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Programmatic buying will 'explode' through digital TV if Google or Facebook invests in content, predicts Vivaki global CEO Frank Voris

Programmatic buying will "explode" if one of the major digital publishers, like Google or Facebook, invests in TV content such as sporting rights, Frank Voris, global CEO of Vivaki has predicted.

Speaking to The Drum at Dmexco, Voris, who heads up the Publicis-owned internal digital activation agency, explained that while programmatic buying is evolving to include TV, especially in the US, the process needs the big digital publishers to invest in content to act "as a lightening rod" for advertisers.

"Digital TV and the like, as that rolls out and penetration gets deeper, you will see the lower inventory going first, like it did with display, longtail. The premium space is still going to be held by the owners and sold in an experiential way," he forecast on the future growth of programmatic buying.

"The longtail will go first and once we demonstrate the value to the owner, it'll rise up the food chain," he continued. "The thing that will make it go faster is if the digital publishers, media owners - the Googles, the Facebooks, the Yahoos of the world, - if they make a big content investment then it'll go extremely fast, like a lightening rod. If someone steps up, as it's been rumoured in the States that Google may buy some NFL rights, but if somebody buys a major athletic sporting rights from a digital side, I think the programmatic space will explode."

Asked why widespread content investment was yet to take place, Voris explained that it had taken time for video streaming technology to catch up, and now advertisers are beginning to realise that it is a space that can be efficient for both brands and publishers.

"From our perspective, we have our audience and we have got to make sure that they get relevant content because if they don't then we're wasting the eyeballs. The publishers on the other side say 'I've got to have content because I have got to have a reason for these people to come to my site.' They've started with user generated content, which is moving into professionally generated content, so it's just a matter of time before one of these big outfits makes an investment, and we all know that they are capable of the investment. It's when they prioritise to do it," he continued.

He also predicted that more dollars are likely to be seen flowing into the traditional digital space as more marketers aim to target the growing consumer audience online.

"It's going to be about where is the right place to find the consumer? Whether it's brand awareness, a reach play on TV or if it's a specific audience that's bought programmatically. It continues to evolve."

Voris also highlighted the industry's evolution as it comes to terms with operating in a mobile environment, which doesn't use cookies.

"The Twitter/MoPub hookup is very exciting because it's going to allow us to take data that is clearly opt-in," he stated. "A user ID has a longer shelf-life than a cookie, so we are going to be able to generate longer-life content that we're starting to call 'Intent graph'. There's a 'social graph' and now 'Intent graph', so we're going to be able to know things about the individuals and their movie likes, music likes and whether they are a runner who goes through a pair of shoes a month. Then we'll send them an ad once a month and let them push purchase their shoes online.

"That's marketing expanding from just utilities and services. It's how do I take the friction out of the transaction to generate more results for the client?" Voris concluded.

Google has been rumoured in recent weeks to be talking to the NFL about buying the rights to its subscription TV service, although no confirmation has been forthcoming over negotiations.

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