Questions for Matt Barash of Fox Audience Network

Matt Barash, Director of Publisher Development at Fox Audience Network, will be speaking at the US Network Ops Forum in San Francisco on June 17. In advance of his presentation we spoke with him about data and related techonologies.

Q: Please give us a little information about your background in the industry and your current role with Fox Audience Network.

MB:  I’m currently the Director of Publisher Development at the Fox Audience Network, where I’m responsible for building and maintaining FAN’s publisher and supply side relationships.  

Since we launched the third party business in the Fall of 2008, we’ve built out a portfolio of more than 800 publishers with whom we work with in a variety of ways – some focused on media exclusively, others on data integrations, while many leverage both as part of our integrated partnership proposition.   FAN’s growth has been astounding – Kantar recently released a study on the ad network marketplace which stated that FAN monetizes 35 percent of all ad network impressions.  It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work to get to this point, and the best is yet to come.  

I look at my professional path as being two distinct roads which intersect perfectly in the middle at this stage of my career at Fox.  The first part of my career was spent on the branded side of ad sales, focused on packaging elements of broadcast, print and digital at places like Discovery, ESPN/ABC Sports, Conde Nast, and the Smithsonian.  The second part has been spent focused on growing the publisher business at two top ten ad networks 24/7 Real Media and Traffic Marketplace, prior to my arrival at FAN.

All in, my experience has afforded me exposure to the best of both worlds, publisher and network.

Q: In your experience, do you find that a lot of people in the industry are confused by the terms real-time bidding and demand-side platform and what those technologies are?

MB:  The digital media world represents a dynamic marketplace.  I can’t think of another industry which has matured and evolved at such a feverish pace  – which is what makes it such an exciting business to be in.

It’s easy to see how people can be challenged to understand how the DSP/RTB puzzle fits together – these are nascent businesses and represent what could be the most revolutionary change we’ve seen yet to how the online business transacts.  Six months ago, the terms DSP and RTB weren’t part of the vernacular, now they are at the tip of everyone’s tongue.  I’ve seen estimates that suggest RTB accounted for less than 1% of online advertising in 2009 and will grow to 3-5% in 2010.  While still a relatively modest segment of overall media investment online, the growth curve is tremendous and represents a huge opportunity for everyone involved.   

Q:  Media or Data?  If you had to pick one over the other as a more valuable asset…

MB:  The digital marketplace has matured to appreciate the intrinsic value in each respective entity.  That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite kid!

Q: What challenges do you think operations teams face in the current marketplace?

MB:  Allow me to borrow a slogan from the folks at Underarmour and with passion, vigor and enthusiasm ask you to repeat after me… “We Must Protect This House”.   

It seems as though the recent trend in Ops has been a focal interest in keeping up with how partners enforce ad quality and creative specs, as well as the emergence of the ad verification services to monitor campaign activity.  These are certainly respectable tasks and their purpose is understood, but it’s important to recognize how seemingly simple requests like advertiser blocks based upon perceived “creative quality” can lead to potentially drastic revenue implications.   Perception and reality can be remarkably different entities and cleared up via open channels of communication as networks, publishers and advertisers all seek greater return on investment and partnership.

Q:  Thank you for your time today.

MB:  My pleasure.  I’m looking forward to meeting with the group in San Francisco later this month.  It should be a fantastic event.


There are still spots left for the Network Ops Forum. Register today: