Comcast's advertising sales division, Comcast Spotlight, and programmatic technology provider Rubicon Project are working together to allow marketers to buy display ads programmatically across XFINITY.com and xfinityTV.com.
Rubicon Project's Advertising Automation Cloud will allow brands to bid in real time for display ad inventory on the cable giant's two websites, gaining access to Comcast's 20 million subscribers, starting today. The platform will allow for both an open exchange and a private exchange for select advertisers.
"The overlying need is that the advertising community is certainly looking for more efficient ways to purchase ad inventory, and particularly display inventory," said Tom Straszewski, Comcast's vp of interactive sales. "It was important for Comcast to partner with the leading company that addresses interest in the automation need."
Straszewski added that Comcast Spotlight employees will still maintain direct selling efforts, but if there is an ad that is not sold by its team, then it will be made available on the RTB platform.
"Comcast is utilizing programmatic or automation now for their display ads in a more efficient manner," Greg Raifman, president of Rubicon Project, said.
While the roll-out only applies to display ad inventory across the two websites, Comcast hopes to expand the offerings to programmatic mobile ad sales in the future. Straszewski said that Comcast has noticed that traffic via other devices besides desktop computers trying to access Xfininty.com and XfinityTV.com has increased.
"Really the focus is to do display very well and then decide what comes next after this relationship matures," he said.
ABC has also opened some of its digital inventory to programmatic sales. AOL's ad buying platform Adapt.TV and Comcast's online video advertising company FreeWheel partnered to offer automated ad sales, and the platform will be used to power ABC's digital video offerings.