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Q&A with Chip Schenck, VP/Programmatic Sales & Strategy, Meredith on Premium Programmatic

March 3, 2014 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy

This Q&A is part of OPA’s “Three on Three” series where we ask three industry executives the same three questions on a topic to uncover actionable insights… If you want to learn more, keep an eye out on our site for more interviews. Today’s Three on Three interview is with Chip Schenck, VP/Programmatic Sales & Strategy, Meredith on the subject of “Premium Programmatic” advertising.

Chip Schenck HeadshotQ: How would you define Premium Programmatic as it compares to what we’ve come to know as “Programmatic Advertising”?

A:Premium Programmatic is a combination of both a change in sales process/dialogue and packaging of inventory, vs what we have seen previously as standard programmatic. Standard programmatic can be defined as machine to machine buying/selling automation. Where previously, standard programmatic inventory had various shades of transparency with little differentiation in available inventory and no real human interaction—what we call “dials only”—as part of the selling and transaction process, programmatic premium is typically direct sold, human negotiated, uniquely packaged and made up of limited availability inventory, with much greater levels of transparency between buyer and seller.

The simple answer? Programmatic premium is directly sold/personally negotiated but programmatically executed. For buyers, the opportunity is higher value inventory, depending on how you define “higher value.” This might mean earlier look, higher in the frequency curve, specific inventory, audience enriched, etc. It could mean a better environment versus the open exchange, better brand performance, etc.

Q: Describe the way in which your organization handles programmatic?

A: We are approaching the market with a unified sales vision, and a focus on leveraging data in all of our sales channels: Ideally, programmatic and sponsorship dollars working together to support a creative idea will drive better consumer engagement for a client’s campaign, and so we want our sales efforts to be unified where possible. However, not everyone is buying that way, and so will also be able to service parallel paths—sponsorship only and programmatic only—until such time as planning/buying is more holistic.

When more than half of the Advertising Trading Desks s in the market have built a ‘transition’ or ‘liaison’ team between the traditional digital agency and the programmatic agency/ATD to bet better aligned, that is a signal that buying methodologies will change. We look at this as a positive trend for the industry because it moves the conversation towards total value for the client and the publisher, and understanding how each channel can benefit a client’s plan, rather than a focus on price sensitivity or efficiency alone.

Q: What types of marketing initiatives lend themselves best to leveraging programmatic and how can the premium approach better deliver?

A:Programmatic has been used to deliver a lot of direct response campaigns in the past because it was so price driven. However, leveraging the incredible targeting capabilities, the transparency of placement, contextual adjacency when desired, the halo effect from a strong consumer media brand, and the benefits of efficient media, any form of communication can work programmatically. It can successfully drive KPI’s including awareness and reach for the upper funnel; inspiration and intention for the mid funnel; and trial and transaction for the lower funnel. Premium programmatic offers the best mix of pricing efficiency, targeting, reach and scale, while still getting the safety and engagement of trusted contextual environments.


Charles “Chip” Schenck is the VP of Programmatic Sales and Strategy at Meredith Corporation and responsible for helping clients leverage data and insights across Meredith’s Digital Network, for execution across all platforms and channels. Schenck joined Meredith Digital from PubMatic where he served as VP/Publisher Development. In addition, Schenck has held senior leadership positions with a diverse range of media companies including serving as VP/Integrated Sales & Development for American Express Publishing; Associate Publisher for In Touch Weekly; and Managing Director of Sales and Marketing for Hearst-Stratosfera.


Note: This Q&A is part of OPA’s “Three on Three” series where we ask three industry executives the same three questions on a topic to uncover actionable insights.

Also in this series:

Q&A with Neil Johnston, Cox’s EVP of Strategy & Digital Innovation on Premium Programmatic

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