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Despite challenges and turbulence, adoption of real-time bidding (RTB) is growing and expectations are still high that RTB will be able to deliver on its promise.

One of the big questions that lingers, however, is just how big an impact will RTB have on the online advertising ecosystem outside of display. Take video, for instance. Skeptics make interesting points about RTB's potential shortcomings in the video space and suggest that RTB may not be as applicable to video.

Are the skeptics right? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, RTB continues to make inroads in video. The latest example of that: yesterday VEVO announced the launch of an RTB platform that it will use to move unsold pre-roll ad inventory.

As reported by Adweek, the platform will be restricted to existing VEVO advertisers like Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola. According to VEVO senior vice president Welby Chen, "It’s basically anything that is unsold at the moment that can possibly get in there. And our platform is pretty diverse. [We're] online, mobile, XBox and tablets."

A new model for RTBs?

Although advertisers see RTB's potential, concerns around impression quality and brand safety weigh heavily. On the publisher side, inventory devaluation and an elimination of the "human element" of the ad sales process are reasons for pause.

VEVO, however, appears to be avoiding some of these concerns. By limiting its RTB platform to its own inventory, it would seem to be in a better position to address impression quality and brand safety. And by making platform access a privilege for existing advertisers, it arguably has the opportunity to use RTB as a means of strengthening its relationship with key advertisers, not minimizing them.

Obviously, the majority of publishers can't compete with VEVO's content and inventory on a quality or quantity basis, so VEVO's approach is one that probably isn't viable for most publishers. But even so, it does demonstrate that there is plenty of room for evolution and innovation as publishers and advertisers try to figure out where RTB fits in to their strategies.

Patricio Robles

Published 31 October, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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