Is Programmatic The Next Step For Print?

Is Programmatic The Next Step For Print?

In February, publisher Time Inc. announced a print programmatic product across 18 titles.  It uses the Media Math DSP to automate print buying.  According to Time, the intention was to give their digital advertisers access to the print audience as well as give digital buyers a familiar platform for purchasing that audience.

There are currently six audience segments.  The segments cluster magazines together to reach an audience.  Advertisers chose an audience size; each segment has several audience size options.  The minimum audience buy is 5 million.



There are parameters that must be met in order to utilize this programmatic tool.  First is that the buys must be national in scope; geography cannot be segmented by region.  Also, the ads must be able to run throughout a range of several months, so that the offer, product or service to be advertised cannot be extremely time-sensitive.  Specific positioning is not guaranteed, and the titles must be purchased as a cluster – no selecting specific titles or excluding titles.  If added value is a requirement, the buys must go through a sales rep, and thus they cannot be purchased programmatically. Lastly, and importantly, the rates are no more or less efficient than if the ads were purchased through a sales rep.

Ideal Print Programmatic Advertiser

For now, Time Inc., reports that they see this working best for advertisers with broad target audiences: mass retail, entertainment (tune-in) advertising, and some financial advertisers.  Retail giant Target was the first advertiser to use this programmatic print product.

Looking ahead

Time Inc. will likely be expanding the packages to include more titles and more audience levels in the months after roll out. We will monitor developments in this sector to see if additional features becomes available, such as regional buying or more selective targeting options. It will be interesting to see if other publishers offer a similar or improved product in the face of Time’s push into programmatic print.

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