NFL’s Mobile Chief Moves To Tremor To Lead SSP Roll-Out

ManishThe National Football League’s (NFL) GM of mobile, Manish Jha, has leapt to Tremor Video to spearhead sell-side relationships in his new role as president of publisher platforms.

“Tremor has been working with the NFL for some time now and we were really able to manage our direct sales business and network relationship in a way that (reduced) channel conflict,” Jha said of his decision to move to the video vendor. Tremor also has premium publisher relationships with Viacom and NBC Local.

“[Another] piece was the evolution… of video content consumption on all kinds of devices and Tremor’s focus on programmatic,” attracting agency trading desks and advertisers, he added.

Tremor, which began as a video ad network, has steadily morphed into a buyers’ and sellers’ marketplace. The company rolled out demand-side platform (DSP) VideoHub Connect last fall as an extension of its VideoHub analytics product and this spring launched all-screen campaign optimization that 56 advertisers have adopted. Tremor also revealed plans for a supply-side platform (SSP) to help premium publishers monetize content.

Consequently, Tremor is working to grow publisher relationships and Jha’s background made him a natural fit for the job. Jha has already hired a VP of publisher sales to begin ramping up Tremor’s sell-side business. Publishers, he said, are looking for a combination of direct sales to create the highest value for their inventory, as well as programmatic access to quality demand sources.

While at the NFL and as former head of emerging media, data services and mobile at ESPN, Jha was responsible for pushing traditional TV programming into digital domains. For instance, he led ESPN’s efforts to launch ESPN Today, an on-demand audio and video channel, and content development for NFL mobile live streaming.

Mobile video is one of the more compelling opportunities for brand advertisers. The format is much more likely to clinch brand ad dollars than static formats or standard mobile banners. But TV advertisers will not shift linear budget to programmatic video and mobile unless “immersive” and “in-stream” placements are accessible, Tremor’s CEO said on a recent earnings call.

WPP’s GroupM recently predicted that TV advertising spend overall will increase 3.5% in 2014 to $78.8 billion out of total US media spend of $161.1 billion. Broadcast network TV ratings were expected to flatten while cable networks experience a 4% drop in upfront dollars.

If these predictions come true, broadcasters will benefit from diversified access to content. A big network focus is figuring out how to monetize audiences through cable authentication or TV Anywhere apps and connected devices, distinct from traditional TV audiences consuming full-screen programming.

“I’m not the guy who wants to or can speculate on how [connected and mobile devices] manifests in the cannibalization of traditional TV, but I can tell you with respect to live sports, television audiences are not shrinking,” Jha said. “The numbers of people who are consuming digital video content particularly are increasing dramatically, which is terrific news for marketers because they now have the ability to reach consumers in the context where they’re more difficult to reach with brand-building.”


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