Ozone Project to sell ads on self-serve basis after striking OpenX deal

Ozone: Piers North (Reach), Dora Michail (Telegraph), Hamis Nicklin (The Guardian), Dominic Carter (News UK), Damon Reeve (Ozone Project) and Campaign's Gideon Spanier
Ozone: Piers North (Reach), Dora Michail (Telegraph), Hamis Nicklin (The Guardian), Dominic Carter (News UK), Damon Reeve (Ozone Project) and Campaign's Gideon Spanier

UK news publishers want to make it easier for advertisers to buy directly and keep control of their data.

The Ozone Project is to sell digital display advertising on a self-serve basis after striking a deal with ad exchange OpenX.

The partnership will make it easier for advertisers and agencies to buy directly and keep control of their data when they use The Ozone Project’s platform, which sells inventory on behalf of four leading UK publishers: Guardian News & Media, News UK, Reach and Telegraph Media Group.

Danny Spears, commercial director at The Ozone Project, said: "Ozone launched as a managed service, which meant advertisers made bookings and we would execute that. We would control the ad buy, the pacing [the rate of delivery] and the optimisation.

"We are opening up a self-serve capability for the market, which is increasingly geared to buying through their own demand-side platforms – either via an agency or in-house.

"Transparency exists in the managed service, but the self-service option allows the buyer to take complete control over that pacing and optimisation." 

Spears said publishers should benefit by "diversifying the client base" and "bringing on board clients who are already executing via their own DSP" as some brands and agencies move towards buying 100% on a programmatic basis.

The news publishers set up The Ozone Project in June 2018 to offer an easier way for advertisers to buy inventory at a time when ad sales have been shifting rapidly to online giants, particularly Google and Facebook, which attract millions of brands through their self-serve platforms.

The Ozone Project has positioned itself as transparent and brand-safe, with quality inventory and an audience of 42 million Britons.

"Whilst buy-side programmatic technology has given brands and buyers access to incredible scale, a consequence has been that adspend has been diverted away from quality publishers’ audiences and into the long tail of the web," Spears said.

The partnership with OpenX "now makes it possible for programmatic buyers to access quality audiences at unparalleled scale in trusted environments", adding: "It also underlines our commitment to helping our premium publishers increase their monetisation by providing them with truly incremental programmatic demand."

OpenX had been running as a "closed-test partner" for The Ozone Project since September 2018.

Damon Reeve, chief executive of The Ozone Project, used to run OpenX.

Spears said The Ozone Project has been working with other adtech firms and hopes "to bring on other partners" to increase choice.

Richard Ottoy, vice-president of publisher development, EMEA, at OpenX, said: "Helping publishers better monetise their inventory has always been key to our business at OpenX and we’re thrilled to be working with The Ozone Project to offer yet another way to connect premium publishers with the advertisers that value their audiences most.

"Beyond creating a trusted marketplace for publishers and buyers, this partnership presents an important opportunity to highlight the true value of audiences across the open web by leveraging Ozone’s collection of consented first-party audience data – an added benefit that we believe advertisers have been looking for and that will result in publishers capturing more of the revenue they deserve."

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