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DCN Launches Premium Digital Advertising Marketplace, TrustX

September 26, 2016 | By DCN
TrustX Participating Company Logos

CBS Interactive, Condé Nast, ESPN, Hearst and News Corp to anchor the cooperative of more than 25 magazine, TV, newspaper and native digital brands

New York, NY—(September 26, 2016)—Digital Content Next (DCN), the only trade association exclusively dedicated to trusted, high-quality digital content brands, today announced the creation of a cooperative digital advertising marketplace, TrustX, designed to address the industry’s trust, transparency and accountability challenges in digital advertising. This unique marketplace will be a subsidiary of DCN and will operate as a public benefit corporation (B Corp) for the sole purpose of creating a sustainable future for trusted advertising. Founding companies include DCN members CBS Interactive, Condé Nast, ESPN, Hearst and News Corp.

Billions of marketer dollars are lost to digital ad fraud each year. At the same time, the lack of transparency in the supply chain and a deterioration of the advertising experience has motivated ad blocking among a growing number of consumers. DCN is launching TrustX with the singular goal of increasing trust and transparency for marketers, consumers and publishers.

“It was clear that to move the needle on trust in the market, we needed to get in the game in a more direct way,” said DCN CEO Jason Kint. “TrustX offers tremendous scale – reaching about 100 percent of the U.S. internet population* – with a diversity of premium inventory from both large and small publishers across all content verticals. This is clearly an attractive platform for marketers, especially considering the higher brand lift they see on our members’ sites,” Kint continued, referring to comScore’s recent “Halo Effect” research.

With no outside investors and no profit motives, TrustX is distinctive from other alliances in that it will be singularly focused on driving long-term benefits to marketers, publishers and consumers.

TrustX will be grounded in these trust-based principles:

  • A guarantee to deliver only human and viewable advertising transactions;
  • Total transparency about the cost of campaign delivery, thus dramatically reducing the mystery of lost media value so common in the complex digital supply chain;
  • Cooperative development, testing and measurement of innovative ad monetization models and desktop and mobile ad units; and
  • Advertising that improves the consumer experience and reduces the motivation to block ads.

In short, the advertising traded through the TrustX marketplace will be certified to meet the highest standards for performance, quality, security and privacy.

“The digital supply chain needs a reset,” said Tony Pace, chairman of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and founder of the marketing consultancy Cerebral Graffiti. “As it stands, the interest of content creators, content consumers and the marketers who fund the development and distribution of content are not adequately represented. TrustX is an important industry initiative to make sure those constituencies are fairly served. I applaud the premium publishers for taking this important step to simplify and rationalize the supply chain for their audiences and advertisers.”

Twenty-seven leading DCN members are currently signed on to the platform, including ABC, ABC Owned Television Stations, AccuWeather, A + E Networks, Atlantic Media, Business Insider, CBS Interactive, Condé Nast, Daily Caller, Edmunds, ESPN, The E.W. Scripps Company, Financial Times, Fox News.com, Hearst, IJR, Meredith, NBCUniversal, News Corp, Newsday, Purch, Slate, The Washington Post, The Weather Company, Time, Inc., Univision and Vox Media.

“We became a TrustX Founder because we’re seeing a growing gap between the trusted experiences and performance that advertisers enjoy with premium publishers versus the open programmatic markets across the wider web,” said Dave Morris, EVP and chief revenue officer at CBS Interactive. “TrustX is a transparent platform that will feature new ad units, better measurement, and improved performance at scale. Advertisers are seeking premium viewable content that is consumed by real people and that is exactly what they get with TrustX and its partners.”

“Condé Nast’s strategy is to provide marketers with premium inventory, in brand-safe environments, that is highly viewable and transparent, and we are looking forward to helping DCN shape the industry,” said Lisa Valentino, senior vice president, network sales and partnerships, Condé Nast.  “TrustX’s mission to create a high-quality marketplace through transparency based on engagement and viewability, is a much-needed evolution for the industry and a movement with which we are in full alignment, and we’re excited to be a founding member.”

“A smart exchange can lead to better performance, especially when combined with engagement and quality environment. But trust and transparency issues, as well as viewability and invalid traffic, have hampered our enthusiasm to activate a fully transactional marketplace for display. We want to change the conversation and feel that this DCN-led, solutions-based effort will align premium publishers and allow us to confidently participate in a better automated marketplace moving forward,” Eric Johnson, executive vice president of global multimedia sales for ESPN.

“TrustX is about delivering higher value for premium brands and publishers,” said Mike Smith, senior vice president, revenue platforms and operations, Hearst Magazines Digital Media. “We’re establishing new quality benchmarks for the next generation of trusted programmatic advertising.”

“News Corp is committed to fostering trust and transparency in digital advertising. TrustX is well-positioned to set a high standard for the industry through input and participation from dedicated premium publishers,” David Brinker, senior vice president, head of business and corporate development, News Corp, and president, New York Post.

IPONWEB, an independent ad technology development organization that already powers a significant number of digital media trading companies, has been selected to build the core technology for the marketplace. Industry leader, Moat, has been selected to power the currency for the marketplace, enabling transacting on Human and Viewable impressions, including filtering for both General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) and Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT). Moat is MRC accredited for viewability measurement in desktop and mobile, display and video, and is in process for SIVT and GIVT accreditation by the MRC.

“The community is yelling more and more loudly that it’s time to hit the reset button on what is largely an opaque and far-too-complex programmatic advertising supply chain,” said David Kohl, CEO of Morgan Digital Ventures and DCN’s lead advisor on this initiative. “That’s why we are building TrustX from the ground up. There’s no legacy baggage, and we can stay 100 percent focused on creating benefits for our members, for marketers and for the consumer. TrustX will have no other motives.”

Building a purpose-driven cooperative advertising exchange is well aligned with DCN’s mission of serving the unique and diverse needs of high-quality digital content companies. TrustX founders and a council of advisors will provide strategic guidance through the build-out and beta launch, set for early 2017.

This announcement marks the continued rise of DCN as the definitive market leader and voice for premium publishers. Since its relaunch as DCN in September 2014, the organization has seen a record 45% growth in its membership. Now 76 members strong and exclusively comprised of trusted, digital content companies, the organization shares industry intelligence through its InContext website, public events and research.  Follow DCN on Twitter.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix Multiplatform Custom Audience Duplication, June 2016, U.S. DCN Member Entities

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