Commentary

Concert Taps Index Exchange For Programmatic

Publishers are continuing their move into bespoke programmatic with a new partnership between Concert, a publisher-controlled ad platform owned by Vox Media and NBCUniversal, and programmatic tech and ad marketplace Index Exchange.


Index Exchange will help Concert add programmatic sales capabilities to the latter’s marketplace for premium digital ad inventory. 

The collaboration will enable advertisers to make programmatic buys of targeted ad inventory within brand-safe environments, the partners noted, in a nod to oft-repeated advertiser concerns about “blind programmatic” sales leading to unacceptable adjacencies.

The new programmatic marketplace will be compatible with Rocket Fuel, DoubleClick, The Trade Desk and MediaMath.

Altogether, Vox and NBCU claim that Concert, launched in April 2016, reaches a total audience of more than 200 million people, including 99% of U.S. online millennials. That's through a range of editorial brands encompassing NBC News, NBC Sports, Telemundo, E!, Today, Bravo, Vox, The Verge, SBNation, Eater, Curbed and Recode.

In March, Concert announced that Conde Nast would join the marketplace, giving advertisers access to inventory from pubs such as Vanity Fair and Vogue, as well as insights courtesy of Conde Nast’s Spire, which marries behavioral, social and purchase data. 

In addition to first-party publisher data for targeting, the alliance’s offerings for advertisers include high-profile video and display ad formats spanning desktop and mobile. Concert claims its ad units score 170% better than standard programmatic ads in terms of click-through rate.

Vox Media CMO Lindsay Nelson has touted brand safety as a major selling point for premium publishers in the past, telling AdExchanger earlier this year: “Marketers are recognizing in a blunt-force way the difference between a platform and publisher… There will be a limitation to what a Google algorithm can control, versus a publisher like us being able to say that we own our own IP, the ad experience and the premium context.” 

Other tech providers are also entering into new partnerships.

This week, cloud video provider Brightcove announced a new alliance with the Publisher Desk, enabling the latter’s customers to manage, distribute and monetize video and audio content through a single platform. The new service is intended to streamline publisher operations around video ad sales, including programmatic access.

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