News Corp Works To Replace Ad Nets’ ‘Undercutting’ With Global Private Exchange

Greg ClaymanA year after unveiling the Wall St. Journal’s private exchange, WSJ Audex, its parent company News Corp has expanded that model to cover the rest of its global publications.

The News Corp Global Exchange, as its known, won’t replace WSJ Audex, but will instead serve as an umbrella over that offering and will include inventory from its more than 50 websites and mobile properties. Both Audex and the News Corp exchange are powered by The Rubicon Project. Among the chief goals of the company-wide exchange is to dismiss third party ad networks and retain better control over News Corp’s inventory, said Greg Clayman, EVP, Digital Strategy & Commercial Development.

“There’s a number of reasons we’re doing this, but for the most part, we’ve identified a layer of ‘premium programmatic’ inventory between our direct sold placements and remnant ads, which went to third party ad networks in some cases,” Clayman said. “Plus, being aware of the trends toward programmatic on the part of advertisers, it made sense to have more control over our inventory than allowing any third party network to undercut us in price. Our message is we have a lot of advertiser interest and we have valuable audiences. The idea is, if you want to reach them, you have to come to us more directly.”

It’s not clear how many ad networks would be affected, but Clayman suggested that the connection with these third parties were largely ad hoc and primarily used by The New York Post and London tabloid The Sun.

The decision to create the blanket private exchange across News Corp’s titles also comes as the publishing conglomerate was spun off in June from the original News Corp. (note the “period” at the end of the former company’s name) into two separately-traded public entities.

The entertainment division that used to be part of News Corp. is now known as 21st Century Fox, holds the Fox broadcast network and movie studio, as well as the cable channel Fox News and a sports network. The new News Corp retains the WSJ, the New York Post, the Times of London and other newspapers in the UK and Australia. It also included the online-only financial news site MarketWatch and BallBall, a recently released mobile app and website showcasing European football highlights in Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Splitting the company into what is largely a collection of ad supported publishing businesses spread out across the globe also meant that there was a more coherent array of titles that could easily have its audiences segmented for online advertising.

“We started to get interest from advertisers in targeting specific audience segments in specific markets,” Clayman said. “Those audiences are hard to capture for a particular publication. As you begin to gather those audiences and apply third party data, such as a tight demographic in a few distinct geographies to those audiences, it starts to become pretty valuable.

The expansion of News Corp’s relationship with Rubicon goes beyond the WSJ Audex in the sense that at least on a small level, that publication’s programmatic strategy satisfied the powers that be there. The ties between Rubicon and News Corp were solidified when Murdoch and company sold its Fox Audience Network to Rubicon in exchange for a 19.9% equity stake in the exchange operator.

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