“As long as we treat the publishers fairly, we think there’s a lot of value,” said Curt Hecht, president of the VivaKi Nerve Center, the Publicis unit that runs its trading desk operations. Hecht sees value for ad buyers, too, some of whom are concerned about losing control over placement. “We’ll bring in the brand marketers by giving them protection and guarantee around context,” Hecht said.
But many media companies have yet to fully embrace the idea. Even IDG, for instance, is playing it safe, withholding its own inventory from its new exchange and initially only using the exchange to sell space from its network of smaller partner sites. That could change if the results are positive, said Peter Longo, CEO of IDG’s networks unit, though for now, he added, its biggest advertisers are fine doing business the old-fashioned way.
At The Wall Street Journal, exchanges are still viewed as a threat. The publisher commands some of the highest CPMs online, and it’s been burned by ad networks that have made false promises of access to WSJ ad space. Mark Fishkin, head of digital sales at The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, said private exchanges still can’t guarantee that automated transactions won’t drive down the high rates its direct sales force gets.
“Our stance right now is we’re not participating,” Fishkin said. “We thank them for the opportunity.”