Dish launches programmatic ad exchange for linear TV

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) announced pay-TV's first programmatic ad exchange for linear television.

The satellite TV company said it's conducting a beta trial of its new programmatic service with three demand-side platforms that specialize in delivering programmatic advertising on digital platforms: DataXu, Rocket Fuel and TubeMogul.

"Instead of being on a banner or somewhere below the fold, advertisers can now see their commercials play out on a 60-inch screen in the living room," said Adam Gaynor, VP of Dish Media Sales.

While pay-TV operators like Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) are just now making moves into advanced advertising services, Dish Network has monetized its set-top data since 2012, when it licensed that information to Rentrak in exchange for 7 percent of the company.

According to Gaynor, Dish Media Sales handles about 6 million 30-second spots a year, based on inventory set aside for the operator by the programming networks it carries. The company's new programmatic marketplace, he said, will carve up Dish's inventory into many more individual impressions that will be delivered in the same automated, highly targeted way that digital advertising is now commonly sold. 

"We're not changing the inventory we're using, we're just selling it more efficiently and selling it to a market that traditionally doesn't buy television -- digital buyers," Gaynor said.

To precisely target impressions, Gaynor said Dish is using its own set-top data, as well as data from third-party sources like Acxiom and Experian. "Because we have a pipe into the home, we know our subscribers," he explained.

The service will initially focus on impressions delivered through Dish's core satellite TV service, Gaynor said, but could expand to services like Sling TV over time. 

Dish's new approach to the TV ad market "is really changing the way TV [advertising] is purchased," he added. "We sort of morph from being a TV sales department to a sales department."

For more:
- read this Dish Network press release

Related articles:
Comcast reportedly in talks to sell set-top data
Cablevision confirms addressable advertising deal with Disney/ESPN
Dish Network gets 7% stake in Rentrak in exchange for exclusive set-top data

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