While some of the early forays into programmatic TV tie in automated ways to pitch remnant inventory, ESPN is taking a different approach with its initial efforts. Its offer is as a premium opportunity.
ESPN’s first programmatic TV execution, launched in December, carves out a special advertising unit within flagship news show SportsCenter that does not affect its standard units. In those instances, the anchor tells viewers that the show will resume soon as the camera zooms into one of the multitude of video screens on the SportsCenter set, which then presents the 30-second spot within the show itself.
TurboTax is the first advertiser to jump on the opportunity, though ESPN is also holding talks with other advertisers about it.
“We’re excited about the idea that we’ve created a unique execution, and something that feels very premium,” says Eric Johnson, ESPN executive VP of global multimedia sales.
ESPN, in tandem with partners such as Clypd, is using a programmatic process to sell those ads. While there’s still some manual work involved, it’s conceptually a programmatic buy that uses auction-type selling.