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Adap.tv Adds Linear TV To Its Programmatic Ad-Buying Platform

Adap.tv said it has added linear TV capabilities to Audience Path, the company’s programmatic ad-buying platform that cut its teeth in the online video world.

Adap.tv, acquired by AOL Networks last year for $405 million, said its newly expanded programmatic capability will help buyers of video ads target and automate decisions across both linear TV and digital distribution platforms.

Adap.tv said its linear TV inventory is coming from a mix of multichannel video programming distributors and TV and cable networks, but declined to identify them. It claims to offer a TV inventory with a potential reach to more than 90 million US TV households across nearly 100 cable networks. Magna Global has already run digital and TV campaigns through Audience Path and has integrated its proprietary data stack, AMP, with the Adapt.tv platform, Adap.tv said.

Adap.tv noted that its platform, which taps into Nielsen’s panel-based measurement system and Rentrak’s set-top box viewing data, enables video buyers to tap a single tech platform for targeting across digital, mobile and linear TV environments.

Although upfronts and other more personal, direct ad-buying processes largely remain in place, more automated programmatic methods of buying and selling ads, typically used for online video advertising, are starting to encroach into the world of linear TV. Adap.tv, Placemedia and AudienceXpress are among the companies that are staking their claim on this emerging programmatic TV marketplace.

But it’s clearly early days, and most premium content providers continue to sell most of their inventory directly. In a report issued last week, FreeWheel, a maker of online video campaign management systems that is close to being acquired by Comcast, said its analysis found that just 4.5% of programmer/MVPD ads were sold via resellers in 2013.

Magna Global, meanwhile, forecasts that 69% of IP-delivered video will be transacted programmatically by 2017.

“The power of programmatic lies in its ability to break through the online and offline silos that have been created, and still exist, in video, as well as greatly increasing the value of our clients’ investments across all screens in the process. The addition of linear TV to this programmatic platform allows us to reach light TV viewers that are difficult to access through traditional TV-buying methods,” said Kristi Argyilan, president, North America of Magna Global, in a statement.

“While television continues to garner the lion’s share of video advertising revenue, advertisers and agencies are thinking and re-architecting their organizations for increasingly cross-screen transactions, driven by the fragmented viewing patterns of consumers,” added Dan Ackerman, Senior Vice President of Programmatic TV at Adap.tv.

While the programmatic process aims to bring more automation and targeting to TV ad-buying, the category faces a scaling challenge and the need for standards and application programming interfaces that enable cross-platform interconnections.

For more on the programmatic TV trend, see this story (subscription required) from the February 17 issue of Multichannel News.