Google’s DV360 Starts Selling Linear TV Inventory For The First Time

Google is selling linear television inventory with Display & Video 360, its demand-side platform (DSP), via a beta partnership with the TV industry ad tech company WideOrbit.

“The feedback we’ve most consistently heard from clients is how challenging it’s become to reach their audiences,” said Eve Goldman, Google’s director of global YouTube and video solutions. “We started investing in capabilities over the past couple years to enable access to the right audiences and inventory and to streamline workflows in connected TV, video and linear TV.”

The product went live last month, said WideOrbit founder and CEO Eric Mathewson, and automates campaigns across local cable channels and network affiliates that are typically purchased person-to-person, and station by station.

However, the ability to buy WideOrbit inventory through DV360 is still in a limited beta and is being managed by the platforms. Goldman said Google is refining a self-serve version to launch later this year.

Google seeks supply

Google is adding more linear TV inventory partners.

Clypd, another linear TV supply-side platform, is slated to integrate with DV360 this fall. WideOrbit has deep roots in local TV, whereas clypd would open up more national cable inventory to DV360 buyers.

And it’s important for Google’s linear TV model to work for broadcasters that don’t necessarily want to commit to the full Google stack. Google Ad Manager, Google’s own SSP, has direct deals with broadcasters like Disney and CBS. But going through WideOrbit or clypd eases the competitive tensions, and means the networks don’t have to switch software or buying models to tap Google demand.

But connecting programmatic exchanges and TV broadcasters is a difficult, lengthy process, said clypd co-founder and CEO Joshua Summers.

The contract negotiations are tricky, he said. Even within linear TV, there are very different buying standards. For instance, national campaigns are usually bought ahead of time and can’t be preempted, whereas local commercials operate more like digital media, with the spot up for grabs for whoever is willing to offer more – though still not in real-time.

There will be long beta testing to make sure the tech works as promised, Summers said.

“Google has massive amounts of search data and new types of attribution models for the TV world,” he said. “It’s going to attract a lot of interest.”

Besides the legal framework for when and how to submit TV inventory bids, Summers said the targeting and measurement requires extensive development.

Linear campaigns usually sell as a percent of overall audience in a certain demographic or area – unlike digital media, where buyers purchase based on number of viewers. Also, it’s hard to reconcile programmatic video buys, with narrow attribution windows, with linear TV campaigns that could take a week to buy and then run for more than a month.

Why now?

Companies like WideOrbit and Google have been investing in tech for data-driven TV ad buying for years, Mathewson said.

Part of the reason the convergence of TV and digital is accelerating is because the big digital platforms have embraced TV brand advertising.

The big digital media players, like Amazon, Google and Facebook, have become major TV advertisers in their own right in the past few years, Mathewson said.

Google is developing attribution and ROI models connecting TV campaigns to sales of its own consumer products like the Pixel smartphone. The video ads team then sells tools based on those learnings to other advertisers.

Digital and TV buying teams also want “tools that drive further collaboration,” Goldman said.

For instance, programmatic teams buying YouTube on smart TVs want to frequency cap against linear commercials running in that market, she said. Or, a linear ad buyer could want to apply traditional TV metrics like gross ratings points to YouTube.

Those major advertisers are thinking more holistically about video investments, and inventory suppliers that provide that will have a big leg up winning those budgets, she said.

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1 Comment

  1. Jack O'Reilly

    This is pretty similar to an announcement that was made over 2 years ago by these same companies, and nothing happened. The promise is a lot easier than the execution, and the execution of linear is where these companies have failed repeatedly