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The Trade Desk closes the gap between advertisers and publishers with debut of OpenPath

The Trade Desk closes the gap between advertisers and publishers with debut of OpenPath

Illustration by Nick DeSantis / Getty / The Current

Reuters, Washington Post, Condé Nast among many who have thrown support behind OpenPath

The Trade Desk on Tuesday announced the debut of OpenPath, a new product that aims to provide advertisers with a direct path to premium advertising inventory. In doing so, it will bring buyers and sellers of programmatic media closer together. OpenPath is currently in closed beta with launch partners in North America, including large publishers such as Reuters, The Washington Post, Gannett, Condé Nast, USA Today Network, among many others.

The news is significant as publishers only capture roughly 50 percent of every ad dollar spent by marketers, while the rest goes to so-called middlemen — some of which add little or no value — in the $155 billion industry that is programmatic advertising, according to three separate studies. OpenPath, however, has the potential to upend those market dynamics by closing the gap between buyers and sellers.

“Simply put, OpenPath is designed to connect advertisers directly to publishers through one technology partner,” Rachel Parkin, executive VP of sales and strategy at CafeMedia, tells The Current. “Rather than publishers using their own technology partner and advertisers using a different one, in this case, The Trade Desk serves as the technology partner for both.”

A total of 15 large publishers have thrown their support behind OpenPath, though companies such as CafeMedia — which represents more than 3,500 publishers — and Nexstar — which represents hundreds of publishers such as The Hill — are among them.

Google Open Bidding
“OpenPath aims to level the playing field for advertisers, with the goal of providing transparent and objective access to the very best digital advertising inventory, starting with many of the world’s top journalistic outlets,” Jeff Green, co-founder and CEO of The Trade Desk tells The Current. “OpenPath is an excellent example of industry leaders working together to advance an open market with the goal of providing transparent price competition and value maximization for both advertisers and publishers.”

“With that in mind, as OpenPath launches, The Trade Desk will turn off Google Open Bidding on its platform,” Green adds.

Green’s comments come on the heels of a court order releasing a largely unredacted version of the most recent antitrust complaint filed by a multistate coalition against Google. The unredacted complaint alleges, among other things, that Google conspired to manipulate ad auctions in part by leveraging Google Open Bidding. "The unredacted complaint in the ad tech suit should put to rest the argument that Google wins just because its products are 'better,’” David Chavern, CEO of the News Media Alliance, told Axios. "Anti-competitive side deals and market manipulation don't count as innovation. Google has been purposely suppressing news publishers' finances for years and then asking us to say thank you."

In launching OpenPath, The Trade Desk stressed that it remains fully committed to the demand-side of programmatic advertising, and that its move is not a signal that it will enter the supply-side. “OpenPath is simply a direct pipe to select publisher inventory for our advertising clients,” Will Doherty, VP of inventory development at The Trade Desk, tells The Current. “The Trade Desk won’t be involved in yield management, or any other value added services typically provided by supply-side platforms.”