Mediaocean Taps Rubicon For Automated Guaranteed; Dentsu Acquires Cardinal Path

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Sweet Deal For Rubicon

Mediaocean will offer Rubicon Project’s automated guaranteed product – dubbed Orders – within its Prisma software. Given Prisma’s adoption by more than 150 agencies, the deal has the potential to deliver many millions in revenue for Rubicon and its publisher customers – if buyers use it. The move could also help agencies reduce the burden of buying digitally. “A $10 million TV schedule is so much more efficient than a digital buy of the same size,” Mediaocean bizdev VP Fraser Woollard told AdExchanger at the Rubicon Project Automation Summit in Dana Point, Calif. Read the release.

The Dentsu Path

Dentsu Aegis acquired data science and analytics agency Cardinal Path. It isn’t just about analytics though; a big part of Cardinal Path’s draw is that the company manages Google’s global partner academy, which offers training services. “I want a more scaled, more digitally focused capability in this space, and I want a business that I think fits and is complementary to the business we already have,” said Robert Horler, US CEO of Dentsu Aegis. For Cardinal Path it’s an opportunity for global growth, and for the holding company it’s a sign that education and training tools are becoming as necessary as the tech itself. More at Ad Age.

Data + Native

FiveThirtyEight, ESPN’s data-enhanced news site helmed by Nate Silver, launched its first branded content efforts. Campaigns reinforce ESPN’s core product (they feature Stephen Curry and college sports teams), and include data pulled from connected devices given to fans at games, reports Christine Birkner at Adweek. “FiveThirtyEight is an innovator in using data to tell deep, thought-provoking sports stories, which made them the perfect fit for our campaign,” said Matthew McCarthy, a senior director at Unilever, which is behind the campaign. More. It’s not the “data-driven native” you might have hoped for, but a step in that direction.

Welcome, Alexa

Google’s Nest and other “smarthome” tech get a lot of attention, but it could be Amazon’s Echo, the small and inexpensive (but surprisingly ambitious) consumer tech product, that wins the day. Alexa’s responsiveness, agility and “hooks” into other connected home products suggest it could be the next platform to catch fire, writes NYT columnist Farhad Manjoo. It wouldn’t be the first time Amazon “came out of left field to best competitors.” Just ask the folks running the multibillion-dollar Amazon Web Services operation. Is 2016 the year marketers will start to bid on AI paid placements? Or at least optimize for them?

Power Plays

If TV unbundling is a tectonic force, then fierce disputes such as one that broke out this week between 21st Century Fox and Comcast are the volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Comcast and YES Network (which is owned by 21st Century Fox and is best known for broadcasting Yankee games) failed to reach a distribution deal, so YES was cut from Comcast’s package. 21st Century Fox in turn launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign telling viewers to switch from Comcast to DirecTV or Verizon FiOS. If you think walled gardens are defensive, just watch what happens when media fortresses come under attack. More.

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