LiveRail’s Arnstein: Clients Now Executing Premium and Programmatic Sales Through Same Platform

YoavLiveRail are one of the companies who have been leading the charge on programmatic video advertising in the US for some time now. Positioned firmly on the sell-side, the company entered the European market earlier in the year and have wasted no time in making their presence felt across multiple markets. Here Yoav Arnstein, who will be delivering a keynote presentation at New Video Frontiers this Thursday, discusses LiveRails’s progress in Europe, brand trading desks, and the myths surrounding programmatic video.

How is LiveRail’s European launch coming along? Which markets are seeing you the mosts growth in?

We are seeing far greater demand in almost all European markets than what we anticipated when we entered the new space in the beginning of the year. As European publishers demonstrated in the past, they are embracing technology while also being innovative with the application of the platforms. We are seeing a unique approach coming from our European clients and are also receiving great input that will certainly help shape our roadmap moving forward in this market.

We are also experiencing a steep adoption curve for our ad serving product. Clients are recognising the inherent value in executing the premium sales and programmatic sales through the same platform. Unlike with display, this holistic approach to yield management is critical for video advertising being a more premium, brand driven vehicle that is commanding higher CPMs.

We do see an area of opportunity within the German market. Currently they are a bit more cautious with programmatic adoption. Having said that, we are seeing premium German publisher and sales houses carefully planning their foray into programmatic video and are impressed by the approach.

On the buy-side, people often talk about programmatic trading as something that enables brands to take buying in house.  Are you seeing ‘brand trading desks’ setting up direct deals with publishers?

That is a big YES. From a programmatic perspective, all premium clients that adopted LiveRail this year are using the platform to create private marketplace connections to trading desks via DSPs. The majority of these connections are RTB enabled. I foresee this trend continuing well in 2014 and am looking forward to working more closely with trading desks and their chosen buying platform to increase the ad spend and improve the pipes that enable that.

Additionally, from a buying platform perspective, we are seeing investment from leaders in the space to enable trading desks to easily execute on those connections. It’s great to see that business reality is dictating the development of the tech and not vice versa.

What does a good publisher data strategy look like?

Our experience shows that our European clients are actively engaged in applying data to their direct premium sales efforts as well as the programmatic side. I believe that premium publishers should only add data to private exchanges that allow for the needed control with regards to spend, CPM and the advertisers accessing the inventory. The less premium ones should naturally be more open to apply data across broader segments of inventory and advertisers.

How are publishers responding to measurement products like Nielsen OCR and ComScore VCE? 

We see a lot of interest in our integration with the Nielsen OCR tool. It seems that there is less pressure being applied on publishers in the UK market to deliver against OCR metrics, at least when compared with the US market.

If you could eliminate one myth about programmatic video advertising, what would it be?

I’d like to eliminate the myth that programmatic video advertising is putting an end to the practice of in-person interaction (we find excuses to meet, especially when drinks are involved). Client meetings are here to stay as there is always going to be a need for direct, face-to-face, relationships and programmatic is not going to take that traditional business practice away.

On a more serious note, I believe the number one thing for people to currently embrace is that programmatic video, at least for now, is still very different from programmatic display. On all levels, Technology, Standards, Formats, Automation levels and of course KPI & Price Points.

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