Xandr Monetize Replaces The AppNexus SSP And Adds OTT Header Bidding

Goodbye AppNexus SSP, hello Xandr Monetize.

One year after its acquisition by AT&T, AppNexus is rebranding its exchange to Xandr Monetize. It’s also adding a slew of new features to support its vision of offering a full programmatic stack for video-heavy publishers.

Xandr Monetize is the third Xandr-branded product to launch, after Xandr Community and Xandr Invest. The products all work together. Xandr Invest is the rebranded AppNexus DSP, and Xandr Monetize is the rebranded SSP. Community is Xandr’s proprietary data-infused marketplace that can be accessed by buyers only through Invest, and by sellers only through Monetize.

A key feature being added to Xandr Monetize is the ability for publishers to sell OTT inventory programmatically via header bidding. Buyers will be able to compete for OTT video ads and outbid direct buyers for the first time.

“It will dramatically increase the supply that is available to be transacted over programmatic pipes,” said Michael Richardson, VP of product management for Xandr, and lead to “better outcomes for publishers.”

In order to enable OTT header bidding, Xandr had to build in competitive exclusion capabilities for ad pods. TV advertisers in the same category often don’t want to be next to each other. It also built ad caching features to ensure a seamless streaming experience – a steep technical challenge. The programmatic OTT header bidding can also support client-side and server-side ad insertion.

Sister company WarnerMedia has already tested the OTT header bidding solution and found it “essential” to improving yield, according to Amit Chaturvedi, EVP and head of revenue operations and ad products for WarnerMedia.

Xandr Monetize also created an improved version of server-side header bidding for its ad server, dubbed Prebid Server Premium. Similar to Google open bidding (formerly known as exchange bidding), it brings together outside exchanges to compete in a unified auction. Although the solution is built on the open source Prebid, it charges a clearing fee for impressions it wins as well as a revenue share.

Lastly, Xandr Monetize is adding in programmatic guaranteed for the first time.

When AT&T bought AppNexus, some publishers wondered if the acquired company would continue to build for its existing customers or start to focus more on its new owner. Xandr Monetize is trying to build for both groups, Richardson said.

“Our incentives are so closely aligned with publishers in general, when we win the broader programmatic ecosystem wins,” Richardson said.

Xandr Monetize also has the backing of a Fortune 10 company and “a mandate to do what we can to improve the ecosystem,” he added.

Still, the product suite on offer is most closely aligned with the needs of video-focused publishers, Richardson acknowledged.

“For publishers with a good mix of premium video inventory alongside other formats, this is the obvious solution,” he said.

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