AMI Scales Up Mobile Programmatic With Amobee

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bilman amiAmerican Media Inc. (AMI) is turning to Amobee to handle its entire mobile inventory.

It’s the biggest traditional print publisher deal in the US yet for SingTel-owned Amobee, which will service AMI’s 40 million unique viewers spanning 18 properties including OK! Magazine, Shape and Men’s Fitness. The mobile-centric ad tech company will provide analytics tools for AMI, supply custom mobile ads and sell inventory through its real-time bidding exchange.

AMI chief digital officer and global head of business development Joe Bilman said he hopes the Amobee partnership will help the publisher to catch up in the mobile marketplace and better optimize its inventory.

“We’ve seen the audience shift from desktop to tablet and mobile," Bilman said. "With some of our brands, 60% of consumers are engaging on a mobile device.”

While the viewers may be there, the money hasn’t followed. AMI’s digital revenue grew 23% in 2013, but that was just 3% of total AMI revenue, far below print advertising and subscriptions. Bilman expects digital to be a more significant presence next year, since mobile revenue already experiences “triple-digit growth month over month.” With Amobee, he expects that number could “go up even further.”

AMI’s move to Amobee also means it will be leaving Kargo, another mobile-focused ad platform with a publisher list that includes College Humor, Elle and Vice. Kargo was a “great partner to get American media from where it was,” Bilman said.

Amobee will sell ads on AMI’s mobile web, tablet and in-app properties using both a private and public exchanges, Bilman said.

AMI will have access to user data collected across the entire Amobee network, which spans 1.4 billion mobile users globally accessing over a thousand publishers and ad networks. That access to first-, second- and third-party data was a big selling point on Amobee, Bilman said.

For the past year, AMI has focused on improving the mobile experience, particularly conscientious that “time and real estate are limited,” Bilman said. In addition to creating a pared-down experience for its mobile users, it has hired executives with digital backgrounds such as Bilman, who was brought over from Fox Mobile.

Mobile inventory can still be sold through an AMI sales force.

“Our direct-sales force still offers mobile in their portfolio. Now they’ll have some new innovative ad units they can sell as well,” Bilman said, referencing the Amobee 3D custom ad units that will be available to those buying AMI inventory programmatically or directly.

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