The Guardian’s Programmatic Plans Extend To Private Video Marketplace

Brian Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of EuropeUK-based news outlet The Guardian is accelerating its programmatic ad offerings with the creation of a private video marketplace powered by

For the most part, The Guardian plans to aim the video marketplace to best capture incremental value around content such as tent-pole events like the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics.

“When experiencing the tremendous growth like The Guardian has seen over the past year, it’s essential to find the optimal mix that melds together the power of direct sales and programmatic,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, managing director of Europe. “ can also help The Guardian to stimulate revenue in markets that may have been difficult for them in the past. We have buyers on the platform in all major markets around the world and connecting them to The Guardian programmatically is a very efficient way to trade without the need to have salespeople on the ground.”

Fitzpatrick pointed out that publishers working with networks tend to rely on predicted inventory availability for a particular month. This strategy doesn’t account for unexpected or sudden surges in readership – in The Guardian’s case, this surge was caused by its coverage of Edward Snowden’s leaking of NSA documents.

“The flexibility of programmatic is that inventory can be quickly repriced to take advantage of spikes using a simple supply and demand approach,” Fitzpatrick said. “That said, the use of programmatic will vary by publisher and their unique needs.”

Although The Guardian placed a small portion of its ad inventory on exchanges over the past four years through the Rubicon Project, it attempted during the latter part of 2013 to increase automation. As Tim Gentry, The Guardian’s revenue director, told AdExchanger in December, the company tended to reserve its programmatic inventory for direct response and other performance-based ads, as opposed to using automated systems to augment its direct sales.

Nevertheless, most of The Guardian’s real-time bidding (RTB) activity has occurred within its general display private exchange. By creating a private exchange for video, The Guardian hopes to attract more brand campaign buyers seeking a hybrid of performance and affinity, even as it primarily sees’s private video marketplace as a way to better manage traffic spikes.

In turn,, which was acquired by AOL in August, is looking to solidify its position in the video marketplace. And with the US starting to mature, there is a greater drive to extend relationships to Europe and Asia.

“There is an obvious desire for to provide buyers with access to as much of the market as possible,” Fitzpatrick said. “This requires us to create connections with all the video players in the markets where we operate. Taking the UK for example, we offer our buyers access to 90% of the UK video market through our public marketplace and the 15-plus private marketplaces. It further shows that the world of video is getting flatter — meaning video is globalizing in very interesting ways.”

The Guardian’s extension of its private video marketplace follows last month’s unveiling of publisher-side trading desk, meant to broaden the news company’s existing programmatic tools, with MediaMath called GuardianResponse+.

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