MediaBank CEO Wise Discusses New Cross-Channel DSP


Mediabank announced yesterday that it has launched a demand-side platform: “M|Buy DSP will be a central console through which national advertisers can order buys on local TV, print, radio, out-of-home, digital, and other advertising.” Read more.

CEO Bill Wise discussed his company’s DSP and its features.

Please discuss why M|Buy exists and its strategic importance to MediaBank’s overall strategy.

MediaBank is a business centered around using data to create actionable insights and greater efficiency for every part of the advertising ecosystem. We’re also big believers in the concept that at root, local advertising, national advertising, and online/offline are all remarkably similar at the core—they all boil down to making effective use of the data and tools to reach the right audience.

At the same time, we saw that local advertising was a very underserved market: there’s not nearly enough clear communication, standardized data, and streamlined processes between ad buyers and ad vendors to make local advertising as efficient as it could be. Vendors have a very hard time making advertisers aware of quality inventory, buyers have a hard time finding the best placements, and there are a lot of middlemen creating a lot of unnecessary “taxes” along the way. M|Buy DSP eliminates those inefficiencies to help the entire marketplace.

Can you take us through how M|Buy is a demand-side platform?

Quick correction: M|Buy is the small business division of MediaBank; it uses technology, data, and services to help advertisers run local advertising more intelligently. The M|Buy DSP is the new DSP product from M|Buy; it’s one component of M|Buy overall.

M|Buy DSP is an interface through which advertisers can view all the data they’ll need to understand about what local ad inventory is available, and what the value of each unit would be; and it lets them place their orders through the interface. It’s the same model as online-only DSP, applied in a truly channel-agnostic for local media.

Another model we use a lot internally is Orbitz: pre-Internet, travelers had limited access to inventory and couldn’t know what the real market value of a flight, trip, or hotel room would be; and travel agents were gatekeepers who charged for providing limited access to that information. Travel aggregators made the inventory universally available—travelers got a much better sense of the actual value of any piece of travel inventory, they got to see the whole inventory, and a lot of smaller travel companies could compete on real value to the traveler.

Local advertising has been operating with the same lack of clear information and heavy reliance on middlemen as the pre-Internet travel business. By providing access to the right data to all media buyers, we’re creating a level of standards, removing “taxes,” and helping to define a true market rate to bring prices down.

What inventory sources will be available to buyers? Can you provide a few, specific examples?

For the first stage, we’ll have inventory from local newspapers and outdoor groups nationwide; we’ll be adding more channels as the program progresses.

This is a big deal because there are a lot of local outlets that simply don’t know how to get their inventory in front of major advertisers, which means that there’s a lot of great inventory that major advertisers could be buying, if they only knew it existed. M|Buy DSP connects the two sides of the marketplace to finally put the best advertisers in touch with the best local inventory.

How does pricing work? Self-serve? If not, what service will be necessary?

Pricing is based on usage and inventory type. It’s a licensed product that’s interoperable with other media workflow platforms (like MediaBank’s OX); ultimately, we’ll enable direct access to the product via

Can M|Buy help with attribution modeling for the marketer? If so, how?

Since this is a cross-channel product, the vision is to use M|Buy DSP to watch interaction effects across local audiences (we’ll be able to help answer questions like how much of an impact display and print advertising have when used in tandem, for instance); we’ll also be able to use M|Buy to watch how creatives perform when they’re uniquely crafted for specific DMAs. It’s worth pointing out that MediaBank’s analytics tools across media are already very powerful—we’ll be able to do a lot combining them with M|Buy DSP.

By John Ebbert

For more on MediaBank plans, read MediaPost’s interview with Wise by Joe Mandese.

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