Time was, newspaper folk sneered with apprehension at the rise of programmatic methods of digital ad trading, fearing automation in real-time open markets would devalue their ad inventory.

But times have changed, and those publishers which have dipped their toe in the water are finding growing returns on their terms.

“Programmatic is now a transactional channel that is just as viable as the traditional IO, direct channels,” Hearst digital revenue and analytics VP Susan Parker tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “We are moving more in to high-impact branded inventory – it’s no longer the back-fill.”

Parker acknowledges the newspaper business is somewhat “traditional”. She says she has an “educational” role to explain that programmatic technology “is not marginalising our direct sales”, telling newsprint execs: “Stop thinking about it as a channel and more as a technology.”

Despite operating papers around the US, Hearst has centralized its programmatic operations in New York to cater to national audience scale.

And Parker says she has tested an array of technologies: “We did not want to be locked in to any particular partner or platform. The market’s changing too fast. With the incredible diversity in ad-tech platforms, there’s no way to say we’re just going to do one thing; we’d be missing out on too many things.”

This video part of a series about the state of programmatic advertising sponsored by OpenX.  Please find other videos from the series here.