FreeWheel promoted Mark McKee to general manager to oversee all parts of the advertising technology company, which is a unit of Comcast.

In this new role, McKee is in charge of FreeWheel’s sales, product, engineering, operations and support services worldwide, the company announced. He succeeds Dave Clark, who announced his departure after leading FreeWheel since 2017.  McKee previously was FreeWheel’s U.S. chief revenue officer since January 2020.

In this interview at Beet.TV’s Beat Retreat in November, McKee discusses how technology is reshaping the way buyers and sellers of television advertising do business. As marketers seek the targeting and measurement of digital media with the scale and quality programming of linear TV, computerized transactions are becoming a core component of media strategies.

“Programmatic is part of the strategy, not an afterthought,” McKee said. “You see things like programmatic guaranteed be a common thread that we see in this past upfront. Those are the trends we see that will continue, and for the most part, it’s all about unifying all these different ways in which to operate, transact, plan and buy.”

Scarcity of Premium TV

Guaranteed ad placements will remain a key part of the premium TV marketplace as marketers seek a brand-safe environment to reach consumers who favor high-quality programming.

“The thing that’s very important in the premium TV ecosystem is scarcity,” McKee said. “It’s the idea or concepts around guaranteed, versus a more exchange-based approach, is not leaving TV. The idea of direct-sold deals, the idea of relationships, the idea of guaranteed delivery is still critically important.”

Providers of premium content are focusing on programmatic guarantees the resemble direct-sold deals that have characterized the upfront marketplace for TV advertising for years. Advertisers are looking for standards to help identify audiences, to transact and to have unified decision-making in campaigns.

“We believe in this idea of premium programmatic ways in which to transact,” McKee said. That’s evolving, and it’s not just the premium quality of the inventory…but it’s also a premium experience that needs to be thought through.”

2022 Upfronts

Next year’s upfront sales season will be shaped by changes in technology and ways of transacting. Addressable linear TV will gain greater acceptance, giving marketers a way to customize their messaging to different large-scale audiences.

“We’ll see a lot more of the continued trend we saw this year, a lot of discussion, a lot of beginnings of moving and migrating to upfronts being transacted in new and unique ways like programmatic,” McKee said. “We’ll see the ability and acceleration of audiences being deployed in a more consistent manner across all formats of video, certainly in the premium space.”

You are watching coverage from Beet Retreat Santa Monica 2021, presented by FreeWheel, IRIS.TV, Samba TV, TransUnion & Warner Music Group. For more videos, please visit this page.