• Digging Into Programmatic TV: Interview With Placemedia's President Derek Mattsson

    Leading up to VideoNuze’s SHIFT // 2016 Programmatic Video & TV Advertising Summit on November 30th in NYC, VideoNuze will be publishing a series of interviews with industry executives that help explain the industry and provide attendees with background information for the SHIFT discussion sessions. Today, I’m pleased to share an interview with Derek Mattsson, who is president of Placemedia. Read on to learn more about programmatic TV’s opportunities and challenges, the impact of this year’s upfront, the role of TV networks’ data initiatives and much more.

    VideoNuze: Describe what Placemedia does and how it differentiates itself in the market?
    Derek Mattsson: Our primary points of differentiation center around the three primary components of programmatic - supply (who are your distribution partners) - demand (who is buying in the platform) - and, automation (how does data and technology work inside your platform).  On the supply side, Placemedia and most of our competitors have relationships with the same MVPDs.  Where we have separated ourselves is with deeper and broader availability of national cable network inventory.  On the demand side, we have live integrations with 14 digital demand side platforms, including all of the large players (The Trade Desk, TubeMogul, Videology, Centro and Rocketfuel).  We’re also working with several agencies and advertisers direct.  The result is aggregated demand from several sources, which means more dollars for our supply side partners.  Finally, on the automation front we’ve built several pieces of proprietary technology that we think make our engine smarter.  The result of that is more efficient buys for the demand side, and better yield for the supply side.
    VideoNuze: Placemedia is now ingesting 30 billion impressions per month in 100 million TV households. What are the main sources those impressions and how are they sold?
    Derek Mattsson: Our impressions come from MVPDs and National Cable Networks.  When we started the company in 2013 we were one of the first platforms to sell by audiences and impressions as opposed to spots and GRPs.  The entire industry is headed in that direction, but an important part of our technology is converting television currency into digital currency which is driving omni-channel solutions.
    VideoNuze: Programmatic TV is still a relatively new concept – what does it mean and what doesn’t it mean?
    Derek Mattsson: In the simplest terms, programmatic means automated transactions between the buy side and the sell side.  In digital, programmatic facilities one-to-one ad delivery based on audience targets or page context.  In linear television, programmatic lets advertisers easily access highly indexed inventory to target audiences on more networks and dayparts than they would normally consider.  It further simplifies operational execution (planning, insertion order, copy, reporting, invoicing) by aggregating fragmented supply across multiple networks into a single transaction in a single platform.
    As television continues to evolve, and IPTV, OTT and TVE impressions become better measured and more available, we see TV evolving to a more addressable (digital-like) programmatic solution.
    VideoNuze: Placemedia just signed JamLoop as its 14th demand side partner. How do these deals work and why are they important?
    Derek Mattsson: Our supply side partners are hungry for programmatic demand.  We believe ultimately programmatic television, advanced television and digital will converge into single programmatic video solutions.  By making it easier for demand side platforms to access linear TV impressions today, we’re paving the way for true omni-channel programmatic video solutions in the future.  Moreover, in the short-term we’re bringing incremental demand and revenue to our supply side partners.
    VideoNuze: TV networks are investing heavily in data initiatives so ad buyers can better reach their desired segments. How does this impact Placemedia?
    Derek Mattsson: We believe that more data is always better, and we plan on incorporating as much data as we’re able to into our platforms.  Our platform is data agnostic, currently supporting 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data, allowing an advertiser to utilize Placemedia’s data targeting or bring their own.  We also don’t believe the market is going to accept a walled-garden approach where you have to buy through myriad private marketplace. That’s where we come in.

    VideoNuze: There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which raised questions about how well programmatic TV will fare given the relatively strong upfront. What’s your take?
    Derek Mattsson: The television economy is $75 billion and growing.  Every participant in the current economy is trying to protect their interests by maintaining the status quo.  The upfront and the scatter market are a huge part of the current economy.  Honestly, we’ve never believed programmatic was a solution to replace the current economy, but rather an add-on for advertisers who want to augment their premium buys with more targeted buys.  I also don’t think the industry revenue statistics support the idea that a strong upfront is negative for programmatic.  We’re big believers in television and if television ad budgets are growing that’s good for everybody.
    VideoNuze: If you could wave a magic wand and eliminate one major challenge to programmatic TV scaling up, what would it be?
    Derek Mattsson: The industry’s biggest problem is getting around legacy technology.  Because television and the technologies that drive it are so disparate and complex it’s difficult to create a fully integrated automated solution.  If I could wave a wand, I would create a seamless pipe between buyers and sellers overlaid with solid data and consumer viewing behavior.

    VideoNuze: Thanks!