LOS ANGELES — It’s programmatic, but not as we know it.

The technology commonly used to run automated, auction-based digital display advertising has come to connected TV – but, in this space, the same rules don’t apply.

In this video interview with The Project X Institute executive director Jon Watts for Beet.TV, Sean Buckley, CTV chief revenue officer, Magnite, explains how programmatic is having to learn new tricks from an old industry.

No margin for error

“You’re dealing with podded ad delivery, typically on the big screen, that introduces a lot of complexity and sensitivity,” he says.

“There’s just a very low margin for error, very little wiggle room. If something goes slightly wrong, it becomes very disruptive to the consumer experience.”

Magnite this summer acquired SpringServe, an advanced ad management platform for OTT and CTV, following its earlier SpotX acquisition.

That came after Rubicon Project and Telaria merged and rebranded in 2020.

Viewing explosion

Buckley says he is seeing “unbelievable” growth in new-wave TV consumption:

  • Digital-first streaming services
  • Virtual MVPDs
  • Device manufacturers
  • OEM DTC FAST apps
  • Smart TVs
  • Bellwether broadcasters and programmers

But, whilst some new AVOD services are more likely to be all-in on programmatic, many are seeking fine-grained control over to whom they sell ads, and how.

Limiting programmatic for TV

“Commercially speaking, it’s a very deal driven, private transaction type of business,” Magnite’s Buckley adds.

“There are applications for the open marketplace, but the vast majority of our customers want to know who is buying what inventory, at what prices, at what volume, and that lends itself to more of that deal driven.

“We don’t hear customers saying, ‘I want to put my inventory everywhere across six exchanges, and just anybody who can bid, can bid on it, who wants to bid’.”

Level one for programmatic guaranteed

That means Buckley is seeing a growing proportion of activity going toward the so-called “programmatic guaranteed” channel, a method of ringfencing buyers and sellers to set preferred partners.

“We’re seeing really meaningful growth now in programmatic guaranteed as a transaction model,” Buckley says.

“Last month, programmatic guaranteed represented north of 20% of all CTV transactions globally in our business. So we’re reaching pretty meaningful scale in that regard.

“I think, as an industry, we’re at a fundamental stage of programmatic guaranteed, we’re at level one.”

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