AOL pitches one-stop programmatic shop

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 15 April 2015

AOL is pitching the launch of the ONE by AOL Platforms in the Australian market as the one place to buy programmatically accross all screens, but it's taking a softly-softly sales approach in the market until its tech stack is fully built.

Overnight the US tech giant announced the launch, sold as a single platform to buy across all screens.

As part of the shift, its TV programmatic unit Adap.tv will sit within the tent is now re-branded as ONE by AOL:TV.

Now-former Adap.tv managing director Mitch Waters will lead the charge as managing director of the newly-launched AOL Platforms, and said the move was about positioning itself as the primary destination for programmatic trading in Australia.

“This is us really putting our stake in the ground, and letting the market know that we're going to be a one-stop shop for programmatic,” Waters told AdNews.

“It is a ridiculously complicated market in Australia. You only need to look at a Lumascape to get an appreciation of just how many DSPs and SSPs are out there, how many trading desks, how many platforms … it's a bit ridiculous.

“If you're in the market and you're trying to get your head around programmatic, it's absolutely terrifying.”

It is pitching itself as a “modular technology stack” in Australia where clients are welcome to plug in their DMPs and SSPs into the platform, rather than being forced to use AOL's.

“It's designed to be open, which is different from the likes of Facebook and Google,” Waters said.

“Advertisers can bring in their display DSPs they may be working with, they can slot in underneath the overarching structure and they can still all get the same benefits from the one platform while still retaining the technologies they know and love.

“We're not trying to shackle people into a relationship with us. If they have elements they want to bring to us, we're more than happy to work with them.”

However, there are more pragmatic reasons why AOL is allowing users to plug in their own DSPs.

“We understand there are different factors at play in this market. Whether there's a long history, or global alignments, we understand those relationships are in place so you can't just go out there and demand that they break those,” Waters said.

“We're basically saying to the market that you can use those pre-existing tools and plug that into our platform if you have a pre-existing relationship with them through a global alignment or whatever...but eventually we want to make our offering so compelling that they want to use our tech stack.”

Waters added that while elements of its tech stack are in place, the full offering isn't in place in Australia just yet, and would not actually be  until the end of this year or the beginning of next year, meaning it is unable to set out its full stall until all the pieces were in place.

“We don't have that full tech stack built in the Australian market yet, so we're waiting until that full offering is in play before we go more bullish on this,” he confirmed.

“In the meantime we're talking to the market about our vision for the platform and getting our heads around what they want out of the stack and how we can work with them.”

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