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February 10, 2015, Article

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MediaPost: Fit To Print: Target Buys Time Print Ads Via Programmatic

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Programmatic ad technologies just infiltrated the last unconquered industry: print.

Time Inc. on Tuesday announced a partnership with MediaMath, a demand-side platform (DSP), that will see print audience segments be made available for programmatic buying. The trades are carried out via “programatic direct” — i.e. a combination of direct-with-publisher trading tactics and automation — and are not executed via real-time bidding (RTB) auctions.

Target, one of the largest retailers in the country, is the first company to buy print ads using this programmatic technology. Target executed the multi-title print ad campaign in collaboration with its media agency, Haworth. Time Inc. is also home to other publications including People, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple and others.

Time, Target, and many other brands and publishers have used programmatic tech for digital advertising, but Time claims this marks the first time print advertising has been traded via programmatic.

“We’ve seen growing demand from our ad partners for a more automated and efficient process across the board, and that extends to print,” stated Mark Ford, executive vice president of global advertising, at Time. “We view this as a natural evolution of how we conduct business with our advertisers, and allows them scalable, turnkey access to engaged audiences across our brands, regardless of the platform.

“Our programmatic print offering is a powerful complement to the way digital advertisers are currently buying, while providing audience segments that are consistent across both print and digital,” Ford continued.

Marketers have been clamoring for the ability to buy the same audiences across multiple screens for some time, but rarely is print advertising included in the discussion, at least as it relates to the application of ad tech. Programmatic ad platforms and publishers alike have been partnering with media measurement firms such as Nielsen and comScore to validate audiences across disparate screens and platforms — most recently including television — and the inclusion of print takes things to the next level.

Target, and other ad-buyers, will be able to target Time’s print audiences across display, as well. The post-campaign measurement will be powered by AdMeasure, per a release.

“It’s going to help us engage our guests across print much more effectively and provide, for the first time, measurement across all platforms,” stated Kristi Argyilan, senior vice president, media and guest engagement, Target. “As the market moves increasingly to programmatic buying, this is an important step forward.”

Time has made multiple print audience segments, including Women, Men, Lifestyle, Luxury, Business/Finance and Rapid Scale, available for purchase via MediaMath’s ad platform.

This is not the first time Time has pushed the boundaries as it relates to traditional print publishing. Last year, for example, Time played with “native” advertising on its print magazine, which caused a stir in the ad industry because the ad appeared on the cover.

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