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News Plus 2 Feb 2022 - 4 min read

Ten ditches DMP, data chief warns privacy overhaul will 'completely obliterate' programmatic, bearish on alt-IDs, forecasts major shakeout

By Brendan Coyne - Editor
Josh Slighting, 10ViacomCBS

Attitude adjuster: Ten's Josh Slighting says incoming privacy changes will curb programmatic malpractices – with the network ditching its cookie-based ad platform to get ahead of the curve.

10 ViacomCBS’ Head of Data and Digital Audience, Josh Slighting, thinks privacy shifts coming down the track "may completely obliterate some of the programmatic trading methods that everyone is married to today”, ushering in major market consolidation. The network is preparing for upheaval, ditching its cookie-based DMP and going all-in on its own audience IDs and a customer data platform (CDP). Slighting thinks industry attempts at alternative IDs may end up dead in the water.

What you need to know:

  • Publishers and the digital ad supply chain are facing major disruption, per 10 ViacomCBS Head of Data and Digital Audience, Josh Slighting. 
  • He forecasts significant consolidation and a shakeout of the programmatic supply chain.
  • 10 ViacomCBS will soon switch off its data management platform (DMP) to prepare for a post-cookie world.
  • Meanwhile the network is feeling out publisher partnerships in Australia.

No matter how many ID resolution companies there are, unless we're all using the same one, it doesn't really work. And we're never going to be on the same one as Google, or the same one as Facebook, so that problem compounds.

Josh Slighting, Head of Data and Digital Audience, 10 ViacomCBS

Killing time

10 ViacomCBS’ Head of Data and Digital Audience, Josh Slighting, thinks privacy shifts coming down the track “will completely obliterate some of the programmatic trading methods that everyone is married to today”, leading to significant market consolidation.

“In five years time there will probably be fewer publishers, because some will struggle to withstand the changes coming at them,” says Slighting.

He thinks alternative ID solutions are unlikely to alter that outcome, because publishers are all busy building their own walled gardens.

“No matter how many ID resolution companies there are, unless we're all using the same one, it doesn't really work. And we're never going to be on the same one as Google, or the same one as Facebook, so that problem compounds,” says Slighting.

“Right now, everyone's panicking: 'I don't have one and Google's changing so I better just sign up for something'. But if not all of us are aligned on the same thing, it doesn't really work.”

While other networks are partnering up and in some areas doubling up on audience matching providers, Slighting says 10 ViacomCBS is keeping its tech stack streamlined.

“Duplication, for me, is a mess,” he says. “It's hard enough to manage the changing ecosystem if you're replicating the same mess internally. And the cost overheads create competitive disadvantage.”

As an industry, we have profited from some pretty shady practices. Now we have to take our medicine and there will be a correction. So you can try to find short-term fixes because it’s good for shareholders, or you can take the hit. I’d rather take the hit and invest in the long-term.

Josh Slighting, Head of Data and Digital Audience, 10 ViacomCBS

Dumping DMP

Meanwhile, 10 ViacomCBS is preparing to ditch third party cookies altogether in 2022 by culling its data management platform (DMP).

“Our strategy is first party identity-led, with a CDP (CDP) as the foundation,” said Slighting. “Our only reliance on a DMP is that some of our data partners prefer to share data via Adobe Marketplace.”

However, with the network striking a deal with LiveRamp to use its ‘Safe Haven’ clean room so that advertisers can connect first party datasets, that reliance lessens significantly, adds Slighting.

“When you're matching with cookies, our match rates are under 5 per cent. When we matching on emails, our match rates are 40 per cent and above, so it's literally a no brainer,” he says.

“Our inventory pool doesn't support having cookies. It's people on connected TVs, it works when you're authenticated, you're logged in, it's privacy compliant, and you're matching in a secure way. So our strategy from the beginning is starting to come through – and we're not having to dismantle stuff,” adds Slighting.

“If you switch off a DMP [there is a challenge around] where and how do you manage segment taxonomy? But you can do that in LiveRamp and you can do it elsewhere. So our reliance on legacy technology is not there. We don't have to have the DMP in place anymore, so we will switch it off and tell the market, ‘we are a publisher that doesn't rely on those technologies' – and I think we will be the first in Australia to do that.”

With all the privacy changes coming down the track, Slighting says 10 ViacomCBS “will not be immune from future shocks entirely, but we are better positioned to others that have built some very complicated set ups”.

Plotting partnerships

While Ten is backed by a global media conglomerate, it does not have the broader publishing assets that its biggest rivals can offer advertisers. Slighting says the network is open to striking partnerships, potentially with independent news providers, in a bid to go toe to toe with the likes of Nine.

He thinks that would go some way to addressing advertiser concerns about the hassle of dealing with multiple walled gardens in a bid for scale while delivering growth opportunities to both parties.

Slighting points to Paramount Plus’ deal with Optus (for the telco’s bundled subscription service) as an indicator of more dealmaking to come.

“Are you focused on self preservation, or are you focused on the longer-term future?” says Slighting. “As an industry, we have profited from some pretty shady practices. Now we have to take our medicine and there will be a correction. So you can try to find short-term fixes because it’s good for shareholders, or you can take the hit. I’d rather take the hit and invest in the long-term – and I do think that good partnerships will pay dividends.”

A version of this article first appeared in Mi3’s Post-privacy, post-cookies report, alongside interviews with more than 30 industry experts. Download your copy here.

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