FreeWheel and A+E Networks pilot unified ad decisioning engine

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019
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FreeWheel and A+E Networks Partner to Pilot Unified Video Ad Management Platform Across Direct Sold and Programmatic Demand

  • New technology innovation ensures TV-level compliance and quality viewer experience across direct and programmatic marketplace buys
  • Offers advertisers control and transparency across all buying channels

NEW YORK — Today, FreeWheel, a Comcast Company (Nasdaq: CMCSA), announced its partnership with A+E Networks, a global content company comprised of some of the most popular and culturally relevant brands in media including A&E®, Lifetime® and HISTORY®, to pilot their unified ad decisioning engine that will allow buyers and sellers to seamlessly transact across both direct sold and programmatic, marketplace-generated advertising demand.

What this means: Typically, a video publisher uses one tech platform to manage and schedule its direct sold inventory, and another tech platform, or an SSP, to manage its programmatic demand from open exchanges and DSPs. This has led to clashes and conflicts between the two sales channels – resulting in pricing conflicts, TV-compliance issues and negative user experience impacts. FreeWheel’s unified decision engine allows A+E Networks to holistically consider the full pool of demand, including direct sold buys, and optimize across all business rules and requirements. This is important because a video ad decision cannot be determined solely on the highest bid price. An effective video ad decision must also consider TV-level compliance parameters, such as competitive and category separation requirements and user experience considerations, such as ad repetition and relevance.

“Holistic decisioning across sales channels helps buyers, sellers and the industry as a whole by reducing marketplace friction,” said Dave Clark, General Manager of FreeWheel. “Our pioneering work with A+E Networks focuses on uniting their various video sales channels to help them make the best choices for all advertisers, regardless of how the ads are purchased. This work parallels and enhances FreeWheel’s overarching efforts to offer holistic, cross-screen ad management across all video, from digital and OTT, to linear TV.”

“We are focused on two key priorities: creating and maintaining a viewer experience that leads to loyalty within our consumers, and delivering an optimal ad experience for our advertising clients and partners,” said Jason DeMarco, VP, Programmatic and Audience Solutions, A+E Networks. “FreeWheel’s Unified Ad Management allows A+E Networks to maximize both of these efforts within our digital footprint by improving ad frequency and combining the benefits of programmatic buying with the assurances of compliance and standards of quality.”

A+E Networks’ efforts with FreeWheel on unified ad management adds to the network’s track record of innovation for its advertisers. A+E Networks was one of the first media companies to embrace programmatic platforms in an effort to offer greater addressability and accessibility to advertisers. In addition, in last year’s TV upfront season, A+E used audience-based buying to guarantee business outcomes. This pilot is designed to expand upon that by supporting programmatic guaranteed buys.

FreeWheel plans to expand its unified programmatic pilot program to other clients throughout 2019.