Programmatic in the USA: Brian Gleason of WPP’s Xaxis -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Programmatic in the USA: Brian Gleason of WPP’s Xaxis -- The Jay Sears Interview

This is the second in a series of interviews with leading buyers titled “Programmatic in the USA.” The conversation will continue at “The 6th Annual Agency Trading Desk Update: Automating the Rest of It” during Advertising Week New York on Wednesday, October 1st at 9:00am at the Liberty Theater, 234 West 42nd Street, New York City (between 7th & 8th Avenues). To RSVP go please go here.

Your Name: Brian Gleason

Your Company: Xaxis

Your Title: Managing Director, North America

SEARS: Where do you read your daily news?

GLEASON: I watch the morning news while I work out (local). Online for trade/business press. Love print for planes (magazine trades and enthusiast pubs).

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

GLEASON: Mean Joe Green Coke Commercial

SEARS: What is the mission statement of Xaxis?

GLEASON: Xaxis is a global digital media platform that programmatically connects advertisers and publishers to audiences across all addressable channels. Xaxis combines proprietary technology, unique data assets and exclusive media relationships with the brightest team of audience analysts, data scientists and software engineers.

SEARS: Please tell us :

SEARS: Overall United States managed budget (media spend) for your trading desk, expected in 2014:

GLEASON: We manage $800 million globally. The US is roughly 30% of that spend.

SEARS: Percentage increase, United States managed budget (media spend) 2013 vs. expected 2014:

GLEASON:80-90% growth

SEARS: How many employees are there in your United States organization?

GLEASON: Total across USA: 250. We have offices in NY, Chicago, SF and LA.

SEARS: What are Xaxis’ three biggest U.S. initiatives in 2014?


1. Successfully merge Xaxis and 24/7.
2. Continue to lead the battle against fraud. We launched the first viewability guarantee with Xaxis Prime.
3. Continue to build proprietary technology to connect advertisers with audiences (launched Turbine in June).

SEARS: Can linear TV be automated, yes or no?

GLEASON: Anything can be automated but will need clear advantages to moving in that direction.

SEARS: Does Xaxis plan to automate linear TV in 2014? 2015?

GLEASON: Our US business currently isn’t working to automate linear TV. We are focusing on extending broadcast audiences using the same currency. Buying GRP’s across digital to lift reach curves.

SEARS: Once linear TV is automated, will it be bought by TV buyers or digital buyers?

GLEASON: We will have buyers and they won’t be labeled either TV or Digital. We will have audience Buyers.

SEARS: On the subject of advertiser clients and transparent vs. non-transparent models:

a) We have a transparent model -- clients know media and other costs (i.e. costs are unbundled)
b) We have a non-transparent model -- clients do not know media and other costs (i.e. costs are bundled)
c) Combination of both
d) Other

GLEASON: Xaxis is a transparent non-disclosed model.

SEARS: Tell us a bit more about you.

SEARS: Who were your first mentors as a child?

GLEASON: My older brothers (Bob and Jeff). They are completely different people with different views on the world. It was great to listen/watch each of them and take away what I thought would work best for me. While different, they both have a love of family and of life.

SEARS: Money is not a concern. You no longer work in advertising or technology. What would you choose to do for work?

GLEASON: History teacher and coach.

Thanks, Brian!

Jay Sears is Senior Vice President, Marketplace Development for the Rubicon Project. Sears workswith 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

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