Just two months after merging, programmatic ad platform Rubicon Project and video management platform Telaria are taking on a new name, Magnite.

It is a rebranding that involved hundreds of staff from the companies operating under lockdown.


But now president and CEO Michael Barrett says he is looking forward to reconnecting with those staff in person.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Barrett says Magnite’s attraction is that is is an independent player in the ecosystem.

Neutral position

The pair merged to create a scaled supply-side platform, in a move that gives Rubicon a leg-up in TV and video.

The company says it isn’t compromised by owning any media inventory.

“Independence is very important,” Barrett says. “We don’t compete against agencies. We don’t compete against marketers.”

The company’s announcement includes support from Discovery Inc, DISH Media Sales, IBM Watson Advertising, The Trade Desk, Kinesso and Havas.

Pandemic programmatic

Despite the pandemic environment in which the rebrand occurs, Barrett says now is a perfect time for programmatically-traded video and connected TV ads to serve their purpose.

“Media throughout this COVID recession has been in decline year over year, and yet CTV is up year over year and accelerating,” he says.

“So the dollars are there. Programmatic’s pretty easy to turn on and turn off.”

Barrett says some advertisers lately are using programmatic to test out multiple ads with alternative creative messages, helping broadcasters to stem some of the losses from cancelled upfront sales.

European odyssey

More than that, Barrett says advertiser-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services are still in their early stages, giving plenty of headroom for growth.

He says Magnite is on a trajectory to tip programmatic toward 90% of connected TV, just as programmatic has grown within display.

He especially sees Europe, which has less exposure to AVOD services, as “exciting greenfield” for the combined Magnite.

“I think there’s no question one of our biggest opportunities is at EMEA,” Barrett says.

Re-forming the brand

Barrett also lifted the lid on how the Magnite re-brand was delivered by its marketing team.

“They did a video contest and had close to a hundred employees enter,” he says. “And we whittled it down to a final ten, that then became four grand prize winners.

“We boiled that all down into a handful of elements and that’s what is driving the whole brand story for Magnite.

“It’s been terrific, but the hard part is you can’t just build culture over Zoom. So we are looking forward to getting all back together.”