Programmatic ABC: TV Network Names Data-Driven Sales Chief

MikeDeanABC on Thursday appointed Mike Dean to the newly created post of VP of programmatic and data-driven sales. He will report to Pooja Midha, ABC’s SVP of digital ad sales and operations.

Dean most recently served as VP of media platform sales and solutions for programmatic video ads platform Videology, which he joined in 2011 as senior director of publisher services.

ABC recently revealed details about a programmatic private exchange it developed with video ad server FreeWheel and AOL’s technology. Although none of the network’s premium linear inventory was available through the trial, marketers could apply first and third-party data to ABC video inventory via buy-side platforms, said Adam Gerber, ABC’s VP of sales development and marketing, during a recent panel hosted by Simulmedia founder and CEO Dave Morgan.

“Video is going to be the battleground between the traditional TV companies and the digital companies,” Morgan told AdExchanger. “The existing TV companies need to find ways to buttress themselves from digital, which really means being a part of that ecosystem.”

Linear television is characterized by brand sponsorships and unit-based commitments on shows. Because of the specificities required for large-scale brand integrations, “large swaths of business will remain focused on human-to-human contact,” Gerber said.

While many people incorrectly believe programmatic only applies to inventory on open exchanges, data-driven targeting and workflow automation – even if transacted directly – are also by definition programmatic. And these elements drive the efficiencies that networks are interested in. NBC for instance, is growing its NBCUniversal Audience Platform group so its programmatic offerings can complement its direct sales offerings across digital and linear properties.

Increasingly, networks need to perfect the mix of talent and technology.

“If [programmatic is] going to work, it has to scale at the TV size. It’s not just a question of technical pipes connecting, but parties from both sides of the table working through the business rules of the road,” said Jon Heller, cofounder and co-CEO of FreeWheel, in a recent interview.

Additionally, the marketer needs to figure out how much of their budget and media plan will be allocated toward the traditional TV upfront, traditional TV scatter, video on-demand and dynamically served through digital, as well as, “How much am I going to do based on Nielsen and comScore demo comps vs. content targeting?” Heller said.


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