Being Jon Gruden, And More, Again In Programmatic

Updated: Oct 16, 2018

Article contributed by Matt Prohaska, Principal, Prohaska Consulting

If you follow sports, and sports on TV, you’re aware of a trend among well-known coaches and executives that have retired or been removed from their positions where they become analysts on TV. Recent examples in the basketball and football worlds include Bill Cowher on CBS, Bill Polian and Bruce Pearl (until recently accepting a new job coaching Auburn), on ESPN, and one of my faves, Bill Raftery on CBS.

I think one of my best today is Jon Gruden, who does color commentary with Mike Tirico (fellow Syracuse grad, #NewhousePride!) on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He brings the same intensity, enthusiasm, preparation, and intelligence to the booth that he did to the sidelines for the Oakland Raiders and winning a Super Bowl Champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The great thing about being an analyst is that you get paid to be critical (remember, criticism can be both positive and negative) and provide unique perspective on what is happening on the field and behind the scenes. And while some will certainly disagree, I think Jon does that “better than most.” (a reference to a great call in golf years ago from another fine analyst, Gary Koch)

Some of you may have heard that my job, as Programmatic Advertising Director, was eliminated last month by The New York Times. I am very fortunate to be able to re-open Prohaska Consulting and bring on 7 new clients within our first 4 weeks, providing immediate help for many companies starting or growing their programmatic practice. I have always said since I am not “under contract,” Prohaska Consulting is my full-time job, just like anyone’s job, until something comes along to demonstrably beat it. That lasted 2 years and 25 clients until putting it on the shelf to join The New York Times. So I am also fortunate to be in a neat position, for however long it is, as someone who can provide a little perspective and analysis, while still very active with many companies in the programmatic space.

Let’s give it a try. Gruden usually only gets 15-30 seconds between plays to discuss the replay and provide 1-2 sentences of insight, so here are a couple that I would have said, if recent news items from our industry ran live like plays in a football game:

2/12: According to comScore, 36% of traffic today is generated by machines

I applaud the efforts of most exchanges to demonstrate the steps they are taking to actively remove fraud. But with all the stats shared of how much has been removed, not one exchange has said how much is still left. Come out with a number. Even if Exchange A says it’s 5% with them, and we assume 36% to be somewhat accurate from comScore, that means that Exchange A’s competitors have got to be 40%+ and you look relatively great. Unless of course no one is even near 5%…

3/24: Why Programmatic In-House is gaining favor with marketers

Everyone loves to talk about the sales channel conflict and what publishers are doing to evolve from programmatic indirect to programmatic direct by integrating it into their sales team. But take a look at the channel conflict on the buy side, with agency trading desks and traditional agencies. Those companies have got to start coming together and leveraging each other’s skills. Because we’ve all heard about the negative stereotype of 24-year old media planner – but at least s/he has at least 18 months more media planning experience than most “programmatic buyers” today.

As for longer-form thoughts, Jon does have his Gruden’s Grinders during halftime, so hopefully we’ll have a chance to delve into some of these issues a little deeper as we go.

Thanks for watching, I mean, reading, and enjoy the rest of our game.

Matt Prohaska is the former Programmatic Advertising Director of The New York Times and has recently re-opened Prohaska Consulting. Look for his column on the fourth Thursday of every month.