The ad tech world recoils at the notion that the move to automated ad systems means replacing humans with robots. But that prospect doesn’t mean there won’t be some bare-knuckles competition.

A sign of things to come is unfolding in the Netherlands, where the largest Dutch morning newspaper De Telegraaf makes its salespeople compete directly with programmatic channels, and it factors things like salaries and other overheads into its ad decisions. This is yield management taken to the extreme. If the paper can make more money selling ads through exchanges or other programmatic deals for a $4 CPM than it does from direct deals for $8, it’ll do that instead. As the philosopher Rasheed Wallace might put it: Data don’t lie.

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