The Ozone Project, the UK media's programmatic advertising network, has appointed Danny Spears from The Guardian News and Media to lead publisher development at the platform tooled to take back spend from the digital duopoly.
The former programmatic director at The Guardian is tasked with managing customer relations, aiding clients using the platform and helping them deliver growth at Ozone Project. In the role, he will also be responsible for attracting new clients into the ecosystem.
Spears brings 15 years of media experience, most recently handling The Guardian’s global programmatic and ad tech strategies – a vital money-maker while the title aggressively pursued profit. He was previously head of Guardian+.
The UK publisher programmatic network touts its transparency, brand safety and 'premium content across News UK, Guardian News & Media, The Telegraph and Reach properties.
Spears told The Drum that he will be charged with solving challenges for publishers. "Development of the Ozone Platform has been driven by the need for publishers to align around common, trusted and transparent technology infrastructure in a market which is otherwise dominated by intermediaries/platforms. Our platform puts control back in the hands of the publisher – helping them to regain control over their business decisioning, audience data and business intelligence."
He'll be engaging with partners and potential partners on a daily basis to make sure the platform is fit for purpose. "I’ll be using this customer insight to drive the development of the Ozone Platform product to ensure that we’re demonstrating tangible incremental ROI to our publishing stakeholders. My responsibilities will also include attracting new publishers and managing the commercial, product and analytics aspects of the platform."
Spears has noted the rise of programmatic advertising and the questions that have emerged around its rapid deployment. He said: "Over this period publishers have lost control of their media and data assets to external interests, negatively impacting advertiser ROI and publisher monetisation. Ozone aims to put control back in the hands of the publisher; delivering incremental revenue/improved ROI by re-establishing their sovereignty over their business decisioning, audience data and business intelligence.
“I’m excited by the opportunity that Ozone presents for me to represent a wider and diverse group of publisher interests – and by the role Ozone will play in catalysing market-level change. It is a natural evolution of my work, and interest, over the past five years and keeps me close to the businesses of journalism and content-creation.”
Jointly owned by publishers, The Ozone Project is an audience platform that allows brands direct and transparent access to 42 million UK consumers, more than Facebook it says. It aims to build a credible alternative to the duopoly and hand control back to publishers, unlocking potential new revenue from advertisers.
Spears concluded: "Our key differentiator is the fact that we offer quality, trusted environments, a unique first-party data set and complete transparency."
Damon Reeve, chief executive officer, The Ozone Project, said: “Our ambition with The Ozone Project is to unlock unrealised potential for publishers through better use of technology and data, and new revenue streams by providing advertisers with a single sales point for digital advertising inventory. We’re very excited that Danny has joined the team to help us work better with the existing partners and lead on bringing more publishers on board.”
The group was initially launched by News UK, The Guardian News and Media and The Telegraph in June 2018. It came as brands were questioning the value and transparency of the digital advertising ecosystem, Ozone promised a "fraud-free" environment.
At launch, it promised access to 39.4 million unique users. With the later addition of Reach's holdings in September 2018, it claimed to reach to 42.5 million British consumers, which it said was on par with Facebook's.