Hulu to Launch Programmatic Ad Buying

Facebook's LiveRail to Power OTT Provider’s Exchange
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Labeling it the “next evolution” of its ad-sales process, OTT-TV hub Hulu said it will launch a programmatic platform for marketers this fall that will be powered by LiveRail, the ad-tech company that Facebook acquired last year.

The approach, which brings more automation and data-driven modeling to the ad-buying process, “makes Hulu’s premium video inventory across all platforms including desktop, mobile and connected TV’s in the living room available in programmatic offering for the first time,” Hulu said in a blog post.  “By combining media automation with data-informed targeting, Hulu is leading the way to deliver the right advertisement to the right person at the right time.”

Hulu’s programmatic system will tap into the Oracle Data Management Platform (DMP), part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, and the aforementioned LiveRail-powered Video Private Exchange (VPX), enabling Hulu to execute direct deals with advertisers programmatically

Hulu said this combo will give marketers more control, allowing them to deepen their targeting, and tweak and adjust campaigns in real-time.

“The marketplace has shown that data is overwhelmingly the new currency,” Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising at Hulu, said in a statement. “With this new offering, Hulu is at the forefront of defining ‘programmatic’ for the digital video ecosystem and will increase efficiency and ROI for marketers.”

Agency execs, including Vin Paolozzi, SVP of marketplace development & investment for Magna Global; and Dani Benowitz, EVP and managing partner of integrated investments for UM, also weighed in support for Hulu’s programmatic strategy.

Hulu’s ad-tech also come as it pursues a variety of distribution strategies. Of note, Hulu now offers Showtime’s new standalone service in a bundle, and has distribution deals in place with several MVPDs and ISPs, including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest (WOW!).

Hulu has also considered an advertising-free version of the multiscreen OTT service that would sell for $12 to $14 per month, putting it in more direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, The Wall Street Journal  reported last month.