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Adapt or Die, Says Adap.tv in Streaming Media West Keynote

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Programmatic isn’t only for advertisers. That was one of the lessons from the Streaming Media West 2013 opening day keynote, delivered by Dan Ackerman, senior vice president at Adap.tv.

Addressing a packed ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, Ackerman exhorted the value of embracing data and future-proofing existing businesses.

Looking back at his history in television ad sales, Ackerman talked about the role in data revolutions that he witnessed firsthand: photography, shopping, news and information, music, and how we communicate with friends have all been completely transformed in the digital age. Now it’s time for television to undergo the same transformation.

Television hasn’t been impacted by the digital revolution just yet, Ackerman said. The programmatic future is less about the screen and more about the audience. It’s about the device used and monetizing views through personalized ads. It’s a new video market driven by technology that delivers efficient performance.

Surveying the Streaming Media West attendees, Ackerman found that around half had heard of programmatic, but far fewer had a good understanding of what it means.

“It’s a term that’s overused and often misunderstood,” Ackerman said. Programmatic means using technology, data, and automation to make smarter buying decisions. Companies like Amazon, Roku, and online travel sites have been there for the birth of automation and have thrived. On the other hand, household names like Barnes & Noble, Tower Records, Kodak, and Blockbuster didn’t adopt programmatic and are now either gone or suffering.

“If history has taught us anything, it is we need to adapt or die,” Ackerman said.

StreamingMedia.com editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen interviews Adap.tv's Dan Ackerman after Ackerman's keynote today at 
Streaming Media West in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The revolution coming to television started in the mid-2000s. In the last year, online video viewing grew by 32 percent, mobile video viewing was up by 26 percent, and time-shifted viewing was up 14 percent.

“So what does this all mean to me?” Ackerman asked. Is this just predictions? Is programmatic really making an impact? It’s a fact, he said, that automated ad buying is surging. Content companies need to follow suit in using data.

The lessons learned from this short history of data and programmatic are to embrace technology, data, and automation.

“Think about technology in different ways that embrace your business,” Ackerman said. “Automation doesn’t necessarily disintermediate people from the process.” Think about what you can do future-proof your business, he encouraged.

Following his address, Ackerman sat down for an interview with StreamingMedia.com editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, then answered questions from the audience.

Watch the full keynote address below.


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