“We actually treat it as more premium than linear,” said Joey Trotz, vice president of data and monetization tech strategy for Turner Broadcasting. Trotz was speaking on a panel devoted to programmatic video advertising today at the Streaming Media East conference in New York City, and the “it” in that sentence was online video.
So why is online prized over traditional broadcast for advertising? For one thing, there’s a data level that lets advertisers focus on the specific demographics they want to reach. There’s also scarcity. While there’s a ton of video online, there’s far less premium online video. “Digital video is still a very, very scarce commodity,” Trotz said.
Because of those factors, programmatic ads are able to command a high price from advertisers. Programmatic also helps publishers monetize unexpected inventory that viewers are highly interested in, such as when a game goes into over time or a news crisis erupts.
Defining Programmatic Advertising
For those still confused about what programmatic is, you’re not alone. Trotz offered a helpful explanation.
“Programmatic is not a strategy; it’s a technique, a tactic,” he said. It’s the pipes that let transactions occur, and its main purpose is to reduce the friction in online video ad sales.
“We’re all trying to reduce the friction around digital,” Trotz said. “Digital is supposed to be easy. Digital is supposed to be measurable.” Turner Broadcasting uses programmatic sales as a way to reduce overhead across its most valuable content.
Programmatic means using demographic data-driven rules to automate ad buys. It’s not a replacement for traditional sales, Trotz said, but another tool for ad people to use. It’s a combination of data and insight: With programmatic, advertisers know they’re reaching the right kind of viewers at the right time, he noted.
The Premium Video Supply
When programmatic advertising was created, people were worried that it would drive down prices and undermine the work of ad sales departments. To counter that, many publishers limit programmatic content to premium inventory, guaranteeing a certain level of value.
That’s good for Turner Broadcasting, Trotz said. “Turner is all about premium. We invest billions in creating that content.” Each year, Turner Broadcasting creates 15,000 hours of premium content across its networks.
Turner defines premium as more than just meeting a certain production value.
“To us, premium is the content, it’s the production quality, it’s the stickiness, frankly, of how it attracts the viewer,” Trotz said. And it’s the brand halo that Turner provides.
Turner got into programmatic ad sales only recently, when the category shifted to focus on premium video. Over the past 24 months, Trotz said, major buyers have started to show clients that this is a safe and efficient place to be. It’s a place that isn’t plagued by the fraud and viewability concerns that trouble many video platforms.
“The Turners of the world are a clean, well-lit place for advertising to live,” Trotz enthused.