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Adap.tv, FreeWheel Connect On Programmatic Ad Test

FreeWheel said it will integrate Adap.tv’s programmatic reserved technology into its FourFronts marketplace as it prepares to help ad buyers and sellers test out Web-style automated advertising processes on online-delivered premium video.

The technical tie-in is designed to enable their clients to test how to use their proprietary audience data to buy premium inventory on a reserved, “upfront-like” basis.

Adap.tv, now part of AOL, said it expects Optimedia, Magna Global and Starcom MediaVest Group to participate in the pilot program.

The vendors noted that programmatic buying of audiences in a reserved fashion has not been possible in video because advertisers don’t want to share  valuable consumer data, and publishers don’t want to place their premium inventory into real-time bidding environments. The pilot will look to solve those issues by placing the data in a “protected ‘data escrow’ environment,” allowing publishers to forecast and reserve against it.

One goal of the pilot is to solve how buyers and sellers of in the premium digital TV market can deploy automated advertising and use proprietary data at scale, while also seeing how the system stacks up against delivery commitments and advertising compliance standards, but to do it all in an “arm’s-length, safe way,” said Jon Heller, CEO of FreeWheel, the online advertising company that was acquired by Comcast earlier this year.

Heller said the plan is to conduct the pilot in two rounds – one in July and August, and the other in September and October. The aim is to work out the rules of the road proactively this year in anticipation of higher-scale activities in 2015, he said.

Heller said the pilots slated for this year will involve full episode TV shows that are delivered online.

FreeWheel and Adap.tv didn’t flesh out all of the programmers that might take part in those trials, but earlier this month ABC announced at the Upfronts that it would test programmatic-style advertising throughout the summer using FreeWheel’s new FourFronts solution. ABC said the test would involve digital video ad inventory from ABC Entertainment and News programming, along with participation from  ABC Family. The trial will be limited to reserve inventory.