Ad Tech Companies Band Together to Form New Coalition

MediaMath, Turn, DataXu, AdMeld, PubMatic, Rubicon Project create common online ad buying platform

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A group of advertising technology companies have banded together to create a common platform for bidding on digital advertising, Ad Age has learned.

The group, which calls itself OpenRTB, includes MediaMath, Turn and DataXu, which help advertisers and agencies buy online ad inventory on networks and exchanges, and AdMeld, PubMatic and Rubicon Project, a set of companies that helps publishers sell their inventory in an open bidding process.

Sometimes called "demand-side platforms," or DSPs, companies like MediaMath and Turn work with ad-buying agencies to more efficiently bid on ad inventory across a multitude of ad networks and online exchanges, as well as directly on certain major publishers such as Gannett. They offer a more streamlined buying dashboard that can readily plug into the varied and various sources of ad inventory.

Increasingly, however, such DSPs are having to tap into what are sometimes called real-time bidding (RTB) platforms, which represent the publishers' side of the ad-buying equation. Companies like AdMeld offer a publisher's page views in a bidding environment to ad-buying agencies, thereby driving prices up.

For publishers, marrying the DSPs to the RTB platforms will mean more more potential buyers with access to their inventory; for agencies or marketers that buy online ad impressions, this coalition means more inventory at their fingertips. The end result is more liquidity and, the participants hope, efficiency.

"It makes sense to do this to create more efficiencies," said Michael Barrett, CEO of AdMeld.

The emergence of a single standard around how both DSPs and RTBs communicate in the ad-buying process underscores the fact that more and more publishers and ad buyers are transacting on these platforms.

Traditionally, web publishers have operated at the behest of ad networks that bought page views at around a $1 for every thousand or less, and, in turn, sold them for a slightly higher profit margin to agencies and sometimes even other ad networks in what has become an increasingly opaque arbitrage economy. The emergence of both RTBs and DSPs have signaled a balance in power back to either end of the ad buying ecosystem.

Google bought DSP company Invite Media this past summer for an undisclosed sum. Invite Media is not a member of this new consortium, according to people with knowledge of the coalition, but its participation has not been ruled out.

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