Dilem Guler of Sweden's Expressen -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Dilem Guler of Sweden's Expressen -- The Jay Sears Interview

Continuing a recent series of interviews with global trading desk heads that culminated in his Six Advertising Automation Trends for Buyers and Sellers, Jay Sears, SVP at Rubicon Project, now hears from the sell side—leading publishers across the United States and Europe.

Today he speaks with Expressen, the Swedish evening newspaper, part of the Bonnier Group.

Your Name: Dilem Guler

Your Company: Expressen

Your Title: Head of Business Digital Web

SEARS: On average—out of each $1.00 of advertising revenue received by your company, how much today is from automated or programmatic channels?

GULER: We have only run RTB for two months so we cannot answer this question. But we are sure that RTB will stand for the largest part of our remnant sales very soon.

What will this number be two years from now, in 2015?

GULER: Hard to say but we believe that all remnant will go through RTB very soon.

SEARS: Describe how most media (all media, digital + non-digital, non-programmatic media) is sold by your company today.

GULER: Being a traditional media house all sales is done today by the sales department. We have not divided the teams into print or digital. We are one media house with one product so all sales personal shall be able to sell digital, print, mobile and creative. And in a couple of months all will be able to speak about programmatic sales as well.

SEARS: Tell us the about Expressen:

GULER: Expressen is part of Bonnier Group and was founded in 1944. Expressen is a classical liberal newspaper with our national edition (Expressen) but also local newspapers as GT in Gothenburg and Kvällsposten in Malmo. With a weekly unique visitors of around 3 million, Expressen is one of Sweden’s largest publishers.

PLEASE TELL US: [answer what you are able to answer.]

· How many employees do you have globally [headcount number]?

o GULER:Expressen is only located in Sweden and has around 500 employees.

SEARS: What are Expressen’s three biggest initiatives for 2014?


1. Data: we need to know much more about our visitors then we know today. This is important from a sales but also a content perspective. By knowing more, we can give our visitors a much more personalized experience and our advertisers a better return on investment.

2. Grow in reach and page impressions: While others are locking up their inventory behind pay walls, our strategy for 2014 will be to give our visitors more of what they want based on interest, historical behavioral and our own recommendations. We believe that our business model shall be increasing page views per unique rather than locking content in.

3. Video: Ad spend on TV in Sweden is right now around 6 billion SEK per year (approximately $930 million US Dollars), which gives us a big initiative to gain market share on this area. Both on news coverage and program productions.

SEARS: To reach a higher adoption of direct deal automation (also known as programmatic premium) and use of the programmatic channel, what are the major impediments to overcome? Rank these in numerical order:


__2_ Operational or workforce issues inside the holding companies or operating agencies

__6_ Premium (direct deal) inventory availability via programmatic

__5_ Lack of proper ad technology

__4_ Alignment of agency compensation models

__3_ Alignment of publisher compensation models

_1__ Other: ____lack of knowledge on the agency and advertiser side

GULER: Right now lack of knowledge on the buyer side is a big issue. Without knowing how to use data in their programmatic buys Programmatic premium on higher rate cards does not make sense. Right now a lot agencies are using RTB as a cheap way to buy retargeting impressions rather then seeing the opportunity to buy first look with data points.

SEARS: Tell us about your first party data strategy—do you currently have a DMP (data management platform) for your first party data?

GULER: Right now we are building our data strategy and will have this on place in Q2, so we have no DMP in place yet.

SEARS: Salesforce compensation. Do you compensate your salespeople for every dollar sold, regardless if the media is sold via insertion order (IO) manually or via an automated channel?

GULER: No we have not yet done this but are looking into a programmatic sales commission model.

SEARS: What advertising opportunities will never be sold via advertising automation?

GULER: Right now we have no plans on looking into automations on our creative sales.

SEARS: Why is direct deal automation (also known as programmatic premium) so important? Is it important?

GULER: For us programmatic premium is important from a strategic point. It gives the opportunity to use our first party data in an efficient way. But also to get the advertiser and agency to commit on yearly budgets which is something that we are not seeing that much of any longer. Our reach gives us the opportunity to do this and it is important to give the buyer an easy access to our premium inventory as well as our remnant.

SEARS: What global markets are the leaders and laggards in programmatic?

GULER: We are looking very much on the Dutch market, mainly because they are not as focused on remnant as in the UK.

Tell us a bit more about you:

SEARS: If you could travel for pleasure anywhere in the world, to a place you have never been, where would you go?

GULER: I would travel to Zanzibar, Madagascar or Kenya.

SEARS: If you were trapped alone on a desert island and needed to choose one ad holding company CEO to accompany you, which CEO would you pick and why?

GULER: Ok a very cheesy answer but I would choose Bengt Ottosson, who is the CEO of Expressen, just because we would have very much to talk about both on a professional and personal level.

SEARS: When is the last time you went out for a three martini lunch?

GULER: Just before I went on Christmas leave to celebrate a great 2013.

Thanks Dilem!

Jay Sears is Senior Vice President, Marketplace Development for the Rubicon Project. Sears worksJay Searswith leadership and business unit heads across the company to expand Rubicon Project’s potential market. Sears has also served as General Manager, REVV Buyer, where he was responsible for global relations with the buy side including ad holding companies, ad agencies, agency trading desks and demand side platforms headquartered in North America. Jay can be reached at jsears@rubiconproject.com.

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