Art Muldoon and Garret Vreeland -- the team that founded the first scalable independent agency trading desk and then sold it to one of the largest agency holding companies -- is back, but this time they’re enabling the supply-side.
Their new platform, ArcSpan Media, portends to do for sellers of digital advertising what trading desks like their previous startup, Accordant, did for advertisers and media buyers: leverage technology, data and knowledge about the supply-and-demand of digital advertising inventory to improve their yield.
Accordant was so successful at doing that that it was ultimately acquired by Aegis Media (now Dentsu) in 2017 and integrated into its own proprietary trading platform Amnet, which Muldoon continued to lead until he left in 2019 to begin working on a similar supply-side solution.
“Our experience and our industry knowledge from the buy-side is now being applied on the sell- side,” Muldoon acknowledged during a pre-launch interview with MediaPost, adding that the team assembled and technology created by ArcSpan explicitly “takes advantage of the fact that the programmatic era has largely been a buy-side experience so far, and the sell-side has been price-takers, rather than price-makers.”
While ArcSpan has actually been operational and “hiding in plain sight” for about nine months with some key charter publishing industry clients, Muldoon said the timing for its launch this week -- aside from being smack dab in the middle of Advertising Week -- is due to a confluence of factors that have created a “perfect storm” for the programmatic advertising marketplace:
The deprecation of cookies and other consumer/advertising tracking IDs.
The increasing power and leverage of so-called “walled gardens” like Facebook, Google and Amazon.
The global, national and local consumer privacy rights movement that is creating risks -- as well as the need for risk mitigation -- for both buyers and sellers of digital ad inventory based on targeting individual users.
While Muldoon and Vreeland have previously focused on solving these problems for advertisers and agencies, they have surrounded themselves with other members of the ArcSpan team who come from the supply-side in order to create systems, data and business models that create more market symmetry for sellers of digital advertising inventory.
“The next 24-months is potentially incredibly worrisome for those responsible for ad revenues at the large publishing houses,” Muldoon explained, noting that “about a third of publishers are working on plans to handle identity revolution,” which is rife with potential liabilities, as well as opportunities.