If imitation is the highest form of flattery then publisher Minute Media’s latest venture is a paean to ad tech. To be clear, it built its own. The sports publisher is now the proud owner of its own supply-side platform otherwise known as the marketplace advertisers go to buy ads on its sites.

Normally, this ad tech is owned by a third-party. Few publishers have the technical nous or commercial stamina to erect and sustain their own. There are, however, exceptions that believe those costs are worth it. To these publishers, the short-term pain of bringing an SSP to market is worth the long-term advantages it could yield. After hearing more about the plan, it’s safe to say Minute Media drinks from that same well. 

Let’s start with the basics: Minute Media’s SSP is a programmatic marketplace for its own impressions (i.e. ads across its properties: The Players’ Tribune, 90min or DBLTAP) as well as other publishers. On that latter point, Minute Media really wants those publishers to see it as an upmarket version of a typical SSP. The more they do this, the more it can position itself as a marketplace for premium inventory. Minute Media is trying to create a premium publisher network via the SSP.

“We created the SSP so those publishers [that] can tap into those direct budgets via Prebid directly and circumvent any inefficiencies that we were seeing previously on a tag basis,” said Tom Webster, evp of global publisher platforms at Minute Media.

There’s a couple of things to unpack here: first, there’s Prebid. In short, it’s an open source alternative publishers can use to sell impressions in a way that doesn’t involve them being offered to one sales source at a time, also known as the “waterfall method.” That’s what Webster meant when he said the video inventory was sold “on a tag basis.” It’s inefficient because the bids happen in a daisy-chain sequence instead of simultaneously in real-time.

Confused? In the daisy-chain, the impression is sold whenever the publisher’s set price is met, irrespectiv
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