The deals, which AOL has secured ahead of time for undisclosed
ad spending amounts, will take effect January 1, 2014.
The committed buyers – Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, LG Home Appliances, Accuen,
Amnet, Havas Media, Horizon Media and MagnaGlobal – will
have first dibs on AOL owned-and-operated inventory, such as the
TechCrunch and StyleList home pages, through AOL's automated buying
system AdLearn Open Platform.
The deals are said to be in the $10 million range for each
AOL's AdLearn Open Platform functions like a computerized
Priceline negotiator that places bids in real-time for advertisers
looking to post their brand messages in a given ad slot and
targeted to a specific audience. Those buys can span the desktop
and mobile web as well as tablet and smartphone apps and apply to
premium formats like AOL's oversized, rich-media banner Devil.
Advertisers and agencies who commit to the programmatic upfront
deals will have first dibs on AOL owned-and-operated inventory,
such as the TechCrunch and StyleList home pages, through AOL's
automated buying system. That means if a committed agency's
hypothetical florist client wanted to advertise on The Huffington
Post home page on Valentine's Day it would have the inside route to
that inventory and could squeeze any competitors who hadn't
committed to that inventory upfront. Any non-committed advertisers
are left to secondhand helpings of whatever remains available.
More upfront commitments may be on the way. DigitasLBi, Razorfish and VivaKi – AOL Networks CEO Bob Lord's
old stomping ground -- are considering AOL's programmatic pitch,
In short AOL has created a private marketplace, allotting
segments of its most prized inventory for a handful of media buyers
willing to commit an undisclosed spending amount, and dressed it up
as a signature event. The scene at Monday night's soiree resembled
a TV network's upfront presentation, albeit at a smaller scale but
with a similar backing track (Robin Thicke, Iconopop, etc.). There
was even a velvet rope lining advertiser and agency attendees
around a block in midtown Manhattan.
During the event AOL trotted out executives from the committed
agencies and their clients like Hyatt and Lenovo. Famed data
journalist Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight/ESPN also took the stage.