AOL Intensifies Effort To Lure Advertisers From TV With New “Programmatic Upfront”

AOL and other web video providers showed with their NewFront presentations — timed to coincide with the TV networks’ upfronts in May — that they’re serious about trying to siphon ad dollars that typically go to broadcast and cable networks. Now AOL’s Tim Armstrong says he wants to take the next step by introducing the AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront on September 23, designed to become an annual event. The term “programmatic” refers to display ads that companies including Google and Yahoo sell in auctions, typically handled just by computers. The problem: “The online advertising industry has created a fear and chaos-based environment filled with hundreds of small companies each pitching highly technical necessities” for advertisers to reach audiences, Armstrong says in a blog post this morning. “They can’t shift their budgets from TV until we — as an industry — demonstrate the true power of digital to unlock creativity.” AOL’s “Programmatic Upfront” will feature marketers and agency execs explaining why advertisers should “pre-allocate media budgets against large scale display inventory,” he says. This market is growing fast: Advertisers are expected to spend $3.36B this year on real-time bidding, and eMarketer forecasts that it will grow to $8.49B in 2017, accounting for 29% of digital display spending.

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