CANNES — When they burst on to the scene a few years back, so-called “programmatic advertising” techniques focused on unlocking lower-grade ad inventory using real-time auctions.

But times have changed. And one ad-tech exec is witnessing a maturation of programmatic that now includes a focus on premium ad space and a “flight to quality”.

“Programmatic means something different this year – automation,” Viant CEO Tim Vanderhook tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“From an agency perspective, rather than listening to 50 vendors respond to RFPs, you’re able to log in to an account, see the match rates of the marketers’ datasets, the media company’s datasets.

“It’s just easier to transact in a more automated fashion. That’s what programmatic means today – historically it was about buying cheap inventory across the long tail. Media companies are using programmatic to automate that sales process.”

Viant is the ad-tech firm that snapped up MySpace a few years back, giving it access to data on millions of users. Viant was itself acquired by Time Inc in 2016, as the publisher sought to build capabilities that could demonstrate the value of its subscribers to advertisers.