A recurring qualm about the first round of dealmaking with Netflix was its rush to sell before installing an internal advertising team. The company now boasts well-regarded leadership in Jeremi Gorman, president of worldwide advertising, and Peter Naylor, VP of advertising sales. But multiple agency buyers told Ad Age they are still in talks with Microsoft, Netflix’s ad tech partner, and have yet to interact with Netflix’s in-house team.
“We need to see a Netflix sales team selling it—that was a huge part of the [early] disconnect,” said a second agency buyer.
Xandr, Microsoft’s ad tech platform tasked with building Netflix’s ad tier, led the initial round of sales. The buyer attributed discord in early dealings to Xandr’s inexperience in TV sales, as well as a seeming disconnect between the company and Netflix.
“Netflix wanted to keep it in house, but they partnered with Microsoft and didn't realize, ‘Oh, they're not just our tech platform. We have to tell them things,’” said the buyer.
The first buyer also confirmed their Netflix negotiations have been done through Microsoft, putting the duty of “actually trying to really nurture that relationship and build the trust” with the streamer on the agency’s shoulders.
“In partnership with Microsoft, we will continue to build a forever global advertising business to deliver impactful results to meet our clients' objectives,” said a Netflix spokesperson.
While Microsoft has acted as Netflix’s global sales force, Netflix has been building out its internal team. Starting in January, it brought in sales executives from the likes of Twitter, Disney, TikTok and YouTube.