“Future of programmatic industry lies in smart TVs”, says former BSkyB’s Joel Christie as he joins Rocket Fuel as UK client strategy director

The future of programmatic trading lies in smart TVs, according to former BSkyB’s online marketing controller Joel Christie, who has now joined Rocket Fuel as UK client strategy director.

Christie, who had been at the pay-TV operator for four years during which time he led the display and programmatic proposition, will now head up Rocket Fuel’s client-direct team, focusing on helping brand clients unlock their data and tap into the swathe of opportunities in the programmatic trading market.

Speaking to The Drum, Christie said the programmatic market has evolved fast, with brands such as BSkyB increasingly shifting spend from traditional display to real-time-bidding.

However, he said that he believed there were still several “stumbling blocks” to overcome before the true potential of programmatic can be reached, and that requires further education on the subject.

“As an industry we need to start talking to advertisers and educating them on the programmatic concept, allowing them to understand the various aspects and options they have in advertising and therefore allow them to deliver more effectively ads in terms of creativity,” he explained.

Christie added that programmatic buying remains a hot topic that “continues to divide” the advertising industry, despite being a healthy part of the market.

“Programmatic buying has already done a lot for the industry in terms of opening it up and making it clear that the market is very data driven. It is helping us to use technology to make sense of, optimise and analyse data at a more efficient rate than ever before. Everything is now happening instantly and we are able to act quicker and get better results within days, not months,” he said.

Christie added that 2014 would be the year in which programmatic branding comes into fruition, as marketers increasingly understand the power of programmatic in driving branding objectives.

Programmatic trading has already expanded from online display, to video, social media and now mobile trading, but that in time it will extend to smart TVs – an area Christie believes is the “missing piece” of the programmatic landscape.

“Smart TV is going to enable programmatic buying across the TV platform and this is where the future lies for the industry. This will allow for better brand opportunities, better insight and full screen solutions – a move that will change the industry forever.

“Technology is at the heart of all digital advertising success. Speed, intelligence and real-time optimisation have been proven to generate enormous improvements in campaign results, and those media buyers that have faced their demons and embraced the best technology on the market have earned a major competitive advantage.

The Drum understands Christie will not be directly replaced at BSkyB but that his responsibilities will be absorbed across the existing team.

As part of Rocket Fuel’s growing focus on client direct services, it has also hired Alex Geddes as head of Travel, Technology & Telecoms, Kate Humphrey as head of finance sector, Nigel D’Cruze as head of auto sector, and Michael Sharman as head of FMCG & retail.

Christie’s comments come as The Drum gears up for the launch of its first ever Digital Trading Awards, created to reward transparency and clarity in the digital trading ecosystem. The deadline for entries is 6 February.

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