COLOGNE – In the arms race that is automated or programmatic TV, there’s much realignment occurring among tech players. They know if they’re too slow on the drawing board an Amazon or Facebook or Google will swoop in and beat them to the launch pad.

This is not lost on marketing analytics provider DataXu, which has been in the programmatic space since 2009, fittingly using combinatorial algorithms originally developed by one of its co-founders for guiding NASA’s Mars missions. DataXu has a broad footprint in the demand-side platform side of the business and has set its sights on helping media companies so as to stay one step ahead of would-be competitors Amazon et al.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the DMEXCO advertising and media trade show, DataX CEO Mike Baker explains what the buy-side wants from programmatic TV and the race to beat digital giants to help the sell-side better cope with automated transactions and measurement.

A big focus of DataXu to date has been on connected OTT screens via its core DSP called TouchPoint. Via self-serve software buyers can track campaigns running across seven types of devices, providing the benefit of automation “unlike some of what’s plaguing some of the TV targeting with linear streams,” said Baker.

Along with automation, he identifies application of digital audience insights and campaign attribution as three main issues of interest among buyers. With insights, it can be as granular as using mobile audience data to target a live ad on ESPN.

“That’s really provocative and I think an industry first,” Baker observes. OTT inventory “is much more valuable when you’re able to buy these kinds of granular targets with your data.”

There’s a shift by some ad tech companies toward the digital TV landscape given the continued growth in viewing habits. That’s where are Amazon, Facebook and Google come in.

“I think everybody at this point sort of understands this is the next frontier for these companies and they come very well equipped indeed” with data, analytics and other resources. DataXu is busily developing its media company segment to help some of these very large incumbent TV players adapt and fit up to be competitive with these Internet giants as they “encroach inevitably on TV,” Baker says.

This video was produced as part of Beet.TV leadership series from DMEXCO, presented by NBCUniversal. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.