FreeWheel Tests Premium Programmatic Reserve With TubeMogul

jamesrookeFreeWheel, a video ad server owned by Comcast and used by broadcasters like ABC and Discovery Communications, has teamed up with digital demand-side platform (DSP) TubeMogul to make premium digital video inventory accessible on a programmatic reserved basis.

FreeWheel is arranging several data escrows with TubeMogul and providing access to agencies and marketers like Allstate, IPG Mediabrands and retailer Target’s agency Haworth Marketing + Media.

After a brand compiles audience profiles and personas in their data-management platform, TubeMogul ingests the information and applies it on an impression-by-impression basis.

FreeWheel uses this first-party data to determine the best time and place to serve the ad. Depending on inventory availability, “they will reserve those premium impressions up front and then target those impressions as the campaign runs,” said Keith Eadie, TubeMogul’s CMO. “Programmatic reserve will be one component of a programmatic TV offering [that] makes sense both from an advertiser planning/budget perspective and the publisher perspective.”

This effort is the latest installation in FreeWheel’s FourFronts program, a year-old initiative designed to let advertisers use workflow tools from Mediaocean and Strata to access FreeWheel’s premium digital video supply.

“We knew that while it would take time for the TV buyers – those in charge of a $75 billion market – to increasingly extend their buys onto digital video,” said James Rooke, GM of business solutions for FreeWheel. “We knew that connecting the pipes and having infrastructure in place was important as they are tasked with reaggregating an ever-fragmenting audience.”

One of FreeWheel’s first video DSP partners in the FourFronts initiative was AOL’s In a pilot announced in May, enabled advertisers and agencies MAGNA Global, Optimedia and Starcom MediaVest, to apply their own audience data to premium reserved buys through FreeWheel.

These audience reserves give publishers control over their sales channels and inventory rates, which is practically a prerequisite to ensure access to broadcasters’ premium video inventory. But they also serve a dual purpose for the advertiser, Rooke claimed.

“We created an environment called a double-blind data escrow, which means the advertiser’s data is blind to the publisher and the advertiser can’t see a publisher’s inventory,” he explained. “An advertiser like Allstate knows that when they’re reserving in advance, because it’s a scarce, premium environment, they’re only reserving inventory that matches their needs.”

FreeWheel, in earlier video monetization reports, found only 4.5% of premium programmer ads were sold programmatically through third-party resellers.

When asked if that percentage has risen due to new demand-side deals with and TubeMogul, Rooke said that figure was representative of real-time bidded transactions, and not necessarily the automated “guaranteed, reserved” buys its latest DSP integrations enable.


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