Rubicon Project and Telaria Merge; Opportunities for 2020; Brand Safety Tags Slow Publisher Sites
Rubicon Project and Telaria, two advertising technology companies that provide solutions to publishers, are merging to compete with tech giants such as Google. The merger will create a company with a revenue of $217M. The current Rubicon President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Barrett will lead the new company while Mark Zagorski, current CEO of Telaria will become the President and COO.
Streaming TV will become the focus for the new entity since more people are spending an increasing amount of time watching video and connected TVs. According to Magna, streaming video ads on TV is predicted to rise to $4.4 billion in 2020 from $3.4 billion last year in the U.S.
The shifts taking place in the advertising industry are primarily focused on privacy regulations and the result of fierce competition amongst the tech giants. Some of these challenges can be opportunities for publishers and advertisers.
1) 5G – Everyone is excited about 5G speeding up the internet but for publishers, any latency in ads will become more apparent with faster internet speeds.
2) Commerce companies may compete with publishers for ad dollars. Commerce companies have strong relationships with their users, have many loyal users, and also hold a lot of data, which will provide value for advertisers. This new competition will include commerce companies like Walmart and Target but also less-traditional companies like Uber and Starbucks.
3) Publishers will offer free subscriptions that will, in turn, provide valuable first-party data. Through the freemium model, publishers will better understand user behaviors and preferences to personalize experiences and better monetize.
The brand safety solutions and tags that are considered crucial to the industry are coming at a high cost – they have been slowing publisher sites and affecting revenue, says ad tech consultancy firm RedBud and the Association of Online Publishers.
RedBud analyzed 128 live campaigns from April through September across 11 sites. They found that the latency caused by keyword blocking ranged between 2 to 4 seconds. The lags also caused some ads not to load which caused a conflict in impressions the publisher served versus what the advertiser qualifies as having loaded.
“The challenge we have is that we don’t get visibility of the full extent of this, it’s a bit of a silent assassin,” said an anonymous publishing executive.
Publishers have seen ad dollars go to Facebook and Google over the years and are looking at 2020 as the year these tables turn so that the tech giants begin paying for the content. Executives are starting to see some of the tech industry beginning to pay for news.
“It’s a positive trend we’re seeing from the platforms,” said Ben Smith, BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief. Recently, Facebook launched a news section that paid for articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, and many others. In fact, some publishers are receiving between $1m to $3m/per year and many publishers would like to capitalize on this new trend.