More top publishers are opting into programmatic ad networks to sell premium advertising.
Varick Media Management recently signed deals with Time Inc., News Corp., American Media Inc. and Wenner Media and will help them sell ad units that feature photography, videos and other types of media for their websites.
"There still is a large segment of the market that views programmatic as the remnant stuff," said VMM vp of product strategy Jim Caruso. "But it can be used as a holistic part of your strategy."
Currently, real-time bidding programmatic rules the market, making up $9.25 billion out of the $10 billion industry. But, direct programmatic buying is taking over more of the space, growing 850 percent in 2014 to make up $800 million of the pie.
One of the benefits of going programmatic is that publishers can access data that they wouldn't get via traditional ad buying, Caruso explained. VMM can combine its data with publisher first-party data to guarantee better hit rates for key audiences. Not only do people get the right ad at the right time, they see high impact creative that can be targeted across a media company's family of sites.
"I think that everyone should move to automation because it's more efficient," Caruso said.
Patrick Dolan, evp and COO of the IAB, added that programmatic marketplaces aren't really about what type of ad content is being sold, but about the process. He isn't surprised by the growing number of media companies shifting to automated buying.
"Adoption of these transactions and strategies will continue to grow in the coming year and the (IAB) Programmatic Council will continue its focus in these areas," he said.
Altimeter analyst Rebecca Lieb said that it was natural that publishers would want scalable and more efficient ways to purchase premium inventory, but cautioned that not everyone views programmatic as favorably as VMM does.
"As in the physical world, terming something premium implies there's a level of thought and manual attention that's almost antithetical to the concept of 'programmatic,'" she said. "Definitions of these terms vary, of course, but there's no doubt that 'premium programmatic' is a trend still in its very early stages of development."