PubMatic Joins the Race to Cut Out DSPs in Video & CTV Deals

Dan Meier 09 May, 2023 

The supply side has taken another leap across the aisle, as PubMatic launches a new product called Activate, enabling brands and agencies to buy CTV and online video inventory directly through the SSP.

The announcement is the latest in an escalating trend of supply path optimisation (SPO). Traditionally a buy-side practice, the sell side is now embracing SPO and cutting out DSPs, thereby establishing more direct relationships between advertisers and publishers.

Activate continues that shift, allowing buyers to carry out non-bidded direct deals on PubMatic’s programmatic platform. The SSP suggested the solution could lead to increased revenue on both sides of the aisle.

As well as cutting out the costs associated with intermediaries involved in the bidding process, Pubmatic noted the “outdated transaction methods” currently employed in CTV and video, with almost 60 percent of CTV and 18 percent of online video transactions carried out non-programatically. According to the company, Activate unlocks $65 billion worth of programmatic spend.

By seamlessly connecting buyers and content owners via a single layer of technology, we are significantly reducing the hops, discrepancies, data proliferation, opacity, and complexity in the programmatic marketplace,” said PubMatic co-founder and CEO Rajeev Goel. “This will result in higher ROI for buyers and increased revenue for publishers, consistent with our mission to fuel the endless potential of internet content creators who rely on advertising as a primary source of revenue.”

Across the divide

Activate follows in the footsteps of The Trade Desk’s OpenPath released last year, and Magnite’s ClearLine announced just last month, which circumvent SSPs and DSPs respectively. The trend is being embraced by buyers, helping to accelerate these forays into the other side’s territory.

Launched in conjunction with dentsu, Fubo, GroupM, Havas Media Group, LG, Mars and Omnicom, Activate is viewed by the partners as an opportunity for streamlining deals, on both the buy and sell side. For Mars, the product provides “greater control” over CTV and video budgets; meanwhile Fubo welcomes the prospect of “more transparency” for media owners.

The solution also builds on PubMatic’s acquisition of measurement platform Martin last year, the company said, enhancing the SSP’s campaign planning tools for advertisers.

This is of particular importance for CTV and video, where buyers have long sought better controls for measurement. And with the reduction in third-party data brought about by regulators and device manufacturers, direct access to first-party publisher data is especially useful to advertisers.

“By working together, we can ensure that clients have access to high-quality brand-safe CTV inventory and help create a more sustainable, thriving industry for everyone,” said Kelly McMahon, SVP and Head of Global Operations at LG Ad Solutions. “We are already seeing advertiser adoption of the Activate platform, proving the value of greater transparency, efficiency and performance in the programmatic ecosystem.”

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