That’s Collective Media CEO Joe Apprendi’s argument. Collective Media is a top-15 ad network that sells inventory for Tribune, Gannett, Reader’s Digest and the New York Times. It also just acquired ad targeting startup Personifi for a low eight-figure sum. Apprendi’s view:
I think some publishers believe that because of lighter online advertising demand, they think that ad networks are stealing share from their direct sales forces. The way to neutralize that is to say that you won’t do any business with an ad network, or at least not any ad network.
Guess what? The publishers are at least partly right — ad networks are growing much faster than direct-to-publisher sales. But Apprendi argues that fighting that is like fighting gravity. For starters, publishers need networks’ help — because at any given time, he says, about 50% of publishers’ ad inventory sits unsold. And since media buyers have now embraced ad networks in addition to direct publisher buys, it’s way too late to exclude the networks now.
Is Apprendi’s argument self-serving? You bet. But it also has the ring of truth to us, and we think that many of the publishers who are publicly critcizing ad networks think so to — that’s why many of them are creating ad networks of their own.
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