Inside Disney's Plan To Automate Half Its Ad Business Within Five Years
Comment of the Day

March 16 2021

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Inside Disney's Plan To Automate Half Its Ad Business Within Five Years

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Disney is courting two sets of advertisers with its platform approach. Linear TV buyers will be able to buy across new formats more easily and with greater granularity, while programmatic buyers will finally be able to see and bid on all of Disney’s inventory.

Building its own ad tech is a key part of Disney’s strategy. A video ad server “pressure-tested” at Hulu will be extended across the rest of Disney's video inventory. The muscle behind its tech is a 500-person engineering and product team led by Jeremy Helfand, previously Hulu’s VP and head of advertising platforms. The team already built the video ad server and the video header bidding solution that allows programmatic buyers to compete for every Disney ad impression. 

The team came about last year, when Disney merged all of its Hulu and Disney ad tech talent and products into a single, centralized team. All in, Disney said it’s making a “nine-figure” investment in its ad platform.

Eoin Treacy's view

Google’s announcement that it is shutting down the tracking of user activity across websites is going to cause ructions for many companies that rely on that data to target the ads they buy. It also hands greater control to the owners of data pools who now have greater heft in selling access to potential ad buyers.

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