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Dish Serves Up Programmatic TV

Bridging the digital and TV advertising worlds, Dish Media Sales said it has entered the programmatic TV game with a platform that uses real-time bidding technology and ties in partnerships with three demand-side providers – DataXu, Rocket Fuel and Tube Mogul.

Dish said its new, proprietary platform will allow advertisers to purchase linear TV ads on an impression-by-impression basis, and target on a household level across the MVPD’s national addressable advertising footprint.

“Dish Media sales has created a platform that seamlessly integrates into the digital ecosystem so digital advertisers can purchase linear TV through an avenue in which they’re comfortable,” Adam Gaynor, vice president of Dish Media Sales, explained. "We know that in the digital ecosystem, buyers truly want control. They want to identify a target and go into a system, find that target , and execute a buy."

Though Dish’s programmatic TV offering currently carries the “beta” label, “We’re open for business – we’re ready to go with these partners,” Gaynor said, noting that Dish has been working on its programmatic TV program for a couple of years.

Dish Media Sales will siphon off a “portion” of its addressable/targeted ad inventory and place it into its new programmatic platform during the early phase. Dish said its targeting criteria includes “80 segments per impression” based on demographics and viewing behaviors, and that its national addressable audience is currently comprised of more than 8 million households.

 “If we see more demand in that [beta] phase, we’ll add more inventory,” Gaynor said.

Like other MVPDs, Dish has access to about two minutes per hour of ad inventory across its network lineup, equating to about 6 million 30-second spots a year.

He said Dish has lots of “triggers” in place to light up more programmatic inventory. “But I do see in time that it becomes one big pool of inventory that both addressable and programmatic are pulling from,” Gaynor said.

For this phase, Dish’s programmatic TV offering will focus on the company’s DBS (direct broadcast satellite) ad inventory. Gaynor, however, envisions that Dish could eventually extend that to inventory offering through Sling TV, Dish’s new OTT-TV service, as well as inventory tied to TV Everywhere applications.

Dish hasn’t announced when its programmatic TV offering might shed the beta label, enabling its partners to launch it to the digital industry,  but when it does, Gaynor expects to come out of it with additional partners on board.

Though the definition of “programmatic” has become a topic of debate, in Gaynor’s view it has to involve a level of automation, include premium inventory, and provide access to solid data that can be modeled against and matched with.

“We believe that there’s still a lot of guesswork in not only what other people call programmatic but in television [advertising],” he said. “We take that guesswork away. We know the households and we can deliver the messages to those households.”