Q&A: WPP Canada on Automation, Programmatic + TV

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Q&A: WPP Canada on Automation, Programmatic + TV

Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses “Automation, Programmatic and TV” with Rodney Perry of WPP Canada’s Xaxis. The two executives appeared at Rubicon Project’s 1st Annual Real Time Trading Update from Canada's Buy Side in Toronto in June 2015.

Your Name:Rodney Perry

Your Company:Xaxis

Your Title:Managing Director, Xaxis Canada

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

RODNEY PERRY: With the importance in the global economy driving business and culture, staying up to date with what is going on around the world and at home is important. I went away from the print versions a couple of years back so now it’s news online at The Globe and Mail, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Social media also is a key in keeping up with the times.

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

PERRY: Is there any other answer than Facebook?

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with our industry?

PERRY: The typical ones here: AdExchanger, Media Post, Marketing Mag, Advertising Age.

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

PERRY: Has to be “I Am Canadian” from Molson.

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation and programmatic, what are Xaxis’ three biggest initiatives in Canada in 2015?


  1. Self-serving for me: The Launch of Light Reaction in Canada
  2. Viewability: We are moving to a 100% viewable world.
  3. Video: Canada is lagging behind in video advertising that looks to turn around this year.

SEARS: On average in the Canadian market -- out of each $1.00 spent on media (all media, not just digital) by one of your advertisers, how much today (in 2015) is spent on automated or programmatic channels?

PERRY: Best guess is $0.11. There are still clients and agencies that don’t fully understand the programmatic space so are hesitant to get in. With the negative press fraud and viewability are getting, it is slowing down the move.

SEARS: What will this number be in 2017?

PERRY: $0.35. Programmatic will continue to grow with video being the big upshot over the next couple of years.

SEARS: Tell us the about the Canadian operations of Xaxis.

PERRY: Making Advertising Welcome is Xaxis' purpose. Our goal is to bring data and technology together to deliver real-time audiences for our clients at scale that drive their business objectives. Through the application of data and technology we have developed a suite of unique products to deliver audiences.

SEARS:How many employees are there in Canada?


SEARS: How can advertising automation help the strategy and planning functions (directly or indirectly) at an advertising agency?

PERRY: The automation of advertising allows the strategic minded planners and clients to focus on what really matters to their business driving results.

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

PERRY: Yes, greater minds than mine are working on it.

SEARS: What two-three events or happenings will accelerate the automation of television?

PERRY: I don’t know.

SEARS: Transparency -- on media costs, on data, on inventory -- has become a lightning rod issue. Should transparency be a negotiated benefit for the advertiser client, yes or no?

PERRY: Transparency in ensuring clients are seeing and receiving value in their programmatic media offering is very important. Clients should know without a doubt where their ads are running, what technology is being used in their media plans and what the business model is for their partners.

SEARS: Which of the following will accelerate the automation of site direct (direct orders) budget? Pick all that apply:

  1. Dynamic access to all publisher inventory [vs. just “remnant” or “auction”]
  2. Ability to leverage publisher first party data
  3. Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium]
  4. Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats
  5. Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers
  6. All of the above

PERRY: All of the above. With the position that all media will be programmatic in the future it means that all inventory and data that the publishers have at their disposal should be made available for buyers to evaluate and buy against.

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?

PERRY: Scotland to play golf at St Andrews.

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

PERRY: It would definitely be around the heath and care of animals.

SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

PERRY: As a foodie I can’t narrow it down to just one, it all depends on what I have a taste for; right now the focus is on Mexican food.

SEARS: Thanks, Rodney!

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