Programmatic video advertising took a small step into the TV world today as Geri Wang, president of ABC Sales, announced a trial this summer involving online video from ABC and ABC Family. The trial is being conducted with FreeWheel's FourFronts Programmatic solution, which will connect a limited number of media buyers with select demand side platforms (DSPs) using buyers' first-party and other data.
While the trial is an important step forward for ABC in extending some of programmatic's benefits, it appears to be a carefully calibrated move that won't upset ABC's upfront value proposition or the equilibrium of the TV ad market. In a statement Wang noted "how important it is to help our clients create value by making media more targeted and the transaction process more streamlined."
Ads on ABC and ABC Family online video will be limited to "reserved" inventory, so clients still need to make a spending commitment to the networks. That means at least for the trial buyers won't be able to access ABC inventory more dynamically in open marketplaces or use real-time bidding. In addition, the trial applies just to online video, so traditional linear inventory isn't available.
Still, ABC's move shows programmatic's increasing mind-share. Separately, just last week Turn introduced its programmatic TV offering. TV advertising is too big a market for programmatic's proponents to ignore and I'm guessing we'll hear about more moves in the coming weeks as well.