Top Publishers Invest in Programmatic Buying

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Premium publishers go programmatic.
Premium publishers go programmatic.

A venture capital group led by Time Warner Invesments and including Conde Nast today announced $5 million in funding for iSocket, a technology that uses sales automation and programmatic buying tools to simplify the buying and selling of fixed-price, premium ad inventory.

Some $14 billion worth of digital media was bought direct from publishers in 2013, according to Time Warner Investments, and almost all of it was executed manually via spreadsheet proposals, insertion orders, emails, and faxes. The average direct media sale can take as many as 50 steps and a dozen people to complete.

"Today the majority of display, mobile, and video advertising spend goes to premium inventory that is sold directly, at guaranteed fixed prices," said Time Warner Investments SVP Rachel Lam in a statement. "As one of the first innovators in this premium, direct-sold segment, iSocket is uniquely positioned to help advertisers and publishers automate this process."

iSocket's iFA media buying tool allows direct buyers and their agencies to browse a publisher catalog and buy well-defined, reserved inventory directly from publishers such as Microsoft, Reuters, and Forbes, as well as Time Warner and Conde Nast.

"Conde Nast is pleased to support a platform that helps our premium advertising partners seamlessly enter the world of programmatic buying," said Alanna Gombert, general manager of CatalystDesk, Conde Nast's programmatic buying group.

The investment group backing iSocket also included Vivi Nevo and R&R Venture Partners, a fund created by Estee Lauder chief Ronald Lauder and ex-Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons.

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