Programmatic or bust for media agencies

By Brendan Coyne | 7 November 2013

Contraction of the media agency landscape is likely. Over the next few years “you could start to see them struggle to do business the way they are doing it today. They will need to explore other avenues. It could be a programmatic or bust situation.”

That's the view of Daniel Schotland, VP operations, TubeMogul. He's over from the US and thinks that Australia is mirroring the trends seen there.

On the future of media agencies, he sees them creating “a unified video buying team” rather than separate units.

“There are brands who are perhaps more enlightened and trying to create the structures so they can execute a holistic video buy, irrespective of which screens are targeted. It feels like it could be the right structure.”

With the definition of TV changing, and people watching video on multiple devices, there is a need for a 'more holistic' video buy,” Schotland told AdNews.

“If you are interested in reaching your audience, you should be able to plan the reach and frequency across a multitude of devices, and persuade via those channels.”

Private exchanges will continue to grow here too, he reckons, as they have in the States, although they call them something different.

“We call it private inventory. It’s the direct deal market with publishers. We are seeing brands, agencies, and trading desks really start to leverage the private deals they have created.”

"The other trend being mirrored here is the increasing adoption of programmatic video buying by agencies which are building out their teams to handle it."


Clients want what the firm is offering, he claims, because it is more transparent than what has been pushed previously.

“In the past ad networks sold a nice site list.” Now, he said it is possible to get “transparency across the buy. We are extending this to the direct buys, whether they be upfront or reserved buys.”

But the trick to really speed growth is to make it easy for agencies and brands alike, said Schotland. And TV teams and digital teams need to start working more collaboratively.

“It’s still early days. A lot of agencies have dedicated TV teams and separate digital planning teams. The TV people are starting to talk to the digital planners [but we still] don’t see a lot of communication between [them]. Our challenge is to create the bridge and the conversation between those teams."

That's where a new product comes in. It's called BrandPoint and it launches here on New Year's Day. Schotland said it delivers TV-like buying capabilities to digital video advertising.

“What it allows is for agencies to simply select a particular age and gender demographic against a type of inventory they want to buy and then press go. It's three clicks.”

For buyers it used to be “what sites are we buying on but we are seeing a transition to audience,” Schotland said. “Now they can set the buy in motion and … [by planning against a specific number of TARPS] can measure [via a tie-up with Nielsen], verify and validate that delivery."

He reckons agencies need to get into it and across programmatic video or risk being undone by evolution.

“Will TV prop [those agencies] up? We're starting to see that 'programmatic' means buying media on TV. It could be set top, video on demand, whatever. Right now it's the long tail. But we can see a future where that starts to change.”

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