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NY Times Discontinues Programmatic Advertising Role

nytThe New York Times, which last May made a move – albeit reluctantly – toward programmatic media selling with the hire of the company’s first director of programmatic advertising, Matt Prohaska, seems to have backtracked.

Prohaska’s position, AdExchanger has learned, has been discontinued as of Tuesday afternoon. Prohaska was not available for comment.

It is unclear as of publication time what this means for the future of the Times' nascent programmatic ad practice, which Prohaska had been hired to oversee. Specifically, he supervised the Times' global programmatic and indirect revenue in display, search, text mobile and video.

Within two weeks of his hiring, Prohaska told AdExchanger that the Times had struck five deals with advertisers interested in accessing its inventory programmatically.

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NYT Gears Up For 'Critical Year' In Its Advertising Story

Mark Thompson, CEO NYTCo2014 will be a "critical year in the story of advertising" at The New York Times Co., CEO Mark Thompson said during the company's Q4 2013 earnings call today. It's a story that will play out in ad tech, native ads, mobile formats and video.

"In 2014, we will apply greater focus to mobile monetization, seek to expand our high-CPM video inventory and develop more sophisticated audience targeting capabilities," Thompson said, according to the SeekingAlpha transcript.

During the fourth quarter, total advertising revenue declined 1%. Print ad revenues fell about 2%, while digital advertising was flat. Still, management portrayed the ad business in the final quarter as stronger than at the beginning of the year.

There was a sour note for the programmatic industry, however. Despite Thompson's talk of a "fresh focus on ad tech," CFO James Follo delivered what has become a familiar – and by now perhaps ill-advised -- refrain about price pressure from ad exchanges.

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Rubicon Project Revealed: Files S-1, Looks To Raise $100 Million

ipo-rubiconAt long last, sell-side platform (or do you say "ad exchange" or "marketplace"?) Rubicon Project has filed it's S-1 Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission in preparation for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The company is looking to raise $100 million. It has yet to reveal pricing for its offering so no current valuation according to the market is available - yet.

Rubicon reported revenues of $55.7 million for the first nine months of 2013, up 48 percent from $37.6 million during the same period in 2012. Full-year 2012 revenues were $57 million. Meanwhile, total ad spending transacted on the Rubicon platform was $338.9 million in full-year 2012, and $326.7 million in the first nine months of 2013.

The company's net loss shrank from $15.4 million in 2011 to $2.4 million in 2012. Its loss for the first nine months of 2013 was $9.2 million.

Among the many tidbits in the SEC filing is ownership stake held by the company and its key executives and investors. CEO Frank Addante has 10.1 percent, News Corporation owns 21.3 percent, and Clearstone Venture Partners holds 24 percent.

rubicon-project

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Forbes’ Mark Howard Talks Programmatic Trends, Native Ads And Why It’s ‘Business As Usual’

Mark-HowardThe 96-year-old Forbes Media has made an aggressive push into digital media.

It’s invested in programmatic buying as well as native advertising through its BrandVoice platform. In October, it boasted that for the first time more than half (53%) of its total ad revenue came from digital advertising.

The media company’s future has remained murky, however, since Forbes Media announced one month later that it was up for sale. AdExchanger spoke with CRO Mark Howard about Forbes’ digital ad strategy as the company looks for a new owner.

AdExchanger: How would you describe your digital ad strategy today?

MARK HOWARD: The common thread behind everything we’re doing is our ability to deliver, track and report on all the different ad experiences that we offer our marketers and the big trend for last year was how do we deploy a DMP [data-management platform] so that we get better insights into the types of audiences these marketing solutions are reaching and how do we track the exposure and engagement of those ad products to various segments.

To what extent will this change next year?

As we enter a new year, digital will continue to be a primary driver of growth for us. BrandVoice and programmatic in particular are where we’re going to see hypergrowth in 2014 and that’s where we’re putting a lot of our energy and resources. BrandVoice, which represented 20% of our total advertising revenue in 2013, is the idea that brands can act as publishers and share information that’s valuable [in a native ad format on Forbes' site].

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Federated Media Sells Content Marketing Biz, Spins Off Programmatic Unit Into Sovrn

Walter Knapp, CEO, SovrynAs the publishing industry attempts to find a way to bring the brand-friendly values of native advertising together with the scalability and speed associated with programmatic, blog network Federated Media Publishing (FMP) has decided those two functions would be best handled under separate roofs.

FMP whose network includes heavily trafficked sites like Boing Boing and VentureBeat, will sell the content marketing business it started with in 2005 to Lin Digital Media, while the programmatic arm, which was formed through FMP's October 2011 acquisition of supply-side platform (SSP) Lijit Networks, will not be included in the sale. Instead, the programmatic business is being rebranded as Sovrn Holdings and will be based in Boulder, Colo.

"It was a mutually beneficial deal," said Walter Knapp, the former COO of Lijit who is now Sovrn's CEO. "This arrangement allows Lin Digital to get deeper into conversational marketing and expand their portfolio. And [it] gave us at Sovrn a nice investment to back into the area of our business that was growing so dramatically."

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Veteran NYT Ad Ops Director Keltz Joins Hearst Magazines

Heather Keltz, VP, Hearst Magazines DigitalHearst Magazines Digital Media has continued expanding its programmatic focus by hiring former New York Times ad ops director Heather Keltz to fill its newly created position of VP for ad operations.

Keltz reports to Mike Smith, the erstwhile Forbes chief digital officer who joined Hearst Magazines Digital as VP of revenue platforms and operations this past summer. She'll also work closely with her former NYT colleague, Todd Haskell, who jumped to Hearst Magazines Digital as CRO this past fall.

"There's so much momentum from the team they built over the past year," said Keltz, who before her 13-year tenure at NYT managed ad ops for Bloomberg and served as Web traffic coordinator at Playboy Enterprises. "It's interesting for me to go to another iconic media company to help expand their digital offerings. The main reason I'm here to build a tighter bond between ad ops, custom projects, ad product development and programmatic. If I do that well, every area will benefit."

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The Guardian's Programmatic Plans Extend To Private Video Marketplace

Brian Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Adap.tv EuropeUK-based news outlet The Guardian is accelerating its programmatic ad offerings with the creation of a private video marketplace powered by Adap.tv.

For the most part, The Guardian plans to aim the video marketplace to best capture incremental value around content such as tent-pole events like the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics.

"When experiencing the tremendous growth like The Guardian has seen over the past year, it's essential to find the optimal mix that melds together the power of direct sales and programmatic," said Brian Fitzpatrick, managing director of Adap.tv Europe. "Adap.tv can also help The Guardian to stimulate revenue in markets that may have been difficult for them in the past. We have buyers on the platform in all major markets around the world and connecting them to The Guardian programmatically is a very efficient way to trade without the need to have salespeople on the ground."

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Thrillist: Concocting A Consumable Blend Of Native Ads, Content

thrillist-andermanThrillist Media Group, the digital men’s lifestyle company dishing up everything from visual case studies on alcohol composition to foolproof ways to fight angst on red-eye flights, is banking business growth on branded content.

Owner of myriad media and commerce properties that include JackThreads.com, a members-only men’s shopping site; Supercompressor, a newly launched Pinterest-esque buyer’s guide; Crosby Press, an online lifestyle magazine; and Shops, a content-laced commerce platform, Thrillist, which originated as an email list in 2004, has plans to ramp up on resources to support its strategy.

Eric Ashman, COO, and Todd Anderman, president of sales, spoke with AdExchanger about the future of the platform, its role as a publisher and how to perfect a blend of native ads and content.

ADEXCHANGER: What ratio of Thrillist resources is appropriated to marketing your own sites vs. the messages of your advertisers?

TODD ANDERMAN: We’re going across all different avenues. If you look at our revenue streams, we have advertising and we have ecommerce we’ve enabled on our media brands Thrillist, Supercompressor and Crosby Press. From an advertising perspective, we’ve always been focused on custom content and native advertising, but now we also have the great opportunity of focusing on commerce opportunities where we’ll integrate advertisers into the commerce experience, but only in very selective areas where it really creates a better experience and takes people further down the purchase funnel, as opposed to disrupting the purchase funnel.

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Programmatic Selling To 50M Women: Speaking With Meredith VP Chip Schenck

chip-schenck-meredithMeredith Corp., the publisher of magazine brands such as Ladies' Home Journal, Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, knows how to talk to women.

With more than 18 titles, 100 special-interest publications and a digital audience of 50 million monthly visitors, the company is well-positioned to create unique marketing programs that engage its large audience. It even has its own in-house agency, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, to come up with creative marketing solutions.

AdExchanger talked to Chip Schenck, Meredith’s newly appointed VP of programmatic sales and strategy, about how Meredith will dig deeper into its databases to reach more consumers thorough programmatic selling.

AdExchanger: How do print and digital marketing efforts blend in a large publishing company like Meredith? 

CHIP SCHENCK: Meredith doesn’t think like a print company. It always looks forward, and it must. No media company can sit still in such a fast-changing environment. There’s a tremendous amount of internal communication, and I see strong partnerships among our brands and between the digital and print teams. That’s important because the legacy print business continues to have a huge impact on our data. We can really tap into the value of that legacy component.

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IDG Focuses On Digital Ad Properties While Building Out Reach

pete-longoWithin IDG's $3.55 billion global revenue across all businesses last year, its share of US online revenues remained stable at 66% in fiscal year 2013 from 2012. By contrast, the company's US print share of revenues slipped to 19% last fiscal year, from 21%. Consequently, IDG intends to concentrate on its Web strength even more this year, said Pete Longo, CEO of IDG’s vertical ad network TechNetwork and the IDG Consumer & SMB unit.

If last year revolved around laying the groundwork for expanding exchange-based businesses, particularly its private marketplaces and data-management platform (DMP), video is this year’s focal point.

"We launched IDG.tv in November because it made perfect sense to have dedicated site for regular programming beyond consumer and enterprise technology, and spread our wings to include more lifestyle content," Longo said. "Although Microsoft was our launch sponsor, we also see IDG.tv as a way to attract marketers that are peripheral to tech, like automakers."

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