FreeWheel Adds Programmatic Ad Buying in Time for Upfronts

Comcast ad tech company FreeWheel is launching a programmatic solution it says will change the way marketers implement their TV ad buying. Called Allocation Module, it is rolling out ahead of the 2024 Upfronts and NewFronts. Central to the new solution is what FreeWheel says is its ability to give marketers more control over their ad spending across various ad channels after it’s been committed. FreeWheel’s Allocation Module “offers demand-side platforms a better way to gauge whether or not they are bidding enough, in real time, to meet their clients’ ad spend commitments,” the company says.

Warner Bros. Discovery, AMC Networks, and Comcast’s own NBCUniversal “have signed on as initial development partners and will test the Allocation Module ahead of the upfront,” writes Next TV. Programmatic trading has become critical to companies’ television strategies as streaming continues to grow in popularity.

FreeWheel is using its buy-side platform, Beeswax, to activate the Allocation Module in time for the IAB 2024-25 upfront season, with plans to expand to additional demand-side platforms, or DSPs, in the future.

Allocation Module provides three core benefits, according to FreeWheel’s announcement, including:

  • Helping buyers and sellers holistically manage and pace their committed ad spend budgets across all transaction types, spanning direct, programmatic guaranteed and now biddable
  • Expediting the shifting of premium, connected TV ad dollars from direct to biddable ad transactions while maintaining dual sided guarantees
  • Empowering buyers via a DSP-agnostic application programming interface to streamline reporting and fulfillment of upfront ad spend

“FreeWheel is launching this new solution in response to several current industry challenges, including the need for a simpler and more direct and efficient path to access TV ad inventory, and the operational burden of managing complex upfront agreements across multiple transaction types,” per Advanced Television.

FreeWheel Chief Product Officer David Dworin said in the announcement that “existing systems have been holding back the modern day upfront,” due to “an inherent conflict between the concept of upfront commitments and programmatic bidding, which happens in real time.” Allocation Module “bridges that gap and has the potential to turbocharge the shift to programmatic as part of the next upfront.”

In related news, Broadcasting & Cable reports that Direct Digital Holdings, “a black-owned, publicly held ad tech company said it made a deal to connect its Colossus supply-side platform directly to FreeWheel” to “make it easier for brands to advertise in more multicultural and diverse content.”

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