NAPA, Ca — Just when the industry was beginning to understand how “programmatic” and then “programmatic premium” were beginning to boost ad sales efficiency, another variant of the technology cropped up this year – “programmatic direct”. But one ad tech exec says this is the moniker that will really define the emerging space; at least, for publishers.

“The buzzword of the year, ‘programmatic direct’ is where the rubber meets the road,”  LiveRail client service VP Vijay Balan told Beet.TV in this video interview. “(It) allows a publisher to open up their inventory, whether it’s direct sales or it’s network, on a single unified platform.

“It allows them to have the best available pricing across all of these demand partners. It democratizes the actual process of buying and gets the publisher what they need, which is higher CPMs.”

AdExchanger says “programmatic direct” emerged in April when several ad tech firms got together and decided it was better than “programmatic premium” at describing how automated technology can support direct ad deals with publishers. In video, SpotXchange operates a “programmatic direct” technology, helping buyers and sellers negotiate direct deals but using automated processes.

For LiveRail, whose platform is responsible for helping a large proportion of premium publishers sell their inventory using programmatic techniques, next stop is figuring outs its programmatic place across the multi-platform video chain.

Interviewed at the TubeMogul University customer event, VP Balan says the company is asking itself: “What does the future look like? What is a TV? Is it programmatic access to inventory? Is it content being consumed? Is it just a 42-inch tablet? Answering those questions is our next step.

Update:  10.21 – LiveRail announced today the ability for publishers to put their ad pod into an RTB offering.  Here’s the story on MediaPost.

Find more of Beet.TV’s coverage of the TubeMogul event here.