Vevo Rolls Out Real-Time Bidding

Music video provider to auction off pre-roll, display ads

The record industry’s mammoth digital music video distributor, Vevo, has become the latest company to embrace real-time bidding, or RTB. Today Vevo will start auctioning off unsold inventory via a platform open only to current Vevo advertisers, including big guns like Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Think of this as eBay for unsold pre-roll and other inventory not specifically tailored to a particular client. The JV (owned by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Abu Dhabi Media, with a license to distribute EMI content too) does plenty of business with traditional video ads, as evidenced by the tons of pre-roll on its YouTube channel (nearly 29 million views and counting).

Welby Chen, Vevo svp, sales and revenue operations, said it’s very easy to buy both reach and quantity using the new ad exchange. “It’s basically anything that is unsold at the moment that can possibly get in there,” he said. “And our platform is pretty diverse. [We’re] online, mobile, XBox and tablets.”

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst, Pivotal, recently assessed the RTB trend. “Many brands remain highly concerned about transparency issues,” he wrote, noting that it’s not always clear to brands where exactly their ads will run since most buy RTB in bulk. “At the same time, performance from these media types is widely acknowledged as very good.”

Vevo’s direct sales team will continue to exclusively sell sponsorships and original programming.