Consumers are spending more time with streaming channels that carry advertising, giving marketers a way to hone their targeting by harnessing sources of first-party data. Disney aims to help them reach the growing number of consumers who are connecting their TVs to the internet.

“You’re going to continue to see the massive growth in connected TV. That audience is going to continue to grow exponentially,” Doug Fleming, director of programmatic sales at Disney Advertising, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “The idea of identity and first-party data, that marriage, will be at the forefront of every client conversation.”

Disney last week hosted its first ad-tech showcase to introduce its Disney Real-Time Ad Exchange (DRAX) as programmatic sales grow, along with its Disney Select platform that helps advertisers reach target audiences based on buyer behavior, household characteristics and psychographics. Disney last year combined its cross-platform sales efforts with the formation of Disney Hulu XP (DHXP) to address marketer demand for flexibility in their media buys, including those through programmatic platforms. Following its January launch, DHXP’s adoption rate quadrupled in the first 30 days.

“Our DHXP product is probably the most exciting to us. It allows programmatic advertisers a single point of entry to access the entire portfolio of the Walt Disney company,” Fleming said. “You’re going to see from Disney the ability to service all marketplaces. Before, when we were separated, we could only do some. Now that we’re together in a growing team, we can accommodate access to every advertiser who’s seeking programmatic connection to us.”

Advertisers this year say they will maintain their commitment to buying media in the upfront market, but they’re also looking for flexibility in reaching consumers through streaming channels. Disney aims to provide that combination.

“It’s always been about advertiser choice and control,” Fleming said. “Upfront commitments are based on scarcity. We have assets that warrant that.”

He pointed to various options for media buyers, including directs, its private marketplace (PMP) and programmatic guarantee (PG).

“Programmatic guaranteed has a special place in my heart because I love guaranteed money,” Fleming said. “However … it’s really about the advertiser. It’s about providing them the choice and control the buys the way they want to execute, whether they’re suing their own first-party data or whether they’re coming to us to leverage our first-party data.”

First-Party Data Protections

Disney has taken steps to protect the sensitive first-party data provided by advertisers as they’re overlaid on Disney’s audience data to improve targeting.

“You need to think about the safe transfer of that data. We have teams focused on that,” Fleming said. “It’s a place we can uniquely lead with that combination of the Hulu first-party data and Disney all under one roof, it is a pretty sizable footprint.”

Sell-side platforms (SSPs) for programmatic advertising play a crucial role in maximizing the value of media inventory.

“The connectivity to the publisher and the SSP is paramount to success,” Fleming said. “When you look at things like live, live sports is really challenging to buy, both for the buyer and the seller. That’s where you rely heavily on your platforms to help you execute.”

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