PMPS: A Discussion with Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Media

This is the third piece in our series about private marketplaces in Canada. In our first piece, we discussed why we’re seeing such fast growth of PMPs in Canada and how this model can be applied to programmatic TV. In our last piece, you heard from GroupM Canada’s Chief Trading Officer, Neil Johnson, about PMP growth and the big advantages from an agency perspective.


For this installment, we turned to the final piece of the equation—the inventory suppliers—to give their thoughts. Each of our three participants has been making waves in the technology realm with Corus recently announcing a programmatic TV partnership with VisibleWorld and Rogers and Bell both announcing partnerships with Videology.


So how quickly is the the video PMP market growing in Canada? What’s the benefit? 

As we noted in a previous piece, both suppliers and advertisers see the benefits of operational efficiencies and increased effectiveness of data-driven advertising technology, yet suppliers traditionally haven’t been willing to risk commoditizing precious video inventory in an environment that offers little transparency or control. PMPs, however, bring those efficiencies alongside transparent trading models.


“The Canadian advertising market is traditionally more conservative than the U.S. which can probably explain why PMP has been so strongly adopted. Canadian advertisers are eager to embrace PMPs to access premium inventory in a safe and transparent environment,” said Stuart Garvie, President, Bell Media Sales.


Alan Dark, SVP of Media Sales for Rogers Media, also highlights transparency as important, but additionally notes the impact of efficiency in driving value, “The advantages of a PMP are increased transparency on both ends for the publisher and advertiser, premium access to inventory for advertisers, improved yield for broadcasters, and leveraging automated efficiencies on both the buy and sell side.”


Echoing a similar sentiment, Bell’s Garvie explains, “PMPs allow broadcasters to control the flow and quality of ads appearing on their properties as they are based on direct, upfront sales involving the seller and buyer. PMPs do not eliminate actual relationships, but simply make the execution faster and more seamless once the specific requirements by the advertisers are agreed on with the broadcaster.”


He elaborated, “There’s also a high level of flexibility for the type of transaction through a PMP. Increasingly, we are finding that advertisers are asking for Programmatic Guaranteed deals – essentially direct transactions, on specific sites, booked in advance—but they are looking to use a programmatic interface. PMPs are set up to enable that kind of transaction much more effectively than open exchanges.”


Brett Pearson, VP of Digital Sales at Corus Entertainment, sees the biggest value as a combination of efficiency in targeting, execution and measurement.


What should supply and demand partners consider before entering into a PMP?

One thing everyone agrees on is the need for careful planning.


“The most important thing when entering into a PMP is to have a trusting relationship with your business partner. Expectations have to be established at the outset. Both sides need to understand pricing floors, the level of targeting that’s available, and the kind of inventory that they are looking for. Once you have a clear understanding of what to expect, it makes business more transparent and easier for both parties,” said Garvie.


Rogers’ Dark added, “Defining inventory stack strategy and where PMPs fit into the stack, determining trading methods such as guaranteed deals or preferred deals, defining transparency requirements upfront and establishing a feedback loop to optimize deals, are just a few key considerations.”


“Sellers have to consider pricing models (fixed, floor based) and their overall impact on yield. Because of inventory scarcity, buyers have to make sure there is enough scale available to execute campaigns successfully while hitting the necessary KPIs,” said Pearson.


Looking ahead, do you think PMP will be the primary model for broadcasters interested in programmatically transacting on their linear inventory – why or why not?

It’s still early to know exactly what the future of programmatic TV will look like, but there seems to be a consensus that evolution is upon us.


Garvie suggests Bell Media is fully embracing PMPs, noting that open marketplaces are just “too unsafe” and that PMPs are “proven to be the best option in terms of quality, transparence, safety, and efficiency, which are all crucial elements to sustained success in the advertising industry.”


Rogers too seems optimistic about PMPs role in the linear world. Dark told us he thinks, “The foundations of guaranteed deal and private marketplace will provide a framework from which programmatic principles can be applied to linear TV dynamics.”


Pearson isn’t quite as ready to go all in, suggesting it might be speculative to assume PMPs are the right approach for linear TV, instead suggesting, “Variables such as supply/demand dynamics and legacy workflows will dictate how linear models evolve over time.”


As this evolution continues to progress, one thing is certain, PMPs offer a new alternative to auctions in increasing the efficiency of premium video advertising. Alan Dark paints the picture well in a simple statement:


“When it comes to video, we view PMP as a premium, invitation-only trading channel that can be purchased through guaranteed deals. We do not auction our most valued inventory in an auction environment.”

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