The Financial Times, the pink-papered broadsheet, enjoys a very valuable audience. Its advertising inventory is necessarily expensive and it favours direct relationships with advertisers, selling just 5% of its total inventory programmatically. However, in September last year, the FT found video ads on FT.com listed on 15 different ad exchanges and display ads listed on a further ten.
This came as a bit of an unpleasant shock, even if it wasn’t a total surprise, John Slade, the paper’s chief commercial officer, told the ISBA annual conference (London, March 2018). Despite the small inventory available on the paper’s website, its ads are, Slade joked, “reassuringly expensive”. After all, it makes sense for such an outlet to limit its programmatic supply in order to make money. The FT sells display inventory through two exchanges, Google’s AdX and the publisher-owned TrustX. It has no video inventory available through programmatic channels – “we have no economic incentive to do that”.