The Economist hired its first programmatic specialists in June 2014, and didn’t actively sell through programmatic channels until August. Since then, programmatic selling has become ubiquitous at The Economist, which had made “millions in pounds” in programmatic revenue over the last nine months. Not only does it sell inventory through guaranteed direct deals and exchanges, but buys programmatically to extend the reach of the content it creates for brands. Programmatic has also helped it lower the cost of finding new print subscribers.
“What’s worked for us is embracing programmatic as a strategy rather than a tactical solution that solves the short-term objective of filling impressions,” Economist Group online advertising vice president Ashwin Sridhar told Digiday. “We are in this for the long haul.”
“We need to stop looking at programmatic as a separate revenue stream,” Sridhar said. “The conversations are slightly different, but there’s no reason why with the right training and knowledge a direct sales person shouldn’t be having those conversations. All that’s changed is the channel of execution.”