The New York Times Co., Hearst, Tribune and Gannett have formed a private online ad exchange through which their remnant inventory will now be sold on a real-time, audience-driven basis. The firms will no longer offer inventory through other networks.
Branded “Q”, the exchange and its related services will be operated by quadrantONE, the joint venture ad network launched by the four publishers in 2008. Advertisers will be given direct access to inventory across all properties owned and operated by the companies – except for their flagship titles including NYTimes.com, USAToday.com and About.com – and invited to bid at an impression level for it based on audience data aggregated from the publishers themselves or from third party sources.
Following its launch, inventory from the four publishers will be only offered through a direct relationship, or through quadrantONE, and will not be available through networks. Networks will be permitted to purchase inventory from the exchange, however.
Though the venture is primarily designed to help publishers wring more revenue from their properties, the introduction of the exchange will also benefit marketers, according to quadrantONE CEO Mario Diez. “This is about providing efficiencies to the marketer. Premium publishers now have the technology to connect to them directly, and because of that the marketer will pay a little less as the middleman is no longer there,” he told ClickZ.
By replacing the presence of an ad exchange and data provider with its own platform, therefore, quadrantONE hopes to generate upside for both buy- and sell-side parties. The back-end for the exchange will be provided by publisher-side ad technology firm AdMeld.
All four companies will continue to sell as much inventory as possible through their own local sales teams, with the rest tipped into the exchange for quadrantONE to monetize. The volume of inventory running through it will therefore fluctuate, but Diez estimated his company will handle the sale of around 2 billion impressions a month. Prior to the launch of the exchange it was selling around 500 million impressions a month via the network model, he added.
“Both sides are evolving and starting to take back control,” Diez said, in reference to local publishers’ reliance on ad networks. “We have the technology now to do so,” he added.
Besides its four founding partners, quadrantONE also has ambitions to serve other third party publisher clients. “As demand grows our aim is to become the defacto standard exchange for premium local publishers,” Diez said.
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