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Guardian launches private video ad marketplace to drive programmatic trading

Guardian News and Media (GNM) has launched a private video ad marketplace following a tie-up with AOL-owned Atap.tv, as it looks to drive its programmatic trading revenues.

The publisher is working with global programmatic video ad platform Adap.tv, which was bought by AOL Networks for $405m (£246m) last year.

The move will see GNM sell video inventory to selected trading desks, the specific names of which it will not yet reveal, via the marketplace with the view to further monetising its video content across global markets by bolstering the revenues derived from programmatic trading.

The deal, which is understood to include its mobile portfolio, marks a major step in the publisher's video ad programmatic strategy, having begun trading programmatically for its display inventory four years ago.

GNM revenue director Tim Gentry said: “Our clear commercial vision means that we are committed to our advertising model and making sure it works for all parties. As a result, advertisers find it highly compelling. We have always been fairly ‘brave’ around programmatic trading, adopting it from the early days in the belief that it offers advantages of ease and efficiency for buyers and sellers. Introducing a private marketplace for video with Adap.tv was the next logical step.”

Adap.tv Europe managing director Brian Fitzpatrick described the Guardian as a "programmatic pioneer", having embraced this way of trading for display advertising for several years.”

“As the brand continues to expand its global footprint, making video inventory available programmatically via a private marketplace will provide access to new revenues while maintaining full control of buyers and pricing,” he added.

The gradual eroding of online page yields in the publishing world in the last few years, has led several publishers to adopt private marketplaces for inventory, letting them maintain control of their own page yields and counter plummeting cost-per-milles (CPMs).

Last August News Corp revealed plans to launch its own global ad exchange, letting advertisers buy inventory across its online and mobile portfolios for brands including The Sun, and The Times.

At the time the news triggered comments from AOP chair John Barnes, who told The Drum that publishers should follow in News Corp’s footsteps and embrace private exchanges with the view to wrestling back control of digital ad trading.

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