Nine sales boss calls for industry-wide trading platform for TV and digital ads

The chief sales officer of Nine has called on the major TV networks and digital publishers to look at building a single industry-wide platform for the purchase of ad inventory.

Stephenson: industry needs to look at industry wide trading capability.

Stephenson: industry needs to look at industry-wide trading capability

Speaking at Nine’s launch event for its rebranded web presence Michael Stephenson appeared to attempt to reinvigorate abortive efforts for both one overarching TV trading platform and for a publishers’ exchange for digital inventory.

“The final journey in our advanced advertising capability is to create an industry-wide marketplace that makes the purchase of all of this inventory across all platforms, across all networks and hopefully across all publishers, that makes it as easy as possible (for media buyers) to buy that inventory,” Stephenson said.

Many TV networks and digital publishers have already invested heavily in their various systems and tech providers but Stephenson said he was referring more to the overall interface across the various media agencies.

Speaking with Mumbrella he said that rather than having agencies log in to dozens of different systems a better solution was required.

“It is inevitable that there that will be a marketplace where buyers and sellers are able to trade inventory in a much more seamless fashion than we are able to today,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson’s comments come amid persistent rumours that the long-mooted Electronic Transactions Hub (ETH) has been scrapped, although the Media Federation of Australia (MFA), which is working with a number of other parties on the project, insists it has not been abandoned.

Madden: MFA is continuing with the ETH project.

Madden: MFA “remains committed” to continuing with the ETH project

“The ETH Stakeholders remain committed to continuing improvement to business practices, enhanced automation and supporting the new and evolving method for managing TV transactions,” said Sophie Madden, CEO of the MFA, back in April in response to growing rumours about the project being abandoned.

In digital there have been similar problems bringing everyone together with a proposed publishers exchange that was meant to see News Corp, Fairfax, Yahoo7 and Nine come together, eventually launching a year late and with just two publishers, Fairfax and Nine, in the exchange.  

The Nine sales boss wouldn’t be drawn on where the industry was up to but said Nine was pushing towards programmatic in both digital and television.

“Already 85% of our online inventory is traded programmatically and I expect within 12 months that will be 100%,” Stephenson told the room.

“That is only one part of the story, we will be trading linear television programmatically by 2017. In February we will have new television investment models that deliver guaranteed results to all of our clients with no shortfalls and no wastage.

“We will be trading video, agnostic of the platform, by the end of 2017 and our goal is to deliver audiences regardless of where those users are interacting with it. We will also have a much deeper data capacity within our television panel which will allow us to deliver targets beyond blunt demographics.”

Stephenson also took aim at the lack of industry agreement on viewability.

“If there is an elephant in the room it must be viewability,” he said referencing a recent push by media agencies for a great focus by publishers on ensuring that digital advertising is seen by consumers.

“We are 100% committed to delivering an advertising solution that incorporates guarantees around the viewability of paid impressions.

“As a premium publisher our inventory pool scores significantly higher than others and the market for a viewability perspective. As a result of that our inventory should become more valuable.”

Stephenson: Viewability is the elephant in the room.

Stephenson: Viewability is “the elephant in the room”

Stephenson noted the challenges of measurement when it comes to viewability but told the room that it would soon be offering measurement of viewability via its tech partner AppNexus.

“The road to a viewable ecosystem is not an easy road,” he said.  There is no signal source of truth, there are multiple suppliers that all deliver different results on exactly the same campaign.

“However, over the coming months our commitment is that we will move to a viewability offering, with results that are measured, as part of our AppNexus ad-serving capability. That’s our guarantee.”


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