Long Ellis of Longview Media Consulting: The Ad Automation and Programmatic Confidantes

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Long Ellis of Longview Media Consulting: The Ad Automation and Programmatic Confidantes

In a series of conversations with the leading confidantes and consultants in the ad automation and programmatic area, Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project, discusses trends and issues of the day impacting advertisers and media owners. In this interview, he talks with Long Ellis, President of Longview Media Consulting. Ellis has worked for an array of TV networks, lead the television initiative with Google TV Ads, worked at Canoe Ventures and has also spent time in start-ups including Flurry and Alphonso.

JAY SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?

LONG ELLIS: I have gone from reading The New York Times cover to cover every morning on the train to a much quicker personal news update that I get on the Flipboard app. This way I can aggregate my information consumption across multiple publishers. Art and Culture are definitely lacking these days, however. Weekend movies and reading a few magazines like Outdoor Life, Men’s Journal and Mountain Living are all I have time for, I’m afraid.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?

ELLIS: The usual suspects like Facebook and Instagram. I am also part of a college e-mail chain where people who graduated in or near my class bring up things that they remember about you on your birthday each year. It has slowly morphed into a great way to stay in touch and lend support to people who need some assistance.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with the advertising technology industry?

ELLIS: Mediapost, Broadcasting & Cable, Cynopsis, Pando Daily, Business Insider, Ad Exchanger

SEARS: What’s your favorite commercial of all time?

ELLIS: So hard to pick one!

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation, what are the three biggest trends you expect to impact companies in 2016?


  1. New inventory yield optimization technologies that can handle the explosion of advanced audience targeting data   
  2. Marketplaces that do not attempt to optimize for the buyer (DSP) or the seller (SSP), but provide intelligence on both sides and a way to transact without there being a distinct advantage on one side or the other.
  3. A continuing trend towards arbitrage will change the way media is approached. Technology that facilitates arbitrage and futures trading will evolve. 

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation, what are the three most overblown topics that you wish would just go away?


  1. “What is the definition of programmatic TV”
  2. “When will linear TV become programmatic?”
  3. “Is TV dead?”

SEARS: Describe your firm and then tell us the three most common issues you help clients on with respect to advertising automation and programmatic trading.

ELLIS: Longview Media Consulting was created to help early and mid-stage start-ups develop sales and business development relationships, as well as create both sales and product strategies that will accelerate revenue growth.

Much of what I have worked on with my clients is finding the best positioning or functionality for their products and/or helping to identify the biggest opportunity in the marketplace for their solutions. Ironically, the founders of ad tech or media start-ups do not always know that much about media or the problems the marketplace is looking to solve. They are smart, but need an industry expert to take the company to the next level.

SEARS: Tell us about your firm.


SEARS: What are the most common issues you help clients with in regards to automation?


  1. How does a given functionality relate to how media was approached before automation?  Will it work given historical business practices and rules?
  2. Self-serve vs managed service:  Which is preferable for any given customer?
  3. Will both buyers and sellers benefit or is one optimizing against the other and therefore you can’t please both sides of the transaction. 

SEARS: The majority of ad technology companies have struggled. (They are relatively small, unprofitable or both.) Of the poor performers, what are the commonalities between them that have contributed to this weakness?

ELLIS: I think the two most significant challenges have been differentiating the capabilities of the product and reaching the necessary scale. There are lots of DSPs! Which one is the best? The marketplace makes early decisions and many are left in the dust unless they can come up with something unique. Without scale, there is no reason to use many of these platforms.

SEARS: A smaller handful of ad technology companies has achieved scale and performed better than the rest. What are the commonalities between them that have contributed to this relative strength?

ELLIS: They have concentrated on a particular aspect of media and have succeeded in staying ahead of their competition because of their intense focus. Being really good at one thing is much better than being average at many things. Early birds in a hot category can also obtain financing that will become more difficult for the companies that follow. Money helps scale the business more quickly.

SEARS: Do we live in a “tale of two cities” where Google and Facebook win almost everything, advertisers are dictated to and other media companies fight for the scraps?

ELLIS: Yes. The best solution is to innovate faster than they can and then be purchased by them.

SEARS: Please answer the following statements yes or no.


SEARS: If you could go to the airport right now with friends or family and fly anywhere in the world for vacation, who would you take and where would you go?

ELLIS: Me, my wife and three other couples on a one week sailing charter in the British Islands. 

SEARS: If you could create an endowment to fund any existing non-profit you designated, what lucky non-profit organization would that be?

ELLIS: Probably a full college scholarship for a student athlete.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

ELLIS: Trail Creek Cabin, Sun Valley, ID

SEARS: Thanks, Long!

Do you know a leading ad automation consultant in the ad automation and programmatic area advising advertisers and media companies that I should consider interviewing? Tell me!

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