The Trade Desk is rolling out OpenPath to CTV

In February 2022, The Trade Desk stirred debate with the debut of OpenPath. This initiative saw it integrate directly with publishers in a manner that some interpreted as the demand-side platform effectively cutting out supply-side platforms.

Two years later, the industry’s largest independent DSP is following through, this time extending OpenPath to CTV media owners, with separate sources from both the buy- and sell-sides of the industry telling Digiday The Trade Desk began opening such negotiations in recent months.

According to documentation seen by Digiday, Cox Media Group and Vizio have already been confirmed as trading their CTV inventory on the platform. The Trade Desk later confirmed this with Digiday.

Meanwhile, separate sources at other premium CTV publishers — who declined to be named due to commercial sensitivities — told Digiday they were in discussions with The Trade Desk about integrating with OpenPath.

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David Nyurenberg, associate director of digital video at Rain the Growth Agency, told Digiday that media buyers would welcome such a move, as many deem OpenPath as yielding enhanced performance.

“Greater media investment is pouring into CTV and away from the legacy programmatic channels like display,” he said. “This is a smart move from The Trade Desk’s end as a direct-to-publisher product without any CTV pubs would not be meeting the market at the moment.”

“In light of recent developments around Privacy Sandbox, CTV is where the area of opportunity is for The Trade Desk and OpenPath ecosystem, with all the major CTV publishers, this would position Trade Desk as the go-to platform for CTV,” he added.

As mentioned, the initial unveiling of OpenPath caused ruptures in the sector, as many interpreted it as an indication of major consolidation whereby DSPs and SSPs were (effectively) battling it out in a land grab. The fact that Magnite launched ClearLine and PubMatic later debuted Activate, both of which effectively offered media owners a route to market without a DSP, further entrenched such opinions.

Albeit, subsequent developments indicate a more nuanced narrative, with Magnite announcing integrations between its video ad server SpringServe and OpenPath, as well as BackStage, Yahoo’s equivalent of OpenPath. Separate sources told Digiday the SpringServe integration is a critical part of OpenPath’s CTV rollout.

Meanwhile, a separate CTV executive, who also declined to be named due to their employer’s PR policies, told Digiday that they believed The Trade Desk is trying to sensitively handle the politics of this stage of OpenPath’s rollout.

“I think they’re trying not to scare everybody on the SSP side and make too many waves,” the source said. “I mean, who knows when they’ll make a big move and start to funnel everything through OpenPath, but right now, they want to play with everybody.”

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