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Q&A: News Limited’s Jason Barnes on private marketplaces

Q&A: News Limited’s Jason Barnes on private marketplaces

Jason Barnes, News Ltd Last month we announced our private marketplace partnership with leading Australian publisher News Limited.

In this interview we speak to News’ Head of Commercial Development Jason Barnes about its private marketplace strategy, first party data and how he sees the Australian automated trading space developing in future:

Can you give an overview of your private marketplace strategy and what your aims have been in implementing it?

The first phase strategy was to release good quality inventory to a defined group of buyers in the Australian market and ‘test and learn’. We would then use that information to inform our longer term strategy. Some of the questions we hoped to answer were: What is the level of demand? How will yield compare with our in-house performance product? Which advertisers are spending? Is advertiser ROI improved?

The trial was considered a success and we are integrating the product into our business. The key aims of this second phase will be to maximise the efficiencies that programmatic trading brings to the execution of campaigns and continue to drive value through increased yield and improved performance for the advertiser.

To what extent is your private marketplace strategy a response to the requirements of the demand side?

We were getting a fair bit of pressure from the agencies to participate, so that encouragement got us started, but it is now progressing under its own steam and the company is supportive of the initiative.

Are private marketplaces really closing the gap between premium direct and automated trading?

Private marketplaces do provide more granular controls that enable us to start considering more intricate deals with agencies and advertisers, but in my opinion they are not there yet. At the moment our focus is on achieving uplift for our remnant inventory and introducing internal process efficiency, but I do anticipate premium programmatic through private marketplaces in the next 12 months.

What were the main reasons for partnering with Rubicon on your Private Marketplace strategy?

We have been using Rubicon for more than three years to monetise our international inventory, so were familiar with the product and team. When we decided to build a domestic private marketplace we analysed and trialled a few providers and felt that Rubicon offered us the best control, reach and support to make this channel a success.

What are your views on publishers’ first party data and its place in your approach to private marketplaces?

Publisher first party data offers a big opportunity and I believe will be an inflection point in the growth of digital display. News Limited is in the fortunate position of having a huge amount of diverse and rich customer data which we are currently centralising.

We do not plan to make any of our data available on a data exchange. However,  private marketplaces could facilitate the execution of data deals that we do with agencies or advertisers, thereby making the process more efficient. The security of our data would be a key consideration prior to committing to selling data this way.

What role do you see REVV Connect playing in automating these deals?

I expect REVV Connect will enable us to package up inventory, or inventory and data, and make it available in a safe environment to multiple buyers which should maximise yield.

How do you see this market developing in future?

I think a few key changes will need to happen to ensure continued growth:

  • First and foremost the buy and sell side advocates need to educate internally about the benefits that RTB can bring their organisations. There is still a lack of understanding in the market.
  • Mobile and video need to be available at scale and quality data overlaid to make programmatic buys easier across all platforms and formats with audience targeting.
  • Finally, buyers and sellers need to structure their internal processes and resources to maximize the channel. I think the majority of these developments will occur during 2013, so it should be an exciting year!