Mediaocean Opens API Program, As Convergence Catches On

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Bill WiseMedia-buying workflow software provider Mediaocean is opening an "app platform," designed to streamline and customize the ad sales process across both digital and traditional channels, like broadcast.

The Connect Partner Platform is akin to the open APIs that Facebook and Twitter offer to their preferred partners. While the Connect Partner Platform is designed to close the loop around automating all media ad sales and making it easier to perform cross-platform buying, it won’t produce instant convergence. Although the integration process had already started for some clients and partners, it will take a few more months to complete the rest of the connections.

About 200 companies are being integrated into the platform, said Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise.

"There is a lot of work involved with Connect Partners: We're integrating ad servers, data solution providers, supply businesses and technology providers as well as agencies and sellers," Wise said. "And one thing we're clear on saying is that we're not interested in disrupting or breaking the current business models of broadcast, for example, which is still highly valuable. This is just about making the adjustments to make the process smarter and more efficient."

This is a philosophical shift from Mediaocean’s origins – formed in 2011 when Mediabank and Donovan Data Systems merged – when the company focused on bringing the online ad buying methods to traditional media like broadcast and cable. But Wise quickly realized that there was an even greater call for fixing online media buying, which was actually more of a mess than broadcast and cable buying.

Connect's debut also reflects Mediaocean’s recognition that online and traditional media are converging and that there’s increased demand for – and competition among – tools that bridge analog and digital buying methods.

"Agencies are spending a lot of time on figuring out where video fits when it reaches from offline to online – what part is best for TV, what part is best for digital," Wise said. "The broadcasters are recognizing the same thing now. It's no longer about throwing one or two full-length shows online for the upfront. At first, it was 1 or 2% of their programming, then it was 2, 4 and now 11%. The question they want answered is, 'What is the best way to set up monetization for content as it all moves from TV to digital?' I would love to say we're visionaries, but the reality is we're being brought into these conversations by agencies and media to help come up with the answer."

Mediaocean processes about $130 billion in global ad spending via the roughly 80,000 media buyers using the software at any given time. Although the Mediaocean API is intended for all parts of the ad industry, its initial focus is getting the agencies to adopt it, followed by data companies (comScore, Nielsen Catalina Solutions, SQAD, Triton Digital and Visual IQ are already on board), sellers (existing client Pandora and NCC are integrated at launch) and vendor partners (ADstruc, Comcast AdDelivery and video platform FreeWheel).

For Mediaocean, Connect's debut reflects the recognition that "convergence" between online and traditional media is becoming a clear way of doing business – and that competition among companies being the bridge between analogy and digital buying methods are heating up.

"We're not Google, we don't have those kinds of resources, so we were not going to create our own tech stack," Wise said. "But we can do is create our own terminal for interoperability between different advertising channels for agencies, sellers and vendors. And with that, we can compete with the likes of a Google stack."

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