Talking Automation, Programmatic and TV with Pete Stein, Former CEO, Razorfish -- The Jay Sears Interview

By Archived Rubicon Project Archives
Cover image for  article: Talking Automation, Programmatic and TV with Pete Stein, Former CEO, Razorfish -- The Jay Sears Interview

This is the second 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: Pete Stein

Your Title & Company: Former CEO, Razorfish

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

STEIN: Twitter, New York Times, Vice, Medium, New Yorker, New York Magazine, WSJ, books (currently reading This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein)

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

STEIN: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

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

STEIN: Lots, mostly via Twitter

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

STEIN: Shave Everywhere . It helped usher in the era of viral content.

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?

STEIN: We’re in the second inning. We still have a long way to go, but the game is underway and those caught napping will wake up when it’s too late for a comeback.

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

STEIN: Automation should drive a faster feedback loop and also enable a better finger on the zeitgeist, thereby informing strategy and planning.

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

STEIN: Yes. It will be automated, but more in the form of private marketplaces, at least at first. Technology and economics are in the way.

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


1. When premium online video becomes cheaper than linear TV
2. When a few top 10 advertisers demand it
3. If the weakness in the upfront market moves from “event” to “trend”

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?

STEIN: Trust is the minimum of any relationship. Agencies should give clients transparency. Clients should pay agencies a fair fee.

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

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

STEIN: All of the above, absolutely, but at what cost? Publishers will want volume commitments and margin preservation.

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?

STEIN: Family to St John, USVI.

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


SEARS: Thanks, Pete!

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

Check us out on Facebook at
Follow our Twitter updates at @MediaBizBlogger

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.

Copyright ©2021 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.