Talking Automation, Programmatic and TV with Julian Zilberbrand of ZenithOptimedia -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
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This is the third in a series of interviews with leading buyers titled “Automation, Programmatic and TV.” The executives in this series discussed these topics with Jay Sears, SVP Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project at the Cantor Fitzgerald’s 2nd Annual Internet/Technology Conference in New York City.

Your Name: Julian Zilberbrand

Your Company: ZenithOptimedia

Your Title: EVP, Activation Standards, Insights and Technology

SEARS: How do you keep up with politics, art and culture?

ZILBERBRAND: Twitter, RSS feeds, TV

SEARS: How do you keep up with friends?

ZILBERBRAND: Social media, phone, e-mail, actually seeing them in person

SEARS: How do you keep up with our industry?

ZILBERBRAND: Social media, Web, meetings, industry events, lunches/dinners with industry people, actually participate in industry consortiums

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

ZILBERBRAND: Where’s the Beef!

SEARS: With regards to advertising automation and programmatic, what are ZenithOptimedia’s three biggest U.S. initiatives in 2015?


1. More training of staff on automated tools
2. Deeper analytics via extended sets of data
3. Getting strategy aligned on using more audience-based insights for overall investment

SEARS: Draw an analogy between the automation of television and a baseball game. Are we in the Pre-game? 1st inning? 9th inning? Still driving to the stadium?

ZILBERBRAND: Bottom of the first

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


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


1. More user consumption via IP delivered devices
2. The development a singular inventory management solution on the pub side
3. Agreed upon value of Digital GRP

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?

ZILBERBRAND: Yes. Transparency is required for client confidence. Additionally transparency on models and tech, etc., will allow us to isolate where gaps are and how we need to address them as an industry.

SEARS: Which of the following will accelerate the automation of site direct (direct orders) budget? Pick all that apply. [Zilberbrand’s responses in brackets.]

a) Dynamic access to all publisher inventory vs. just “remnant” or “auction” – [Yes]
b) Ability to leverage publisher first party data – [Yes]
c) Ability to leverage advertiser first party data [against all publisher inventory, especially premium] – [Yes]
d) Availability of rich media, expandable units and larger IAB Rising Star formats – [Yes]
e) Ability to more easily curate audiences for specific advertisers across the premium content of multiple publishers – [Yes]
f) All of the above – [Yes]

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?

ZILBERBRAND: I would take my family and a few select friends (with kids so mine would be entertained) and go right to Hawaii.

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

ZILBERBRAND: American Cancer society (and not just because they are a client). I think cancer research is the most important thing we can focus on right now.

SEARS: Thanks, JZ!

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