Programmatic, Video and TV: Rob Griffin of Havas -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Programmatic, Video and TV: Rob Griffin of Havas -- The Jay Sears Interview

This is the first 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: Rob Griffin

Your Company: Havas

Your Title: Global Head of Digital

SEARS: Where do you read your daily news?

GRIFFIN: 80% is on my phone. Some video, some print, and some audio but mostly via apps on my phone. The other 20% is split between social influenced news and more traditional TV/radio, often in bars, airports and offices randomly. Still small amounts of printed news, but usually magazines and not more timely printed newspapers.

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

GRIFFIN: I don’t really, but I expect as beacons become more prevalent and better use cases emerge I will. Currently it’s maybe restricted to train rides, events and/or bars.

SEARS: Today on average in the United States -- out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers -- how much today is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

GRIFFIN: The number is irrelevant. What is important is the speed of the adoption. Part scale, part comfort. And as more media digitizes, becomes track-able and available programmatically it will begin to change the definition of what is programmatic.

SEARS: What will this number be in 2016?

GRIFFIN: A lot ;-). Very soon more media will be traded programmatically than not.

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?

GRIFFIN: TV has always been king because it was the sole distributor of content in our format of choice. I would rather watch my news, reviews and most things than read or listen. And now I can get my video just about anywhere and anytime on any device.

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

Type of Video – Griffin’s Word

Television -- Entertainment
Pre-roll, Desktop -- Distraction
Digital Placed Based -- Media Novelty
Digital Out of Home -- Neat
Pre-roll, Mobile -- F*cked
Full episodic player (ex. Hulu) desktop or mobile -- Killer
Addressable TV -- Future
Connected TV -- Awesome
Linear TV -- Dinosaur

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 – Griffin’s Baseball Analogy

Television -- Pre-game
Pre-roll, Desktop -- 2nd
Digital Placed Based Media -- 1st
Digital Out of Home -- 1st
Pre-roll, Mobile -- 1st
Full episodic player -- 3rd
Addressable TV -- 1st
Connected TV -- 1st
Linear TV -- Lost game

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

1. Programmatic creative
2. Enhanced experiences
3. Attribution

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

GRIFFIN: The planning and buying of any media can be automated. Just because it’s automated doesn’t mean we need an algorithm applied nor does it necessarily imply RTB. These will become increasingly more distinct.

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

GRIFFIN: TV is just offline video and so we have OLV and TV teams fully integrated. This is true for radio, OOH and DOOH as well. With an increased focus on quality content and audiences media planning and buying is changing and requires greater integration. And this can’t stop just within media. To deliver the best media needs to be fully integrated but so does media and creative.

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?

GRIFFIN: Chair lift operator.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant?

GRIFFIN: I have one in each city ;-) -- Eastern Standard Kitchen is my Cheers at home in Boston.

Thanks, Rob!

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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