And FreeWheel Will Power Programmatic Pilot With ABC

ABC Premium ProgrammaticIn a move to automate the buying and selling process of premium digital TV ad inventory, AOL’s and Comcast’s FreeWheel announced a new partnership today.’s demand-side platform (DSP) will power the buying side of the programmatic pilot that ABC announced during its TV Upfront this spring. The DSP will integrate with FreeWheel’s Fourfronts private marketplace on which ABC will sell its digital video inventory.

Agencies MAGNA GLOBAL, Optimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group have signed on to test out the technology partnership during the trial.

The pilot brings together all the parties needed to test out the market for programmatically selling premium digital TV —’s programmatic buying platform, FreeWheel’s Fourfronts selling platform, substantial agencies and a leading content provider.

“In September 2013, AOL, with other leaders in digital advertising, committed to simplifying and streamlining the buying and selling processes of premium digital advertising, including placing AOL reserved display and mobile inventory into its programmatic offering,” said Teg Grenager, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of, a division of AOL Platforms.

“The goal of this pilot program is to extend that commitment by bringing all of the key stakeholders together to test, learn and move the industry forward toward the inevitable multi-channel, data-driven world of TV, as well as enhancing the business models underpinning it.”

The key element of the pilot is what calls a “data escrow environment” in which publishers can respond to advertisers’ audience targeting requests without having to actually share that proprietary information with publishers.

The publisher seeds their data in advance into FreeWheel’s system. Then through its integration, feeds the advertiser segments into FreeWheel’s system where it can be matched up to publisher’s audience data without actually passing hands. Once the buying transaction is completed, the data is scrubbed.

Another carrot for publishers like ABC which have traditionally shied away from including premium inventory in real-time bidding (RTB) or programmatic buying environments is that inventory will be bought on a reserved basis only rather than via RTB. The ability to match reserved audiences to advertiser data lets publishers forecast against it and respond to buyers’ requests for audience targeted campaigns while maintaining premium ad rates.

“The full power of programmatic buying comes to life when we’re able to apply the best audience targeting and digital practices to premium publishers, delivering real-time value for our clients,” said Todd Gordon, EVP, Head of US Investment at MAGNA GLOBAL.

We’re told more content partners are expected to be announced soon.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Display Advertising: Programmatic Media Buying | Top News | Video


About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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