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AOP in talks with UK publishers to pool inventory for private marketplace launch

The Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is in talks with publishers over the feasibility of pooling inventory to create an aggregated private marketplace – a first for the UK.

The move would mean that an advertiser could book programmatically-traded ad campaigns via a centralised system, which would then run across the online platforms of the participating publishers.

The collaboration marks the first time UK publishers have come together with the view to pooling inventory to provide the necessary scale for a private marketplace.

The Drum understands the plan is to emulate the model already used in France which launched its first premium publisher exchange group – La Place Media – in 2012.

The independent entity is owned by Lagardere Publicité, TF1 Publicité, Amaury Medias and Figaro Medias, and was later joined by 20minutes, aufeminin.com, Boursorama, La Dépêche, Doctissimo, Marie-Claire, Sud Ouest, and France Télévision.

Details regarding which UK publishers and vendors will be involved are yet to be confirmed, as talks are ongoing, but will be a mix of very large and smaller media owners. Pitches from vendors are understood to be still underway.

AOP executive chairman Tim Faircliff confirmed that the trade body is working with its member publishers and UK vendors to create the marketplace.

He said the “high quality marketplace” will enable agencies and buyers to target desired audience segments “easily and efficiently” within brand-safe and respected content environments.

“In its role as an industry association, the AOP, amongst other things, helps publishers explore many different business models and opportunities. Discussions around this marketplace are still very much on going, but the AOP is fully confident that with the right planning and consultations, it will break new ground and bring unrivalled benefits to the UK publishing sector,” he said.

The issue of brand safety in the open exchange environment has been a barrier for some advertisers, due to the fact that it has at times times led to ads inadvertently cropping up on either fraudulent sites, or against content inappropriate for their brands.

However, until now not all publishers have had the scale to create their own private marketplace, given the effectiveness of programmatically-traded campaigns is partly due to the volume of inventory that can run via open exchanges. This development would see UK publishers combine their premium inventory to provide the scale necessary to make the buy compelling for advertisers.

It's understood the group exchange will be able to cater for display and video ad formats.

Jessica Davies

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