Unruly, Publica Team Up to Offer CTV Pod Programmatic

Programmatic video ad platforms Unruly and Publica said they are working together to give connected TV sellers more control and better monetization over their inventory.

(Image credit: Publica)

The companies said the combination of their technologies will make CTV more like traditional linear TV for both consumers and advertisers and make the auction process both simpler and more efficient.

As viewing shifts from traditional TV to streaming, “buyers and brands really need to update and make sure they’re up to speed on how they can reach that audience,” said Kenneth Suh, chief strategy officer at Unruly. “We’re right there to work with both the traditional broadcaster who is looking to distribution their content on some of these platforms and also working with these virtual MVPDs.

Publica’s technology is used to price and place ads as part of private market deals negotiated between buyers and Unruly’s sellers and allows buyers to bid for specific positions within commercial breaks. For sellers, that means they’ll get the highest price for premium positions, such as the first ad in a pod, known as the “A” position.


Ken Suh (Image credit: Unruly)

“The advertiser that returns the highest price is going to win the most premium slot within the pod,” said Ben Antier, co-founder and chief product officer of Publica. The higher bidder will also get priority within streamed show, with their ads showing up early in the programs

Advertisers will be able to make sure that the terms they can negotiate when they buy TV ads, such as pod exclusivity, will be executed in programmatic deals.

“One thing we can’t forget is that in connected TV, just like in traditional TV, there’s a lot of business rules associated with monetizing your inventory,” Antier said. “When we combine that AI model of optimizing for price with business rules, publishers can really own their inventory and decide how they want to sell it.”


Ben Antier (Image credit: Publica)

The combination also will create unified reporting on deals through a single source, streamline workflow for publishers and allow first-party data for deal targeting.

Unruly provides analytics that give publishers the ability to access all of their auction information in one place and be able to see very quickly which deals are performing, which advertisers are buying what kind of inventory. “What publishers have been asking for is the ability to visualize how their inventory is monetized in a single place,” Suh said.

Antier and Suh said their two companies provide different parts of the value chain and by working together, both should increase the volume of business they do.

Going forward, the two companies are looking ahead to creating automated IDs to make it easier and more secure for buyers who might be hesitant about buying on the open marketplace because of concerns about fraud. “They’d rather have a relationship with a specific publisher, but to log in, they have to send a lot of emails,” Antier said. “It’s the old adage that programmatic should be easier than getting a job done by picking up the phone.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.