaranteed inventory.
Our reorganization means that my team is set up with account executives that will work with the agencies. For example, if 15% of an OMD client’s budget is set aside for programmatic media, we’ll be part of the negotiations
Most of our day-to-day is working on the scatter market through SSPs (supply-side platforms) and DSPs (demand-side platforms), and we’re looking to do header bidding.
We have one header bidding solution and we’re looking to add other vendors. We’re also looking to see how latency will be affected by header bidding. At least 80% of our entertainment inventory is full-screen video—there are no in-banner formats—so we have to be careful.
RTBlog: What are you anticipating for the upfronts?
Baron: We don’t want to go backwards and shift direct sales business to programmatic unless it makes sense. We have to be really smart about it.
We have to figure out how we’re going to transact in the upfronts. Will it be through PMPs, fixed CPMs or automated guaranteed, which is a smaller play for us?
I think the majority of the deals will be via PMPs: premium ad units above the fold. But we have to go where the client thinks they want to take their business. We want clients to transact the way they want to.
RTBlog: Do you see a trend in clients bringing their own data?
Baron: We envision clients bringing their data and then we would mash it up with ours, so that we can create audience segments for them. We have so much first-party data, but we also work with third-party data providers. Our Turner Data Cloud is almost a year old.
RTBlog: How far has programmatic TV progressed?
Baron: We’re not really there yet. We’re talking to people.
We want to be able to monetize our biggest website, CNN.com. We’re set up for programmatic there and do a lot of PMP deals, but we want to scale all the added impressions that come with breaking news stories. With the election, debates, town halls and other types of breaking news, there are more PMP impressions for people to bid on.
Very honest report, Tobi. Note for those who contend that TV has "embraced" programmatic---Turner's guy, like others, says," We are not really there yet. We're talking to people".