TubeMogul to line up local programmatic TV deal?

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 28 August 2015
Keith Eadie

While keeping schtum on the specifics of its programmatic TV advancements with free-to-air TV providers in Australia, it's more than likely digital video ad tech business TubeMogul is firming up deals with channels such as Seven and Nine – or maybe both.

While it's speculative at this stage, TubeMogul CMO Keith Eadie and chief revenue officer Chip Scovic are over from the US and taking meetings with Cadreon (with whom it has partnered in the US to build a TV automation platform). 

Ex-Googler Scovic, who held roles such as head of media platforms and head of strategic partnerships at Google, said after launching programmatic TV in the US in December 2014, there were high hopes, but it was pretty conservative with its forecasts at first.

In its Q1 earnings call, TubeMogul estimated that during 2015 it would get revenue of between US$5 million and US$10 million, but hit the higher end of that in the second quarter alone.

In terms of the US plan, Eadie told AdNews it's all systems are go and are onboarding as much inventory as they can. 
“TV budgets are going to come fast and furious - we are not taking our foot off the pedal,” he said.

“We are approaching this the same way as digital. We are bringing local and cable TV stations into the fold. We will not buy TV inventory and arbitrage it unlike some of the other ad tech TV players.”

So if it’s shaping up to be such a storming success in the US, it seems it's in cahoots with Cadreon already and the TV networks are asking and talking about moving forward here, then when will it happen?

“In the US, you are dealing with a TV infrastructure that was essentially analogue,” Eadie explained.

“The automation of that tool is in the framework of programmatic. The question is to figure out how the pipes work and deliver ads into a linear TV stream. That's what we are doing with WideOrbit – but in Australia, it’s not quite the same."

Both confirmed they are “absolutely driving towards a very similar solution” in the Australian market, however.

“The conversations are absolutely very current but we are not quite ready to say something yet,” Eadie said.

Data and viewership

He went on to say that it boils down to two things in every country – data around TV viewership and access to TV inventory – it's also working on both sides of that in Australia.

“Because there is not that fragmented broadcast structure here that exists in the US, you have to go directly and talk to the largest broadcasters (in Australia),” he said.

“They are more progressive here in Australia than the rest of the world. People here tend to lean in much faster on the programmatic side.

“We saw that with RTB and programmatic direct and in our early conversations with the local broadcasters they are very excited about this as a demand channel and as an operational streamlining opportunity.”

While Foxtel and MCN/AOL are very much in this space – with plans afoot to roll Channel Ten in, this leaves the likes of Seven and Nine up for grabs.

On the question of TubeMogul tying in with more than one TV network, Eadie said to every possible extent it wants to avoid siloes of inventory.

“In the US, because of the structure of when you put a plan in, you can see many sources of inventory from a hundred different cable networks and thousands of different local broadcasters," he said.

“That makes the tool valuable to an advertiser because they are not just buying in a certain silo or region. That is the end state goal for every market.”

Access to inventory

He also said if you have chosen a certain partner or a certain path (perhaps as Ten has?) there are investment constraints around different phases of the rollout.

“The ones that haven’t chosen a partner might be more inclined to work with a new partner,” Eadie said.

“Our goal, and I think the broadcasters and all owners of all inventory realise this; if I am part of a pool of inventory where people care about both content and audience, then that access to inventory will be used more frequently.”

As a random example, if it's just a path to buy Channel Ten, that is not a very compelling product for a brand or agency, and you are going to see limited spend, Eadie said.

“If we are a path for Cadreon, and a bunch of agencies and brands to access all TV inventory in Australia, and apply data to it, there’s probably going to be a pretty healthy dollar flow, if you are a software platform like that,” he explained.

“Even though they would all be all in there a single pool I think they would all see much greater revenue than the alternative of just being one single silo.”

He said while it's pretty easy to light up one TV network, it has to deliver on the promise it makes to brands and agencies all of the time, which “is to give them the best software platform”.

“You have to have that across as much TV inventory as possible - and then you have to extend that into a cross-screen plan and the ability to execute. That is where we are heading rapidly," Eadie revealed.

“Because we have such great relationships with brands and agencies, we are very confident in the product they want to see us build. If we build that as fast as we can, we are very confident that we will win.”

Seven nor Nine responded to questions by the time of publication.

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