Programmatic, Video and TV: Jeff Dow of Starcom MediaVest Group -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
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This is the second in a series of interviews with leading buyers titled “ Programmatic, Video and TV.” The conversation will continue at DPAA Video Everywhere Summit in New York City on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. For more information, please go here.

Your Name: Jeff Dow

Your Company: Starcom MediaVest Group

Your Title: EVP, Global Digital Data & Analytics

SEARS: Where do you read your daily news?

DOW: I still read the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and Financial Times since I enjoy professionally written news. I also read Reddit and Drudge on a regular basis to round out competing perspectives on similar topics. I don’t use social media every day, but I do interact socially every day with people who do, so by some transitive property, I use a lot of social media.

SEARS: Where do you interact with digital place based media?

DOW: I generally see all place-based media on my phone(s), on a plane, in a cab or in the elevator.

SEARS: When moving towards automation of planning and buying, what makes video -- in all its various formats -- distinct and different from display, audio and other formats?

DOW: First and foremost is the constrained set of quality supply and suppliers, which positions economics above technology in its ability to shape the near term future. Second is basic ad distribution technology. The power of automation is in its ability to sync the pace of activation with the pace of measurement; at this point the majority of video is served in environments that cannot adjust in real time or near real time. Finally, content: Precision placement capabilities (micro consumer value segmentation, etc.) require unique and relevant messages to create value, and at this point the ability to create video content that scales still lags.

SEARS: Pick a single word to describe each of the following types of video:

Type of Video -- Dow’s Word

Television -- Skipable
Pre-roll, Desktop -- Annoying
Digital Placed Based Media -- Limited
Digital Out of Home -- Interesting
Pre-roll, Mobile -- Opportunity
Full episodic player (ex. Hulu) desktop or mobile -- Compelling
Addressable TV -- Obvious
Connected TV -- Future
Linear TV -- Relevant

SEARS: Pick one of the following baseball analogies to describe how far along we are bringing automation to each specific type of video:
1) Pre-game
2) State a specific inning 1st – 9th
3) Game over, fully automated

Type of Video -- Dow’s Baseball Analogy

Television -- Pre-Game
Pre-roll, Desktop -- 6th inning
Digital Placed Based Media -- 3rd inning
Digital Out of Home -- 1st inning
Pre-roll, Mobile -- 3rd inning
Full episodic player -- 5th inning
Addressable TV -- Pre-Game
Connected TV -- 1st inning
Linear TV -- Pre-Game

SEARS: Related to the automation of video, what will be Starcom MediaVest Group ’s three biggest U.S. initiatives in 2015?

1. Precision TV (linear & addressable)
2. Video content that scales to address micro relevancy
3. Mobile video to bring unique sight/sound/motion experiences to people and places

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

DOW: Yes. Starting with tech companies like Invidi or operators like Comcast to create the foundational infrastructure, we can work backwards to dynamic video ad insertion on the supply side. This will meet the buy side, which has already been working actively on automation, in the middle to create end-to-end linear automation. This is still a number of years out however.

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

DOW: I think initially that it will be bought (e.g. contracted) by TV buyers, but activated by digital experts. It’s important to think about the separation of securing inventory and using it.

SEARS: Tell us a bit more about you.

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

DOW: I would help build the space elevator (or related technology) to unlock our ability to enter space efficiently and at scale, which is a critical next step to our ability to begin to leverage our expanded environment.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant?

DOW: Murphy’s Hot Dogs

Thanks, Jeff!

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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