We sat down with Senior Director of Product at OpenX Roy Firestone, to learn a little more about his role at the company and gain his insight on a few industry trends he’s excited about. Roy joined OpenX in March of this year to lead our video team with an impressive resume of innovating digital ad formats for companies like Nickelodeon and Viacom and is poised to accelerate OpenX’s already growing video business.

You are relatively new to OpenX. Tell us about your background, and why you decided to join the company?

I have a background in premium video products for major publishers. I caught the programmatic bug a few years ago when integrating video supply and demand partners for an ad network.  That experience left me feeling things were much too complicated in the digital video space. I joined OpenX to make a difference in the digital video ecosystem through better products, global scale, super-duper quality, improved standards and plain old elbow-grease! One example of my past work is the patented virtual toy box ad unit for Viacom. Nickelodeon needed a better way to engage young audiences with toy brands, so we created a rich media video solution for kids to “play with me now!” leading to increased TV upfront spend from brands like Disney, Lego, & Hasbro.

What are the more interesting trends taking place in digital video today?

We all know TV is changing. We watch our shows on a variety of screens wherever and whenever we want.  There’s a new studio system evolving as top creative talent is migrating en-masse to cord-cutting streamers like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Will broadcast TV as we know it still exist in 5 years? Not long ago, those of us in digital video advertising were asking how we could shift more broadcast/ linear TV spend into digital. Now there’s a viable independent video advertising marketplace outside of linear TV.

It will be interesting to see how broadcasters adopt digital methods of measurement for ads, including deterministic targeting using impression-based event models. Rather than force old-school probabilistic TV models like Nielsen ratings and GRPs into digital media, savvy marketers are embracing the transparency and data-rich targeting of ad tech to reach audiences with greater specificity and relevance.  It’s a generational shift. When programmatic partners like us make it easy and reliable to transact video ads at scale, it’s clearly a better way to connect marketers with viewers.

When programmatic partners like us make it easy and reliable to transact video ads at scale, it's clearly a better way to connect marketers with viewers.

What’s next for you and your team and what are some video initiatives you’re excited about?

Building on a strong legacy of tech-driven businesses at OpenX, we’re excited to grow our video suite with offerings across demand, supply and marketplaces. In a similar way that OpenX embraced mobile apps many years ago, we’re investing heavily in video products and solutions. Mobile now accounts for 65 percent of our business and video has the potential to have a similar impact on our business.

My team is evangelizing our video products and helping grow market awareness, and we’re regularly looking at new and improved ways our customers can work with us on video. This last August for example, we announced the general availability of our video header bidding solution within Prebid, and beta partners saw an average revenue increase of 55 percent, with some seeing CPMs that are over 35 percent higher than competitors. We’re excited to build on this, and continue working with our great customers to help them make the most out of their video advertising.