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Bergman Hired to Build Ad Sales for Vizio Smart TVs

Vizio has hired Adam Bergman as VP for Vizio Ads, the unit that sells advertising that appears on the TV manufacturer’s smart sets.

Bergman, previously director of West Coast partnerships at Samba TV, will be responsible for building relationships with media buyers and marketers. He’ll be based in Los Angeles and report to Mike O’Donnell, senior VP of Vizio’s Platform Business.

As streaming gains popularity, smart TV are becoming a more prominent way viewers consume programming. Advertisers want to reach those viewers, but the growing number of companies selling over-the-top advertising inventory is leaving media buyers and advertisers confused and frustrated. Bergman said.

Buying ads directly on the devices consumers are using is a “no brainer,” Bergman said.

“The advertisers are getting very little clarity as to when and how those ads landed” he said. “We have the data to deliver targeted ads and prove their efficacy and showcase a level of transparency that others in the market just simply can’t.”

Vizio Ads has two type of inventory. It has native units on its SmartCast home screen. Those ads are static now, but the company soon will introduce click to video units. The home screen ads are popular for entertainment clients and tune-in ads.

Vizio Ads also has in-stream inventory that it gets as part of its carriage agreements with ad-supported programmers. That inventory is targeted and addressable.

Bergman notes that about 30% of Vizio’s customers do not have a cable or satellite subscription. “There is an audience on our platform that is flat-out unreachable by a traditional linear buy,” he said.

Advertisers in the financial services and auto category have already launched campaigns on the platform. And with an election coming, the political community appears to be excited about the platform, Bergman said.

Vizio is selling both directly through sales reps as well as programmatically through private markets. Bergman said that Vizio Ads aims to help clients navigate OTT and create target audiences with insights from Vizio’s Inscape data unit.

Vizio Ads is in the process of building its staff. It will have its headquarters New York and offices in, Los Angeles, Chicago and in Seattle, where Vizio already has an office.

He expects to have between 15 and 20 sales people by the end of the year.

“We’re really happy about the volume of advertisers that have show interest and are already transacting, but we absolutely have a long way to go in terms of the milestones we’ve set for ourselves, he said, declining to provide sales figures. “We’re ahead of schedule, I’ll say that.”