For many in media, “programmatic” methods of advertising sales are geared to targeting and selling cheap inventory automatically, whilst conventional ad operations retain the task of selling main-line display ads.

But there may be a third way. “At Heart, we’ve merged the functions – programmatic, sales and ad ops are now one,” Hearst’s revenue platforms and operations VP Michael Smith told Beet.TV’s programmatic video leadership summit, presented by SpotXchange and hosted by The Hearst Corporation.

The New York Times is another example of a top publisher now embarking on programmatic selling in a way that is integrated with, not separated from, conventional ad sales, as its programmatic director also told Beet.TV’s summit.

Said Hearst’s Smith: “As I’ve observed it at other publishers, the unification of ad ops and programmatic selling is either pending or well along.”