Time Inc. caused a stir this week when it announced that it added print ad buying options to its digital programmatic marketplace. Media buyers can now buy print ads against various audience segments across Time Inc. magazines at the same time they're purchasing digital ads.
Print ads bought through a digital marketplace? The notion challenges everything about the traditional print sales process—especially relationship selling, selling a "brand" and proving engagement. But these days, anything labeled traditional is fair game for disruption.
Folio: spoke with Andy Blau, senior vice president and group general manager of ad sales at Time Inc., for more details on how print programmatic actually gets an ad from a demand-side platform to the printed page.
As media buyers browse Time Inc.'s private ad exchange, they now see a new "print" tab that leads to a selection of audience segments across 18 Time Inc. print brands—weekly and monthly. MediaMath, a digital marketing and technology provider, is providing the platform support.
There are six different audience segments of sizes ranging from 5 million to 89 million readers: women, men, lifestyle, luxury, business/finance and rapid scale—a segment that includes the weeklies and offers a quicker brand messaging option to 10-89 million readers.
Importantly, buyers are not selecting specific brands—they're buying audiences. "You're not picking each title, you're buying audience and Time Inc. picks the brands after that," says Blau.
Pricing is CPM-based and modeled straight off an open page rate. For example, a full-page, four-color open rate in People is $340,900. "On an audience CPM basis, that translates to an audience of 42.6 million adults at an $8.12 CPM," says Blau.
However, this is a private marketplace, after all. And just as rate card rates are negotiable, so are the CPMs. "It's the posted rate, there's room to negotiate," says Blau. "We start at the open rate and go from there."
Once that rate is settled, the buyer simply clicks on a link to upload the creative, which is collected into Time Inc.'s ad portal and routed exactly as it would be through a standard insertion order.
Does this cut the sales rep out of the process? Yes and no. Reps are trained to sell programmatic, too, and Blau says that they don't mind whether the deal is closed face-to-face or in front of a monitor.
"We asked [the reps] to go out to the market place and provide that option if the buyer prefers to transact that way. Our sales people are indifferent to whether that happens through an insertion order or programatically. They get incentivized either way."